You know that awkward transition when your toddler doesn’t really need naps anymore, but can’t quite make it through the whole day without sleep? But if they take an actual nap they end up being super cranky? My oldest son recently went through this transitional period. He’s 4, and I think we’re pretty much out of it now. For about a year, from about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old, naps were so-so. We would still lie him down for a nap in the afternoon, and he would usually sleep at least 1 hour. But there were days he wouldn’t sleep, but instead tried to come out of his room or just played in his room during nap time. Once he was about 3 1/2, we decided it was time to be done with naps, for the most part. When he did take naps, he would wake up grumpy, confused, and disoriented. And then he would fall asleep way later at night then he normally does. No fun! So we decided to have quiet time instead of nap time.
We got this idea from one of my husband’s family members, and when we saw it in action we thought it was brilliant! Until a kid goes to school full time during the day, he or she has quiet time at the same time they had nap time when they were younger.
In our family, these are the quiet time rules:
- No talking to Mommy and Daddy (this is a very necessary part of quiet time, since my oldest talks nonstop 😉 )
- Child must stay in his or her own separate part of the house (That way it’s easier to be quiet and play independently. This one may change a little as we have more kids who do quiet time; I can see it working out where two siblings have quiet time together while younger siblings nap.)
- Quiet time is screen-free time
And that’s it! Some days it’s easy and my son plays happily with his toys. Some days he’s not in an independent mood and I have to remind him 50 times that “it’s quiet time” and that he can’t talk to me. (The fact that I tell my kid he can’t talk to me a couple hours out of the day may seem harsh to some, but if you have an extremely social kid like I do, you probably understand my reasoning. Let’s just say it’s mostly to keep my sanity in tact!)
We try to have quiet time every day, at the same time that my youngest is napping. It’s a great time for me to get stuff done, take a nap myself, exercise on the treadmill, etc. It is also a fabulous way for my son to get some time to play independently, use his imagination, and play with the toys he usually ignores. 😉
What does your family do when your littles transition away from naps?