Toddlers and Napping
Any mother or father can tell you that the oasis of midday respite – the baby and toddler nap – is a parental right they only give up with considerable kicking and screaming. Once the home has a baby in it, keeping up with the household jobs and staying on top of the mess becomes a full time job in itself. That short space of time in the middle of the day is necessary for catching up and squeezing in some work or a much needed sanity check with a hot cup of tea and a good book. Curling up on the sofa and taking time out is vital for parents and everyone benefits if nap time can be used in a guilt free, positive way to recharge batteries and relax.
When a baby is little, sleeping at the same time as them is particularly important for a new mum. It can be tempting to try to cram all the productive things from your previous life into that precious 90 minutes, but it’s really important to sleep when baby sleeps and keep exhaustion and the blues at bay. While sleeping with a baby in your arms on the sofa is a huge safety risk, choosing a day bed with a Moses basket on the floor beside it is an alternative.
Another option is a single chair futon in the nursery; it’s ideal for taking a cat nap in the same room as a baby or toddler in their cot, grabbing a nap in earshot and keeping body rhythms in sync. A chair futon is stylish and space saving and can have a mattress cover to suit your décor; wooden futons will fit nicely with most nursery furniture and make a handy spot to sit while your baby falls asleep.
As a baby grows into a toddler, naptime gets shorter or disappears altogether. If you notice your child is taking longer to get down to sleep at night, it may be time to shorten the day time nap or remove it. It can be a painful time, with late afternoon grumpiness for both parent and toddler!
Minimise the impact by having a quiet period in the middle of the day with a cat nap opportunity on the sofa. Pull the blinds down, put on nursery rhymes and let them have a short sleep beside you while you work or read before rousing them gently by moving away, opening the binds or turning on music or television. 20 minutes should be enough for you and them to recoup just enough energy to last till bedtime.