11/18/2010

Toddler Weaning From Naps

Ti's the season to be napping- fa, la, la, la, la- la, la, maybe not.

There comes a time in every child's life, that viscous cycle, when you make the break from infancy to toddler to preschool. It kind of goes by the theory of you start your life in diapers to usually end your life in diapers- the same goes for naps. My daughter, who is approaching the 2 and a half year mark, is now breaking away from the napping ritual- and mom who just hit 31 begs for one everyday!

If you are reading this and banging your head against the wall- join the club. After going through this with my first born, I see the signs in my daughter: the inconsistent sleep patterns (waking up early one day, sleeping in the next), the has a hard time falling to sleep at night if naps more than 3 days in a row, is unusually perky during the time in which she should be napping, however, is ready to pass out by 6 pm.

If you feel that you are in the same boat- hang in there. I find that if every third or fourth day I allow her not to nap, it's less frustrating. I honestly thought that she would hold onto naps later than her older brother, whom, was a shy over 2 before he gave them up. Nope not my children. However, I do hear that there are children out there who nap until 4 or 5 years of age. I have actually witnessed it working in the day care field for several years.

Typically a child my daughter's age should be sleeping 12-14 hours per day, including naps. I find on the days where she does not need to nap she will sleep about 12 hours at night. On the days she needs a nap she sleeps 10-11 hours at night and will take a 2 hour nap. The days I coax her to nap (because I want to prevent meltdowns for a late afternoon outing) she sleeps 8 hours at night and is miserable the next day.  Although 12-14 is not a magical number, lack of sleep can be devastating to your day and your child's! Read more about your Children's Sleeping Habits to get more information.

Today, my daughter did not need to nap. I knew so because she gave mommy the gift of an 8 o'clock waking (rare occasion- trust me!). The only aspect that bugs me about the nap- no nap- nap again until I get old enough to go without- is that if you do not keep a close eye on your child past 5 pm you may be like me and find your child asleep on the couch- sitting straight up!

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