This post is part of the ‘Tales From The Other Side Of …’ series. There are so many stages, achievements, milestones and heartbreaks we go through as parents and whatever we are experiencing, whether good, bad, exciting or terrifying, it’s always nice to know someone else has already done it and come through the other side. To find out how you can get involved and share your story/tips and tricks click here.
A while back I shared a post about my daughter suddenly giving up her naps completely out of the blue (5 Signs Your Toddler Is Ready To Give Up Naptime – Even If You’re Not), and how I was in denial and absolutely dreading it. Turns out, it was actually a good thing. Sure, there are times when I really miss having those two hours to myself so that I can
binge watch csi get stuff done, but since the nap times have ended life has actually gotten easier. I am no longer ruled by the clock (to an extent, I still have to work around school drop off and pick up times). Here are a few before and after scenarios so show you why the end of nap time really isn’t the end of the world:
1) The Supermarket Shop
Before – When L was napping in the afternoons the supermarket shop was a pretty rushed and stressful affair. I would have to drop M off at school in the car (instead of our nice walk), otherwise we would be blocked in by the rest of the drop-off traffic leaving the end of our street for 20 minutes. It would then be a mad dash to get to the supermarket and rush round in order to get back without L falling asleep in the car. We all know the fear of them falling asleep in the car before nap time, it doesn’t lead to a very pretty afternoon. I would spend the entire journey back trying to get her to join in with Old MacDonald just to try and keep her awake, sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
Now – We can still have our nice walk up to school and come back and have a drink while the traffic clears before heading to the supermarket. There is no mad dash and if she happens to fall asleep for ten minutes on the way home it really doesn’t matter. In fact, that ten minute power nap actually leads to a nicer afternoon.
2) Eating Out
Before – Trying to eat out at lunchtime was always a hassle. You had to be there by 11:30am so that your food would arrive by 12 so that you could rush through your meal and get her back home without her falling asleep, in time for her 1pm nap. Pushing the nap to 2pm would result in a very unpleasant bedtime that night.
Now – We can eat out whenever we want and there is no rush. We can actually chew and taste the food we spent too much money on, instead of swallowing it whole while trying to get a toddler to eat at any pace faster than a snail.
3) Day Trips
Before – When L was napping a day trip was a bit of a minefield. If you didn’t leave first thing in the morning there was no point going. Some places you could try and time it so that you would be returning at naptime and she could sleep in the car, but you rarely travel more than an hour for a day trip and when your toddler is used to 2-3 hours sleep they will always wake up grumpy on less. If you stayed out all day, there was the inevitable nap on the way home that would lead to a disastrous bedtime, not to mention dragging a tired and grumpy toddler around all day. During the holidays you definitely couldn’t have two consecutive days out or there would be epic meltdowns, and not just of the toddler variety.
Now – We can have a day trip anywhere and at anytime and not have to worry. This last half-term we went out somewhere every single day and it is was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had.
Before – When L was napping I would always leave all my jobs for that time in the afternoon, reasoning that I would have uninterrupted time to get everything done. The truth is, at that time in the afternoon I am at my least productive and would probably fall asleep at the keyboard. I would only ever get done half of what I wanted to.
Now – I have had to learn to just get on with it. At first my productivity levels plummeting and nothing got done at all, but then I started getting up earlier. Turns out I’m most productive first thing in the morning and I can now get way more done in a day than I used to. Having less time forces you to use what you have more wisely.
Before – Those afternoon naps were prime snacking time for me. I always get a bit of an afternoon slump and as L was in bed and couldn’t see me I would raid the cupboards and eat all those things you’re not supposed to eat.
Now – L is always around and can hear a cupboard opening or a packet rustling from a mile away so there are far fewer opportunities for me to eat my weight in chocolate which has to be a good thing over time, although now I really want some chocolate!
So there you have it. If your toddler is showing signs of stopping their nap, don’t worry, it actually brings it own rewards. Also, on occasion during those first couple of months, they will fall asleep on the couch for a while or want to go to bed for a nap, and when they do, you’ll appreciate that time way more than you ever did before.
Do you have a toddler ready to give up their nap? Have you been through it already? Anything to add? Let me know in the comments below. Also, remember, if you have a story to share you can get involved and guest post in the series, just click here to find out more.