Monday, October 8, 2007

Nap dropping -- and the aftermath

As we approach Owen’s 3-month birthday I’ve decided to try to create some naptime sensibility in our house. Rather than lying every living body in our household down next to Will as he tries to go to sleep come naptime, we’re going to put Owen in his bassinet (or keep him up if naptime hasn’t hit for him yet) and let Will sleep on his own like a big 3-year-old kid.

After a morning family meeting on our bed, Will agreed that since we were trying to teach Owen to sleep in his bassinet, Will would try to nap in his own bed without having me (and Owen) lie down with him for several minutes while he drifts off. After lunch, I gave a good-nap kiss to Will (who tucked himself under his sheets and closed his eyes), put Owen down easily and sat down amazed at how smoothly this new plan had gone.
After 10 minutes of peace, Will pops out of his room and announces, “I woke up.” Didn’t take long to establish that in fact he never slept. He agreed to do an hour of quiet time in his room and crawl into bed when he got sleepy. But he never got sleepy, just did some quiet playing for about an hour and emerged still raring to go.

Maybe it’s time to drop the nap, I thought.

Or not. Here’s what happened after our little no-nap experiment:

System Failure – at 5 p.m. no less. I'd had to interrupt a read-aloud with Will to put sleepy Owen down for a nap. And in the three minutes it took me to accomplish that, Will conked out. I allowed him a twenty minute nap, then roused him so we wouldn’t have to back bedtime up to midnight.

So now I’m thinking we’ll keep trying this put yourself to sleep/quiet time thing and hope and hope Will learns to nap unassisted – hopefully at 1 or 1:30 instead of 5. Every time it doesn’t work, we’ll be looking at a super early bedtime, probably with a meltdown or tantrum as a little afternoon prelude. But we’re going to brace ourselves and try it anyway.

When did your kids drop their naps? And how early did you move bedtime to compensate? And did you all survive? (Or: Any magic tricks for convincing your nap-resistant kid to get some early afternoon shut-eye?)

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