With two little boys, 2 and under, nap time is crucial. Routine is everything. I have learned that a routine is an evolving process. But once it hits noon, and my boys are rubbing their eyes, it is time to quiet everything down and get the boys to sleep. My toddler responds well to this, and my infant is learning. I have just three factors that really help out our nap time routine: meal time, activity, and consistency.
Having the kids nice and full before a nap helps them sleep when it comes to nap time. Seems easy, right? Not in this house. My two year old is so picky. Once I figured out how to get him settled down to take a few bites of food at lunch time, I began getting a nice 1-3 hour block while he slept. I offer lots of finger foods and favorite dishes for his lunch. I don’t try to force him to eat whatever I am eating at this point. That will come later. For now, as long as I can get something in that belly, we both win. I cook things from scratch to offer healthier alternatives to processed foods. Chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese are a mama’s best friend. And cooking them from scratch is simple.
I have found that turning off the television is best for my son. We make time for his favorite shows, but we limit. Turning off the TV doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is so easy to put the kids in front of the TV so we can get things done. But for me, I enjoy getting a block of time to do things, versus time in between tv shows. Turn the tv off or regulate screen time and see how much easier it is to tire out your little ones. I get my toddler up, changed, settled with breakfast and then play with him in his room. Find activities to do, or get them involved with all those toys you bought them! I found that my son thrives when the television is off.
He has an amazing imagination, but he needed to explore that. I can often do the dishes, or sweep the floor when I get him playing in his room. Make sure you have some educational activities around to keep those brains working. I try to make time for counting, practicing letters, singing songs, and other learning activities. Get those toddlers to play! Have a little dance party, burn some calories and watch your little one light up having a great time! Imagination is so important for those growing brains, have your little one take “their baby” shopping!
Consistency is key. If you have children that fight naps like mine, get them on a regular napping schedule. No matter what, have them settle down at nap time even if they are refusing sleep. Children respond well to schedules. So if you have sleep fighters, get them a book, or a quiet toy and put them in their bed. Sometimes we even set up pillows and blankets on the floor of the living room if my toddler is having trouble being “alone” in his room. Since I implemented a napping schedule, I can usually lay him down in his crib, kiss his forehead, and he will lay quietly until he falls asleep. Of course we have hard days, but the schedule makes it so much easier.
Mamas with infants who refuse sleep, I am right there with you. Still, stick to a schedule, and I recommend looking into baby wearing. My little bird is on our schedule even if he doesn’t sleep. I have him up and playing with his big brother, and sitting down for meals as well. Most often, meal time for my infant is on my lap because I’m nursing him. But otherwise he is in the high chair with some food as well. Baby wearing is the best thing for infants that aren’t ready to nap in their crib for longer periods of time. I baby wear to get the little bird to sleep while his brother snoozes away in his room.
I hope you get some time to yourself, and get those littles to sleep. Nap time is so important for these little ones. Turn off the TV this morning and try a fun schedule and see what happens! What do you do to get those naps in?