Some time towards the end of last year, Gavin appeared to be fighting off his afternoon naps. He would push the time back later and later. And if he slept in the afternoon, he would push his bed time back later. It seemed like we were fighting in the afternoon and at night to get him to fall asleep. The “winding” down period could take as long as one hour, sometimes two. It also seemed like we were forever playing catch up with the sleeping hours. Some days, he would only get by on 9 hours of sleep in total (afternoon nap plus overnight sleep). If we were lucky, he would catch 10 hours.
Something had to change. So over Gavin’s end of year holidays, we tried cutting out his afternoon nap to see how it went.
The good news was that I was no longer taking one to two hours to help him wind down for sleep. He would be out in 5 to 10 minutes. The bad news was that he would start melting by about dinner time. Since any drastic change like this was to be expected, we kept to the routine to see if he could adjust to it. Some days were good, some days were not so good. Occasionally, he would crash in the afternoon on his own if it was a particularly big day but we’d be back to the usual schedule again the following day.
It is difficult to tell whether he still needs the afternoon nap or not. This is one gray area in child rearing that varies from toddler to toddler. Some toddlers drop their naps earlier while others are still napping at five. It is difficult to say which type of toddler Gavin is. Knowing how important sleep is to a child, I do get quite anal about it. At the same time, I know being stressed about it doesn’t help.
Now that Gavin is back to school and taking the Flexi-hour program which includes an afternoon nap, hubby and I have been interested to see how the teachers manage him at school during “nap time”. So when I picked him up from school, I asked the teachers if he napped in the afternoon. The answer was: no, he did not.
This was exactly what hubby and I had been afraid of. It was no so much that we were worried he would not sleep. What we were worried about was that he would disturb the other children while they slept – or rather when they were supposed to be sleeping.
When we got home, this was the conversation I had with Gavin…
Me: Did you sleep at school today?
Me: Did you disturb the other children at school?
Me: You didn’t wake up the other children?
Me: What did you do when they were sleeping?
G: I played.
Me: What did you play?
G: Hide and Seek.
Me: Were you hiding or looking?
Me: Who were you hiding from?
G: The teachers.
Well, the good news is that he didn’t disturb the other children. However, I do wonder how long this is going to go on before the teachers get tired of “hide and seek” and call us to take him home.
Anyway, here’s what I’d like to know:
How many hours of sleep does your toddler get during a twenty-four hour period? Does your toddler still nap in the afternoon?