Monday, June 13, 2011

To Nap Or Not To Nap

Something unprecedented happened with Lukas and the LIAYF crew on Sunday.  It was a milestone of sorts, but Mrs. LIAYF and I are not yet sure whether this is a good thing or not.

It's a thing that was bound to happen on it's own in time.  Most likely sooner rather than later.  But we can't attribute this particular instance to Lukas getting older.  That's because we, Mrs. LIAYF and I, decided to make it so. 

The 'it' I am referring to is Lukas' first real day without a mid-day nap.  His mother and I have been extremely diligent about making sure our son has the opportunity to catch a few refreshing Z's in the middle of each day.  Most often that involves planning our weekend and vacation days around when we can put him down for his nap, which can make our options rather limiting. On more rare occasions he gets his nap in the car, but always there has been that opportunity.

And he has taken full advantage of those opportunities.  Just shy of his 4th birthday, he still will sleep for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours during the day on weekends.  He is given only an hour and a half at preschool, but has never once been listed on the dreaded 'No Nap Board'.

So yes, it was a big deal yesterday when we were all at a local beachfront park having a late picnic lunch (late because we were busy rearrangeing our living room that morning - Mrs. LIAYF calls it "Cost free decorating") and I mentioned that we needed to get going or Lukas would be napping at 3pm.  It was then that Mrs. LIAYF looked over at me and asked if we should just skip the nap, which we did.

That decision certainly gave us extra time at the park to explore, walk on logs, throw rocks into the ocean, then leave and treat ourselves to some ice cream before heading home.  It turned out to be a fun afternoon.

But, by dinner time Lukas was certainly getting pretty slap happy without the extra sleep, and our intention was to get him to bed by 7:30.  Well, it ended up being closer to 8:30 and he was wound up enough that he still didn't go right to sleep.  Then he has bad dreams not long after he did go to sleep.

We're not sure if the bad dreams were a result of not napping, but without one his brain has a lot more day to process all at once, so it could well have contributed.

In the end, we all survived our first foray into life without naps.  It was a milestone that was due, but we are certainly not planning to have Lukas abandon them altogether since at his age the more sleep he can get the better.

But at least this frees us up a bit in the scheduling department.  There are a lot of events that happen during the middle of the day on weekends that we have been missing up until now.

How about you readers?  How old were your kids when they stopped napping?


Dan said...

You know, I wish I still had a nap at 3pm.

I think our kids were about 2 when they stopped napping, but it was their choice not ours really.

Adam said...

Corbin is 2.5, and still *needs* to nap, but he doesn't always cooperate, even when exhausted. If he does nap, he goes to bed later, but he is in a much better mood in the afternoon. If he doesn't, he is edgy and irritable after 2, but he'll go to bed for the night much easier. His refusal to nap started at probably 18 months or so, but has picked up more and more steam.

Steve said...

Can't remember for Oliver, but Lucy is 3y 10m and only naps in the day if she falls asleep in the car. She has been that way for perhaps a year. As she then tends to have trouble going to sleep at night, we try to avoid that situation. Each to their own...

Mrs. LIAYF said...

After yesterday, I say we continue napping him. Skipping the nap really cut down on the amount of overall sleep he got. He's such an imaginative child, I would guess that he needs that extra time to process, process, process his day.

Plus, I have a feeling that he inherited his extra sleep needs from me. :)

AnOrdinaryDad said...

We've been going through the same thing with Pax lately, except he's not even two yet... he refuses to nap. Instead, now he goes with his sister into her room for some 'quiet time' which doubles as a nice break for Erica. But then by dinner he's nodding off at the table. Who knows what to do with kids?!

Kevin said...

Both of my kids still nap. For my sanity, if for no other reason.

My son, 2.5, still needs a nap or he gets pretty grumpy by dinner time and is quite the awful child.

My daughter, 4.5, still naps too. There are days I do let her go without a nap, but she gets grumpy too.

What I'm trying to say is, nap time is good for everyone.

I do agree that it is hard to make plans when you have to stop in the middle of the day to do nap time.


momnextdoor said...

My son didn't nap past 7 months old, if that. During the weekends, if I had time, I would wheel him around in his stroller for HOURS until he fell asleep for 20 minutes. The amount of energy I spent trying to get him to sleep just wasn't worth the amount of time he actually slept. Now, when he does fall asleep during the day we know we are in for hell if he wakes up before bed time. We've learned to just let him sleep through and deal with his early wake up time in the morning. It's better for everyone. His dad isn't a napper either.

My daughter on the other hand sleeps like a champ. She'll be two next month. I haven't given any thought to stopping nap time yet. Judging how she is now I think we are in it for the long run.

Siera said...

Mine is a little over 3. He stopped napping for a spell at 2.5 and now some days he does and some he doesn't. If he does he is usually up later so it's a catch 22 really. If he doesn't he is usually cranky in the late afternoon.

Homemaker Man said...

The pnut naps maybe 2-3 times a week now. Pman still once a day. It does free up time, but as a sahd, ah how I miss those multiple nap salad days.

WILLIAM said...

About age 5. Although every now and then we have a "quiet time" in our house.

Mrs. M said...

Hannah stopped at 2 and Eli was closer to 3....I knew with both of them because they started to stay up past bedtime however long they napped in the afternoon (plus they both fought the naps). My kids were young, but they still a solid 11-12 hours at night which is great.

Anonymous said...

Sadly regular afternoon naps ended around 2 1/2 for us, so it's been about 9 months for little man. I've tried running him ragged, but the limitations I've had with an infant, now a toddler, still taking her two a day it has been difficult wearing him out enough. Little girl is starting to show signs of dropping her morning nap forone longer afternoon one and it is making me sad.