A common question I receive is “How do I venture out of the house with two small children and their napping schedules? I feel house bound!”
As a mother of two small children (3 year old and 6 months old), I understand! Some days I feel the same. Yet, being a sleep consultant, I also value good sleep for my children. Here are four tips to help you break free from the house, all children in tow, keeping their precious sleep in mind.
Prepare During Nap Time
You want to have everything ready to go; bags packed, snacks in the car, beautiful mom dressed, keys in hand. Once your child wakes from their nap, you change, feed and head out the door. This way you optimize every minute your child is awake.
i.e.: During my 6 month old’s first nap (8:30-10:30am), I rush around to get everyone and everything ready to go. My daughter is clothed, shoes and coat on ready to leave. I (finally) get out of my sweats and put on normal people clothes :). Everything is set by the door, prepared to go – it’s kind of like the starting line for a quick race. When my son wakes up, I change him, feed and walk out the door. My goal is to be home by his second nap, around 12:15pm.
If you know your errand or event is going to run into nap time, it’s best to miss the second or third nap of the day. For children taking multiple naps a day, the first nap is the best one to have at home. Some researchers believe it is a continuation of night sleep, meaning it’s the easiest for a child to sleep deep and long. Not to mention it is mentally restorative. Stay at home for the first nap, Prepare During Nap Time, and leave once they are awake.
Naps on the Go
I don’t recommend taking a car nap everyday. Motion sleep is not as restorative and won’t provide the same benefit as a nap in the crib. But once a week is fine and won’t affect your child’s sleep. Knowing your child has to nap in the car seat or stroller, try your best to nap them at their normal nap time and make it dark as possible. Assisting them with their nap regarding timing and darkness are ways to ensure you will get some kind of nap. Know that naps on the go are much shorter than normal. In the end, I like to think of naps on the go as a treat; use them occasionally and enjoy them!!
Any day that your child’s nap has deviated from the norm, adjust their bedtime. A nap in motion, a short nap or no nap means they will be tired earlier than normal. Put them to bed earlier. If you keep them up til their typical bedtime, they will be overtired and that may produce bedtime/night time problems. Early to bed to make up for the missed sleep during the day.
It is important we parents get out of the house, it’s for our sanity as much as anything else. Whether it be to the park, store or event with friends, fresh air and a new environment is good for everyone. With a little preparation and thought, you can enjoy the world and keep amazing sleep!
Through her informative and supportive blog posts and one-on-one help, she’s here to guide your child into restorative naps and peaceful nights - while making you wonder why you didn’t contact her sooner.
When she’s not consulting?You’ll find her hanging with her 2 children, getting her sweat on at the gym or baking and indulging in warm ooey-googey chocolate-chip cookies….hobbies that balance each other out!
Meet Valerie + prepare yourself for Amazing Sleep ahead…amazinglittlesleeper.com