Thursday, September 22, 2011

Too Old to Nap?

I think we might have come to the end of an era with Aubrey. I'm talking about naps. She hasn't napped at all this week, and I'm really to the point now that I don't even expect her to sleep when I put her down for "nap time." I knew this would happen at some point, but it's still kind of weird that the time has come.

Ever since we moved Aubrey into her big girl bed, she had been REALLY good about staying in bed. I think I mentioned on here before that David and I had decided not to make it a rule that she had to stay in bed. We were just going to see how it would go without making her stay in bed, and we were hoping that she would either stay in bed on her own or get in bed and go to sleep when she was tired. We just didn't want to create a rule that we couldn't really enforce, and we knew it might be hard for us to know if she got out of bed without a video monitor. We knew we could always revisit this issue and make changes if that system wasn't working. Well, it worked great. For months, she never got out of bed (to our knowledge). Even when she skipped her naps and never went to sleep, she stayed in bed. That all changed this week. I don't know what clicked in her little mind to bring about this change, but she's been getting up and playing during naptime. On the bright side, she does play quietly, and she's perfectly content in her room. She is really good at playing independently, and I think she'd be happy up there as long as I'd leave her (which is usually two hours right now). I just know now that's she's getting up and playing, there's really no hope of her sleeping. Thankfully, she doesn't get cranky without a nap at this point. I guess she's just old enough to do without one now, so I'm not going to try to force her to sleep. I really think that if she's particularly tired and needs a nap, she will take one. It's been funny to see what she's done during her room time when I go get her. Today she had EVERY light in her room on. Her overhead light, closet light, lights over her window seats, and bathroom light were all on. Ha!

We haven't had to worry about her getting up at night yet. Since she isn't napping, she is falling asleep MUCH more quickly than she used to. It used to be very normal for her to talk and take a while to go to sleep at night. Now, we rarely hear a peep out of her after putting her to bed. Another bonus is that she's been sleeping later in the mornings. She sleeps from about 8:30PM (or 9) to about 8:30AM. At least, that's been the pattern this week. I realize this could very possibly be completely different next week! ;) This new routine is working out just fine so far, so I'm not mourning the dropping of the nap like I thought I would. I still get a break in the afternoon while she's in bed, she's been in a happy mood, and I think she's getting plenty of sleep. This isn't to say that I don't think she'll EVER take a nap again, but I think it will be the exception rather than the rule.

I am a little torn about how long I should leave her in her room in the afternoon. Like I said, she's happy in there playing, and I think quiet rest time is really beneficial for her. I'm not going to lie and say that I don't enjoy the quiet time too! But I don't want her to spend TOO much time alone in her room every day. I just think that interaction and being around people is important also. I know there isn't a "one size fits all" answer to how long a rest time should be, and every child is different and requires different things. Two hours seems to be working out well now, but I worry that that might be too long. When she was napping, I didn't feel bad leaving her in her room for two hours even when she didn't sleep. I thought two hours was a reasonable amount of time for a nap, and therefore a reasonable amount of time to expect her to stay in her room even if she chose not to sleep. I do think rest time is a little different than a nap time, though, so I don't know if I should adjust the time? Any opinions or words of wisdom? ;)


Ashley said...

So interesting! Evy has been really incosistent with naps lately. However, she's still in her crib, so we're not even dealing with the getting out of bed issue yet (that should be interesting). I personally don't think that 2 hours is too long. She's obviously content and when you think of 2 hours compared to the whole rest of the day, it's a very small fraction of time that she's by herself. Just my opinion! ;)

Jennifer said...

I don't think two hours of alone time is too much at all! My niece had quiet time (maybe still does) for about 2 hours while her brother naps and she is 6!

David Howie said...

I think the big change happened right after her birthday party. She had all these great, new toys to play with and realized there was nothing stopping her.

Elizabeth said...

My daughter gave up naps around 3 as well. But she did great with quiet time for a long time...I think she needed that time alone to "recharge". She would need about 1.5-2 hrs.