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Last Updated on June 5, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster
When my children were babies, I was absolutely rigid about our nap schedule. No matter what we were doing at 2 PM in the afternoon, we went home to take a nap. The toddler and baby and mommy ALL slept for an hour and we were all much happier for the rest of the day. My friends didn't understand my slightly obsessive need to have my kids asleep in the afternoon but then again, they didn't have to live with the holy terrors who didn't nap, either. On the weekends, my husband joined us in the napping session and for an hour, our house was peaceful every single day.
Fast forward a couple of years and of course, the kids started saying "I don't NEED a nap, mommy!". Of course they didn't, right? But MOMMY still needed a nap because 1. You woke me up 3 times last night to tell me about your dreams, 2. You spent 2 hours at the park trying to see how fast mommy could run or 3. I need one hour of peace and quiet or I am going to have to get shipped off to the looney bin. So, we came up with a great new concept called 'quiet time'. What is quiet time? It is when you put the child in their room for 1 hour with their favorite kids music on tape and they play quietly in there while mommy naps. Or drinks coffee and eats chocolate. Or watches non kid approved television.Whichever is more beneficial at the time. Sound impossible? Really, it isn't!
In a Napping House
Tell them flat out: You do not have to sleep but you DO have to stay in here and be quiet. Give them their favorite music or story on tape and a timer set out of reach that will go off when quiet time is over. Do not start it at one hour! Week one can be 15 minutes, then week 2 can be 20 minutes, etc. Slowly work up until they are in their rooms for one hour quietly. If they are yelling for you, they do NOT get to come out. Just like you don't pat the dog on the head every time he barks, you don't reward kids for yelling and pitching a fit. There is no reason they cannot play quietly in their rooms for an hour without your supervision as long as you have childproofed their room. You will not scar your child for life nor cause them lifelong feelings of abandonment, no matter what popular child psychologists might say. Children need to learn how to play alone occasionally and quiet time will allow parents to de-stress so they are better parents. Usually, the kids would fall asleep during quiet time because they really were tired but refused to admit it. I would find them asleep in the closet or on top of the toy box or even under the bed. We didn't fight over nap-time because I had stopped telling them they had to nap. I merely told them that they had to be quiet.
My children are now 11 and 13 and we are still a napping house. Not every day, obviously, because they are in school now and our weekends are often chaotic with sports and activities. However, when we are home on a Saturday afternoon we usually tell the kids that it is 'quiet time' for an hour and they happily head to their rooms to read, listen to music, draw etc. Then my husband and I head to our own room for a bit of napping! Napping can be very beneficial to adults and I am always happy to stay healthy by sleeping. I can't run a marathon but I am an excellent sleeper! There are a few key tips to remember to achieve the most benefits from napping:
1. Choose the right time: Prime napping time is between 1 and 3 PM. Any later than that and you will interfere with your evening sleep.
2. Make it quick: Napping for only 30 minutes is the best way to go, otherwise you can end up groggy
3. Make your surroundings dark: Daytime napping can be difficult due to the bright light. Close the blinds or invest in an eye mask for easier daytime napping
4. Grab a blanket: You might not be cold now but your body temperature drops while napping so make sure to keep a light blanket nearby.
5. Reduce your chance of being disturbed. If you have managed to get the kids quiet, the last thing you need is the dog barking at a squirrel or your phone ringing. Unplug phones, close blinds, and make sure you get 30 minutes of uninterrupted napping time.
6. Get comfortable: No sense being restless in the recliner when you can be napping comfortably in bed. According to The Boston Globe, it takes 50% longer to fall asleep when sitting up than it does laying down so get get in bed or lie down on the couch.
According to scientific studies , napping improves our health, increases alertness, and boosts our energy. As a mom, I can also tell you that napping helps us maintain our sanity in the face of a 2 year old who figured out how shaving cream works or a 13 year old who thought walking in the stream in his new sneakers was a good idea.
Do you live in a napping house?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.