If you’re losing sleep over their lack of sleep, it might be time to give up your toddler’s daytime nap.
Ah, the bliss of a maturing toddler.
I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but you will agree that there comes a time when The Two-Year-Old becomes more settled, more predictable and (if possible) even cuter than before.
Their sleep is more solid, you know what their favourite food is and how to cajole them into eating what’s good for them, their whims and moods are easier to predict: hungry = grumpy, fed = happy, tired = impossible, rested = delightful.
Pretty simple, right?
Or so we thought.
Our girls are amazing sleepers. Don’t hate us, but they are. They go to bed wide awake and, after our bedtime routine of songs and stories; we exit with ‘Sweet dreams’ and ‘Sleep tight little angels’ on our smiling lips. In a matter of minutes they are in Lala land and we have the evening to ourselves.
Before you throw wholegrain unsalted rice cakes at us, know this: we’ve worked blooming hard to get to this point! Lots of training, lots of consistent explaining and not backing-down. Great sleeping bags (did I just throw that in there? You bet I did!). And it’s paid off nicely, thank you.
For the last two months, the girls have been pushing back on going to sleep, and have been falling asleep later and later with every passing day.
- They want water.
- They need to wee.
- They’ve dropped their favourite toys… again!
On and on, for two hours some nights before they’d finally nod off.
It was exhausting! Out of sheer desperation I checked the parenting know-all: Aunty Google.
Here’s what I found: As toddlers approach the three-year mark (and generally not sooner) they start getting ready to shed the last remnant of babyhood, aka The Daytime Nap. (This is a bit of an adjustment to our thinking, as up until this point poor daytime sleep usually made for terrible nighttime sleep.)
Light bulb! They were old enough now to only need 10 – 12 hours of sleep a day.
So last Saturday, with courage in one hand, and Stopain in the other (just in case it didn’t work), we kept our girls awake the entire day. No naps. No breaks. Nada.
We put them to bed a bit earlier than usual as they both looked rather pale after supper. After a quick bath, a short story and lot of kisses, we zipped them into their sleeping bags (I’m shameless, I know) and closed the door, whispering a prayer that it would work.
Our prayer’s answer: Silence.
Not a peep. No call for water, no dropped toys, nothing.
It’s a miracle. It’s like we’re on holiday every day now after the girls go down.
Now our home looks something like this: Sleeping toddlers = happy parents.