Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't wake that baby up

In our household I think about sleep a lot: Who is getting enough of it and how to get more quality sleep. I am obsessed over my own sleep as well as that of the bears I live with and help wake up in the morning.

At school, my son's class still has a nap time. And that surprises me, as I know most of the children don't sleep during that time. But I understand that sometimes their little bodies need a rest.

So, like many parents, I was confused upon first seeing the research that children older than two might not need a nap. But to even attempt to crack the code of children and their sleep, you have to look at the full picture: To understand your child's sleep patterns, you need to determine how much they are sleeping overall.

When we last went on vacation, I was amazed at my son's request to take a short nap in the middle of the day, since he didn't normally take them at home. But, he was smart: He was listening to his body. He had been running around so much (and he knew he wanted to stay up a little late); he knew he needed some sleep.

So how do you know if your little one is ready to give up that nap? These are some things to keep in mind:
  • There is no quitting naps cold turkey. Some days they may still need one; some days they may be OK. Watch for mood swings and let your toddler be your guide.
  • How hard is it for your child to fall asleep? Are they still rolling around in bed for a few hours after lights out?
  • How difficult is it for your child to wake up in the morning (bears aside)? Any harder than when they were napping?
  • How much activity was there in the day? Are they exhausted or just normally tired at the end of a fun-filled day?
Naps are hard to give up (for children and parents alike). The idea is to make sure that the amount of total sleep overall is best for your child.

When do you really really want a nap? Tell me in the comments.

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