This week my toddler has stopped, or is increasingly fighting against the daytime nap. She’s three in August, and I always knew that she would drop her nap soon. Moving her from her cot bed to a toddler bed seemed to signal the start of this, as it became increasingly harder to keep her in her bed.
To be honest it’s been tough, I always knew it would happen, but I wasn’t fully prepared for it. My toddler DOES still needs her daytime nap as the afternoons often become a battlefield, and any time after 4pm resembles a war zone with an over tired out of control child.
As a parent with a new baby on the way, I have needed to quickly think of some strategies to help us both survive the loss of the daytime nap. So, if you’re experiencing the same thing, here are some of my top tips to take on board.
Lower your expectations
You may have high hopes for what you can achieve in the day. It could be work, life admin or tidying the house. However whilst you’re both getting used to a new routine, lower your expectations and accept that you may not achieve everything you have on your list. Just like life with a newborn baby the housework can wait, it just may mean that you’re having to stay up a little later in the evenings.
Have some quiet time
My toddler is on the go from 6am until 7.30pm, which seems like a crazy long time for a 2 year to be awake for. During the hours that my toddler would nap after lunch, we have been having some quiet time together on the sofa. Use this time to read stories or watch a film together. It will give you both an opportunity to regain some energy, and you may also be able to shut your eyes for 5 minutes.
Try not to worry about how you will survive the day
I don’t know about you but I am so guilty of this. I worry at 6.30am how I am going to get through the day ahead, with bedtime seeming hours away in the distance. Try to avoid these thoughts as they will only make the time drag on longer than you think. Instead take each hour at a time, and before you know it, it’ll be bath time.
Get out of the house
Getting out of the house makes the time pass so much more quickly, plus it will avoid an over tired toddler trashing your home. It could be a to visit the park, the supermarket, or to go for a walk. Anything to help your child burn off energy, and to distract themselves and you from feeling tired.
Hang out from friends
I always find that spending time with friends especially my NCT group who have children of the same age, really help me to gain some sanity. If you can do this, do it. It will allow the children to play together, whilst you can have a moan and share with people who are probably going through exactly the same thing.
Use your garden
No matter what the weather is doing try to enjoy the garden. It means you haven’t got to go very far and you can easily head back inside without a huge palava such as when your toddler refuses to leave the park. You could find leaves or insects, or let them play on the swing and slide. It could also give you a little break and maybe 5 minutes to hang out the washing as well.
Get some help
If you can get some help. If you’re a stay at home mum or work from home mum, who utilises that vital nap time to work and do the housework, see if you can get some help. Can you ask family to look after your toddler for a few hours a week, or you could consider getting a cleaner to take away some of the pressure away of cleaning the bathroom and hoovering.
So those are my top tips for surviving the loss of the daytime nap. My best advice is to be easy on yourself and try not to get annoyed with your toddler. All children drop their daytime nap eventually, and instead of getting frustrated by this, use the time instead to enjoy spending time with your child. As before you know it, they’ll be off to school soon.
How did you survive the loss of the daytime nap?