So Long Naptime!

How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to naptime for your toddler? Do you have to stop putting them down for a nap? Most of us relish this time during the day to catch up on housework, work on a business or just simply take a break but if your little one isn’t sleeping and is struggling at beditme every night, it might be time.

The average age for dropping the nap is 2.5 however, some children nap until age 5. It really does depend on the child and involves a decision on the parents part a lot of the time as well and what works for their family.

 

 

What are the signs a toddler is ready?

  • Your child will almost always go down well for afternoon nap, but the problem becomes bedtime. They will not go to sleep as easily as they have in the past at bedtime.
  • Another way to know if they’re ready is if your child is simply not falling asleep and having “naptime parties” but is ready for bedtime much earlier than normal. Developmental milestones can also be the cause of “naptime parties” so make sure that the behaviour goes on longer than 2 weeks before deciding to eliminate naptime all together.

How do you make the transition?

  • When you remove naptime, implement “quiet time” for at least 6 weeks to help with any late afternoon meltdowns. In addition, bedtime is going to have to be moved earlier than before. A good bedtime for a toddler not taking a nap during the day is 7pm, however, there is no harm in an even earlier bedtime if that’s what works for your child. You may need to start earlier than you want once you remove the nap, but over time you can slowly move it a bit later again. The last thing you want is an overtired toddler at bedtime as this can make it very hard for them to settle.
  • If your child does fall asleep during “quiet time” wake them after an hour and you may need to make bedtime later that night.
  • A good way to introduce quiet time versus a nap is to engage your child in a quiet activity in their room and then leave them to themselves to play. A kitchen timer can be used as an indicator of when quiet time is over and they can come out to find you.

Ryan

age: 15 months

night time sleep: 11-12 hours per night

naps: 1 solid nap a day

time spent on program: 2 months

home: Maple Ridge, BC

Meet this little charmer Ryan! When I met with him and his beautiful family he was a busy bee as he had recently learned to walk and was showing me his moves. Ryan had been falling asleep okay at bedtime with his soother but was up multiple times a night in need of mom and dad’s help to retrieve it and was also still getting a dream feed at 11pm. I think he surprised us all when on the first night he slept 11.5 hours straight! Here’s what mom had to say:

“Thank you so much for helping our family sleep! Your professionalism and kind approach was exactly what we needed. Little Ryan was up 2-3 hours a night and now thanks to your consistent plan he is sleeping through. I’m shocked at how easy it was. The biggest thing was getting rid of his sucky and changing my mindset.”

~ Mary

Aubree

age: just about 1!

night time sleep: 12 hours per night

naps: 2 solid naps a day

time spent on program: 2 months

home: Mission, BC

The picture says it all when you look at this little angel Aubree…gorgeous! Mom contacted me when she was 8.5 months old and the whole family was exhausted. Aubree was sleeping with mom which meant that most nights, she also had to go to bed at 7 which didn’t leave much time for mom & dad to spend together. She was taking 3 short naps a day and needed to be nursed, held or rocked to sleep for every sleep situation. Well those days are over!Here’s what mom had to say:

I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl on Mother’s Day of 2012.  Life was blissful….for three weeks lol.  Then colic kicked in, and 19 hours of crying a day began.  I found that the only way my daughter would sleep was with me, in bed.  Co-sleeping and nursing to sleep became a way of life for us around the three month mark.  It was the absolute ONLY way either of us (baby and I) got any sleep.  We both became accustomed to this way of life rather quickly; yet I found by around the time she was 5 months, my being in bed with her, actually seemed to be disrupting her sleep, more than helping it.  (The having to go to bed at 7 pm every night and stay there wasn’t ideal either lol.)  I was absolutely adamant that I would not do “cry it out”, and so I spent countless hours reading sleep training books and researching the web.  In the end, all it got me was absolutely overwhelmed and frustrated.  One night (when she was 8.5 months old), during a break from this “research”, I thought I’d skim Facebook and see what was happening in my friend’s lives.  The first post I saw was for Sleep Stars Consulting, soon to be coming to the Mommies and Munchkins Fair in Langley.  I swear, it was like God put the post there, just to help me in my hour of need.  I immediately messaged Kathryn and began the short trek to a complete life change!  We met and discussed what I was willing and not willing to do in terms of sleep training, what my daughter’s sleep habits were like, as well as her daily activities and feeding schedule.  Kathryn created a tailored plan for us and we implemented it within a couple days.  Don’t get me wrong, I was distraught for those days leading up to “it”; but in the end, it only took one rough night and then the rest was pretty much smooth sailing.  My daughter took to her crib, with no crutches at all, by night three!  It was like a miracle!  She also began taking two 1.5-2 hour naps per day, on her own, in her crib!  That was 8 weeks ago, and I have to say, both my daughter and I are well rested and enjoy each and every minute of our time together now, rather than both of us being over tired and cranky.  Kathryn absolutely changed both of our lives for the better!  Best money I have EVER spent in my life lol!  I have recommended her to absolutely everyone I know, and strangers too lol!

~ Jenn Skahl

 

Madison

age: 6 months

night time sleep: 11.5 hours per night

naps: 2 solid naps a day

time spent on program: 1.5 months

home: Victoria, BC

Meet Madison, what a cutie, love her cheeks! Madison’s mom called me when she was 4.5 months old looking for a little guidance. Mom and Dad knew that they needed to make her sleep a priority but didn’t know where to start. They found the amount of information out there very overwhelming and I was happy to help point them in the right direction. Madison took to the plan like a dream and now has the skills she needs to continue sleeping well independently as she grows and learns. What a Sleep Star! Here’s what mom had to say:

I’m a first time mother and was so worried that I would be up every hour throughout the night until my daughter was 1.5, like so many of my friends. I was so excited when I was introduced to Kathryn.

My Husband and I were overwhelmed by all the methods of sleep training out there and I had no idea what I was doing right, and what I was doing wrong. Kathryn at Sleep Stars Consulting just set me up with a really easy to follow plan and within our first week our four-month-old-baby who was up to feed every hour during the night actually slept from 7pm-6am solid three times! I was amazed and so grateful!

She is now six months old and we have created a wonderful sleep routine for her. I would recommend sleep training to anyone who has children!

Thank you Sleep Stars!

~ Jessica Upton

Travel Tips

Spring Break is here and you know what that means…traveling with your little ones! The thought of this may strike fear into the hearts of those of you that have FINALLY gotten your children onto a good schedule and sleeping well. Now that you’ve put in the time, effort, and energy to make this big change in your family’s life, that trip you have planned for next week is starting to stress you out! If you’re like most parents, your biggest worry is that a trip is going to derail all the progress you and your baby have made and cause you to start this process all over again. Sometimes the mere thought of it frightens parents so much that they cancel all trips and just vow to stay home until the child leaves for college. That is how important your baby’s new sleeping regime has become to everyone.

The good news is that you do not have to cancel all travel plans and confine yourself to the house for the rest of your child’s life. It is possible to have children who travel really well, if you keep a few things in mind:

  1. The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves. They try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might normally have had back in their “child-free” days, forgetting an important fact: They have a child now.
  2. An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on day two, she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house down.
  3. If that happens, you might start to get very nervous because (a) your baby, who has been happily chatting herself to sleep for weeks, is now crying again, and (b) your mother-in-law is standing outside the door repeatedly asking you if you’re sure the baby is okay. You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep. It’s easy to see how you could revert back to your own familiar ways in no time if you gave into this pressure and fear.
  4. It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house. This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two. The best way to handle it is to not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home. You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.
  5. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket!
  6. Another big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while traveling. Bed sharing is a big no-no! Even it’s it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself starting all over again when you get home. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack and play along and use that as a crib.
  7. If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep. This could be the bathroom (if it’s big enough) or the closet. Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby, so that if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she is not so excited to see her two favorite people that she ends up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great if that’s an option for you.

Time Changes and Jet Lag
When it comes to surviving the plane ride, the best piece of advice I ever got about traveling with kids is just to ACCEPT the fact that you’re traveling with kids! So plan ahead and bring as many things that you can think of to keep your baby occupied and comfortable. If you have to resort to “old ways” to get your child to settle down, then do so. Just know that as soon as you land, its back to the plan!

Well-rested children handle jet lag much better than sleep-deprived adults. If your baby has had a great schedule leading up to the trip, he should slide into the new time zone without too much trouble. It is best to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as you can.

If you really feel like your baby needs an extra nap to catch up a bit, try to limit it to 45 minutes. Try not to let her nap too close to bedtime. If it’s a choice between a strangely timed dinner-hour nap or an earlier bedtime, I suggest you go with the slightly earlier bedtime.

Sunlight is a useful tool in helping both you and your baby adjust to the new time zone, since light is the most powerful time cue our bodies have. Try to plan meals and socializing around the new time zone as well, and get an hour or two of fresh air in the early afternoon.

Make sure you do just the opposite when evening rolls around. Use the blackout blinds, and keep light to a minimum a couple of hours before you want your baby to go to bed. This will help stimulate melatonin production, making him sleeper.

In spite of their best efforts, many parents find themselves reverting back to old, familiar sleep props with their children when they travel. If you find that it’s all fallen apart in just a week or two, the good news is that it’s just as easy to get back on track within a week or two, too! So as soon as you get home, start your plan over, speeding it up by two nights at each step – and hold tight to the memory that your child is capable of doing this! He just needs a push in the right direction from you!

August 2, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Zan - thank you! Great advice and tips.