I’m playing along with Finished for Friday over at Lit and Laundry. And, well, this week it’s not anything so concrete as a quilt or even an organizational project (hopefully that will be finished for next Friday). This week, I am proclaiming the end of the 2-to-1 nap transition. And may we all say, hallelujah!
It’s been a long process. I remember, way back when, hearing people say that this transition from two naps to one could take several months. That sounded like nothing less than the third circle of hell. Months of in-between, mediocre, unpredictable napping? No thank you!!
But, if I may say so myself, I think we made it through with relative grace and ease. [And yes, I know that just typing that means that I'm about to get hit with a regression of epic proportions, but oh well.] It was a combination of good fortune and hitting on a winning strategy, and I feel pretty good about it.
It had to have been around September when our nice, solid routine of two long naps started to go south. Specifically, both kids were still going down very easily for the morning nap and taking a nice long one, at that. But when afternoon naptime rolled around, they had no interest. They were talking to each other, laughing, shrieking, screaming, and otherwise not going down for a nap. I basically had to use the window between the two naps to run them absolutely ragged, or they’d skip the afternoon entirely and then be completely fried before dinnertime.
I decided I needed a plan. I consulted Weissbluth, who was of two minds. One suggestion for the 2-to-1 transition was to gradually move both naps later and later until the afternoon just went away and the morning became sort of a mid-day nap. This held no appeal to me, whatsoever. Not only did I not want to have a continually shifting naptime, but my kids were also still quite ready to go down fairly early in the morning. However, another bit I read that specifically addressed the issue of skipping the afternoon nap, suggested that one potential culprit was a morning nap that was too long. Aha!
The plan came together. My overarching goal was that I wanted the morning nap to disappear, but the afternoon nap to remain around 1:00pm, give or take. I started shortening the morning nap. I would wake them up no later than 10:30, then 10:15. It worked pretty well, and they kept that afternoon nap. They started being less in need of the morning nap, and sometimes would talk or just stay awake for the duration, though the 45-60 minutes of quiet time still seemed helpful.
Even better, they started sleeping a bit later in the morning. The 6AM wake up became 6:30, then 7 and even 7:30. Sometimes I don’t get them out of bed until 8! It’s delicious. And the later wake-up meant they were less and less inclined to sleep during the morning nap time and would often skip out entirely. Once or twice, I even experimented with skipping it entirely, and didn’t completely crash and burn.
It was a little over a week ago that I made the final call. We would no longer do a morning nap. Prime outing time quickly shifted from late afternoon to mid-morning. We started a music class and signed up for gymnastics, both before 10AM. Now, they get up sometime between 7:30 and 8:00, and go down for nap between 12:30 and 1:00. On a good day, the nap goes longer than two hours (not all days are good…). I have to be careful to keep them awake in the car, but otherwise (knock on wood) it seems to be going well. The kids are doing well, the single nap is where I want it to be. It took a while to get to this point, but it was not the complete chaos I feared it would be from September to January.
Now, when I say this transition is finished…. I’m not a fool. I know that sleep is one of those things that is never final, never perfect (at least, not for long). I know we’ll still have bad days (witness: Wednesday), and I know they may hit a nasty regression soon. But the two-nap chapter is now closed, and at least for now, things are pretty good. And for that, I am thankful.