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A couple of days ago my husband asked our Alexa to play a song I didn’t know. After I finished loading some slime-covered, multicolored kids’ plates into the dishwasher to the beat, I finally got up the nerve to ask him the name of the song. He burst out laughing, as it’s a fairly well-known 80’s song. Flustered, I reminded him how tired I am now that our littlest has hit yet another sleep disturbance and nap regression. Okay, so that and growing up I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio.
I spent the rest of the morning cleaning to an 80’s Amazon music station – and was pleasantly surprised to realize I recognized quite a few of the songs. Yeah, I’m living the life, y’all. Living on a (parenting) prayer, even. In any case, let’s nip that nap regression in the backside, shall we?
When and why do sleep and nap regression happen?
Babies sleep a lot, y’all. Unless you’re one of my babies – and then you just catnap all day. But as kiddos grow and get older, they begin to need less sleep. They begin to spend more time awake. Gradually, naps and night-time sleep habits develop. First, those babies may take 3 or 4 naps per day. Then, they’ll only need 2 or 3. Right now, my baby girl is hovering between needing 1 and 2 naps per day.
Okay, let’s face the facts: she still needs two naps per day. But she would rather play with her brothers, toddle around, and eat everything off of the floor. She and her body are at odds. And, being part ginger, her stubborn streak is winning.
Scheduling conflicts don’t help much, either. Generally, we try to treat naptime as sacred. But when there’s back to back soccer games, family events, and then a playground just begging to be played on? Sometimes naps get skipped. And on Sundays, it’s even harder. You see, we have 1 pm church right now (we have 3 congregations that meet in our building, so we rotate what time we all attend so that it doesn’t get crazy crowded). I love 1 pm church – don’t get me wrong. But that’s right in the flipping middle of naptime.
But what can we do about it? Because we aren’t changing our church time until September 1st – and then we’ll be attending at 9 am, y’all.
3 Things to get that nap back to normal
Well, the single most important thing you can do to deal with a nap regression is to remember that change is going to happen. And while keeping that in mind, the second most important tip is to maintain your schedule – as best as you can. Finally, keep things as consistent as possible – while allowing for that change that happens when kids grow.
Okay, so here’s that again in a list. Because lists make everything better, right?
- Remember that change happens – and accept it.
- Keep to a schedule as best as you can.
- Be consistent. Keep trying. Be patient.
So on Saturdays, we do our best to make sure our little miss gets her two naps. I try to make sure she gets her naps in her crib – because that’s where she sleeps best. But it’s not always possible – so we make do with what we’ve got.
On Sundays, I try to keep her up and super active playing toys in the morning. That way, she’ll (hopefully!) take a long morning nap. Because, y’all, she isn’t gonna get an afternoon nap.
Then, during the week, I try to keep nap time sacred and clear of events. Dental appointments, doctor visits, and whatever else gets scheduled around naps as best as I can manage.
Oh – and one more thing helps a ton. In fact, when all else fails, this works.Naps not going so well? A nap regression could be the culprit. Here's what to do so that everyone gets the sleep they need - both during naps and at bedtime.Click To Tweet
When naps are on the fritz, an early bedtime can save the day (and/or your sanity)
My kids go to bed early. They need the sleep – and we need some time to ourselves. Since they’re still all under 8, it works for us. But this way, they’re getting enough sleep – and so are we. Because sleep is weird, y’all. If you don’t get enough, it gets harder to fall asleep when you’re trying to. Weird, huh? Well, it’s the same with kids.
So on days where my youngest doesn’t get adequate naptime, her bedtime moves from 6:30 to as early as 5:30. Because by getting her to bed earlier, it’s like I’m able to hit the “reset” button on her sleep schedule. The earlier bedtime helps her slide back into that tried-and-true nap schedule with fewer problems.
Like right now – she’s napping (praise be!) well despite it being the day after a one-nap Sunday. Why? 5:30 bedtime last night. She got enough sleep so that she can keep getting enough sleep. Nap regression – nipped in the backside.
And now that naps are back on schedule, we can get back to working on sleeping through the night. Because one day, I’ll get a full night’s sleep, right?
More articles on dealing with sleep disturbance:
- 11 Terrific Tricks You Need to Get Baby to Sleep
- How to Survive the 11 Month Old Sleep Regression
- 7 Ways to Survive A Sleep Regression at Any Age
My must-have nap regression resources:
- Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay
- Mom Life: Perfection Pending by Meredith Ethington
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD