My kids are nappers. They love them some napping.
I believe that giving my children the opportunity for quality sleep is one of my most important parenting duties. If that sounds a little pompous, soz, but it’s true.
We worked out pretty early on that Brodie without sleep was not a happy baby. In fact tired baby Brodie was heartbreaking. He could not make sense of the world when overstimulated and would ugly cry for hours on end. If he slept well, meaning naps and nighttime he was a powerhouse of learning. You could literally see his brain sucking up information and creating new neural pathways in front of your very eyes. New words, new skills they came when he was well rested. So to me I had no choice than to make sure whenever it was practical that he had a safe and quiet place to sleep – more often than not in his cot at home. We planned our days around naps and we still do.
Brodie dropped to one nap a day at 13 months and now at nearly 41 months old he still naps nearly every afternoon. Sure he can manage without when the need arises but he still does better with a siesta.
Today was one of those days he went without. We had plans to play with friends and he seemed so happy digging in the garden that even when our friends left I decided not to interrupt his play. What happened next was an interesting insight into why the boy still needs his afternoon sleep. He was less cooperative, more whiny, less tolerant and frankly spaced out. What I noticed most of all was how off-balance and uncoordinated he seemed. Riding his bike was decidedly terrifying for me to witness, he was like a government advert for taking a break when driving on long journeys. We tried doing a jigsaw but he could not focus and there were tears. Eventually we just settled for reading books and tv when normally he would have been his normal 300mph personality racing about until bed.
Some people are openly aghast when I tell them Brodie still naps. They suggest I must make him sleep – good luck with that, have you ever tried to make a 3-year-old sleep? They suggest, very politely, that I’m babying him by letting him have an afternoon sleep or that I am lazy for sending him to bed and not looking after him.
Every child is different I suppose, some need lots of sleep, some not so much. I’ll be honest and say that delicious half an hour or sometimes more when both Brodie and Grier are sleeping is much appreciated and savoured. I also know we are lucky to be at home so they can sleep comfortably whenever they need to and for as long as they want to. How about we all just do what makes us happy, ‘kay?
Happy Birthday to the only other man who loves an afternoon nap as much as Brodie, hope you managed to squeeze in a Manhattan snooze Sean!