Surviving the One Nap Stage

sleeping child

Some of you read the title of this post and probably said, “How about surviving the NO nap stage!” If you are a mom with more than one kid, you may be really laughing at this. Well, I’m not there yet. Quite honestly I am not ready to be there yet. And just like you had to learn one child at a time, so do I. So one nap it is!

I have to be honest with you. Though I do try to embrace each stage of motherhood, this was one stage I did not look forward to. I dreaded it. One nap? How am I suppose to get anything done?

Before it happened, some people told me that this “one nap stage” was wonderful. “The child sleeps for a three hour block of time and you will think it’s the greatest thing in the world.” Or so I have been told. I wouldn’t really know.

You see, my Gavin doesn’t believe in following the norm. Though he has needed them greatly, he doesn’t like naps. Yes, he did take them, but he almost always went down fighting. Despite not liking naps, he actually took two naps for much longer than I thought he would. Oh, there were days I tried cutting him down to one nap, hoping that maybe, just maybe he would take a longer afternoon nap. But it was to no avail. By 10:45 am we were both looking at each other wondering if it were naptime yet.

This past December, at 20 months old, my son outgrew the morning nap. He has yet to sleep for three hours straight. At the most he has slept for two hours. While I thought I would dread it, it hasn’t been all that bad. We are both surviving!

However, this new stage is certainly a learning curve. I’m trying to figure out how to get all my work done, as well as what I can still do while he’s awake. Plus I have to find ways to keep my son entertained for these extra hours.

Here are some things that have helped me:

1) Get out of the house

One of the things that has helped is to find things to do outside of the home. We only do this a few days a week. A couple things that we have built into our routine is to grocery shop on Thursday’s, and usually on Friday’s we meet my mom and sister at a gym to workout. During warmer months (or days) we can head to the park or go walking outside.

2) Have a Quiet Time

I have found that the hardest time slot is 10:30 to 11 am. So during this time we pick out several books, sit on the couch and read together.

3) Clean with your Child

While this doesn’t work with all chores, it does work for some. Our main level is all tile and hardwood. It needs to be swept every single day…several times a day.  So I pull out two brooms. Gavin loves to “clean the floor” and I actually get the floors swept. When I’m putting away dishes, Gavin likes to put away his forks and spoons. He then will hand me one dish at a time for me to put away.

A few warnings though. Since your child may actually like putting away silverware, he may “help” by putting them away when they are dirty too. And when he runs to the trash can with something in his hand saying, “garbage, garbage, garbage!” You may just want to check to see what he threw away. It might happen to be money he found while digging through your purse.

4) Have your child “help” you cook

It’s never to early to start your kid in the kitchen. Gavin likes to push a chair up to our kitchen island and help me bake or cook. Okay, let me be a little honest here. He likes to sample what is being made. However, he does also like to stir and pour too. Quite often I let him pull up a chair to “help me”, and I also have something he can snack on to keep him somewhat occupied.

5) Lower expectations and give yourself grace

This is a big one for me because I like a clean and orderly house.  The bathrooms may not get cleaned as thoroughly as I like them to each week, but I have learned to keep a can of Lysol wipes in the bathroom to at least wipe down the counter, sink and toilet a few times a week. The kitchen floor may be free of crumbs, but I wouldn’t eat off it….because I may not have had a chance to mop it. And that’s okay. The most important thing is to enjoy the time I have with my son.

While I thought I would dread this one nap stage, I have enjoyed it. The days are short. The years pass quickly. This extra time with my son means that I hear more laughter in my day. It means I get to give and receive more hugs and kisses. It means I can create more memories.

What about you? What are your tips for surviving the one nap stage…or even the no nap stage?

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