Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Is your life ruled by LO's nap time?

I'm curious how many other moms feel like they are ruled by their LO's nap time.  I feel like I don't want to be in the car anytime near the nap time because if LO falls asleep even for a little while it'll be nearly impossible to make him nap later on--so I pretty much have an hour or so in the morning to run an errand (which we are rural so it takes forever to get anywhere)--and then very little time after LO awakes since then we have to prep dinner and pick my other son up from school.

I want to run an errand tomorrow but it'll take about 45 min to get to--maybe a tad more---but considering he won't fall asleep in the car right away--maybe he'll sleep for 25-30 min of that trip.  Then he'll be a bear while there---and then only sleep maybe 30 min on the way home.  He generally gets a 2 hour nap--otherwise dinner time on is horrrrrrrible....especially since my 4 yr old can't nap any longer due to his school schedule---2 LO's that are acting up at the same time for the same reason (tired).  UGH.


Re: Is your life ruled by LO's nap time?

  • Oh you sound like me! Yes, I schedule things around his naps. He's 13 mos old. I find now, that he's older, he's able to stay awake longer, so it's like a ritual for us on the days I want to go out and about. He wakes up in the am, we have 3hrs before he needs to go down, so we go to breakfast sometimes or to my dad's, or to garage sales or some other errand. Then back home for the nap for one hour. When he wakes up, if I want to go on a longer excursion, I'm getting everything ready while he's asleep. When he wakes up, I am set to go, and we're out the door. He have about 3-4 hours to be out and about before his second nap. Then I'm back home for that one. Then, after that, if I want to go out again, I'm out the door when he gets up and we have 3hrs again to do something. Usually go to my dad's or my sister's or out to dinner. We actually do quite a lot. And now that I've come to terms with it and learned how to preplan and prepare, I've gotten used to it. I do let him nap from time to time in the car on the way home. I know it will be a shorter nap, only 30 minutes, but it's never been a huge deal. I'll put him to bed a little earlier and I don't do it everyday. He does much better and we're all happier when he's well rested!! I will never back down when it comes to that. And I can see him approaching the one nap schedule soon, so there will be even more free time then. It goes by so fast so even if you're a slave to it right now, don't feel weird. It's for their benefit, and it won't last forever.
  • Pretty much.  however, I keep a book in the car.  That way if LO is asleep I can just read!


  • Unless there is something important (doctor's appt, special family activity, etc) then yes, I organize my entire day around LO's nap. She just gets too cranky otherwise and I don't like being home all day with a crying toddler!
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  • I was with DD.  I scheduled everything around her naps and ensured we were home in time to tuck her in.  We were never one of those lucky parents that had a DD that easily transferred from car to bed if she fell asleep on the way home.  With DS we're not as strict since we have a toddler that needs to be entertained.  I'll usually try to have him take a morning nap before we go out and just hope he squeezes in a cat nap before dinner and give him an early bedtime.
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  • We have a DVD player in our van, so anytime we're out (usually on our way home) and it's near nap time, I turn on a show and he doesn't fall asleep.

    When planning something (playdate, errand, doc appt), I plan it for the morning when I know I can get home before nap time. I never schedule something from 12:30 pm till 4 pm, since it's too close to nap time.

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  • Yesss! It's very annoying! Like today we me nd Dh try to schedule nap time for DDs and it's like they will actual only slept for 30mins. But I will keep trying,my best to train for nap time.
  • Not really. DD's nap time changes when she's with the babysitter and when she is with us. We'll try to schedules things outside of her usual nap times just in case, but she's usually reallygood.

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  • Yes, DS is somewhat the same way. He wakes at 6:30 am and if I put him in the car anywhere after 9am he will take a short snooze and then refuse his nap later, which is usually from 12:30-2:30. I try to get out as early as possible to avoid this. One other thing I've found is if I give him something to eat or drink in the car he is more likely to stay awake. He usually has a sippy cup of milk before breakfast but sometimes I'll switch his schedule around and bring the milk with us on our errand to drink on the way home so he'll stay awake. But I'm not often going anywhere that's more than 15 min from home...
  • Somewhat.  If we have something important to do, we do it.  But I do try to at least allow her to get her morning nap from 10-12 or so.  If we have things to do in the morning, I'll ensure she goes down later in the day. 

    I would never let naps get in the way of living our lives completely.  LO will sleep in the car or stroller a bit. 

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  • No and it never has been.  We live in a rural area too. (30 minutes to Wal-Mart and 45 to get to the better grocery store that we like).  I do like to be in the car if at all possible when she will be sleepy so that she will sleep in the car.  LO gets carsick and has thrown up all over herself a few times.  Sleeping prevents that awful mess and her discomfort. 

    I guess I'm lucky that my LO is pretty easygoing.  We've never had a rigid schedule for naps or anything else.  She's not one of those kids who needs to sleep in their own bed or follow a bedtime routine.  When she was smaller, if she needed to sleep, she'd lay her head down on me and take a nap.  Now, she may get a little cranky in the evening if she misses her nap, but she'll just go to be early and is pretty easy to distract in the meantime.  I've never avoided doing anything because of naptime (although we don't like to do much anyway. . . )

  • Absolutely.  I insist DS be home approx. 11:30 a.m. for lunch, so he can go down 12-2.  I go to the gym, run errands, storytime, or do a playdate in the morning.  In the afternoon, we visit the park, visit my grandmother, or finish up the errands.

    It's a little bit annoying, but the structure is good for me too!

    As far as your errand tomorrow, sometimes a little nap is better than nothing at all.  You may be pleasantly surprised, especially if you mentally prepare yourself for the worst.

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  • Yes (on weekends) I try to plan everything around naps.  I'll run my errands after he wakes up.  I don't want him to sleep in the car either unless we have to go somewhere kind of far. 

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  • I prioritize naps above most things, but i don't feel like they hold me hostage. DH can watch the kids, I can get a baby sitter or simply decline an invite that falls over nap time. I can't think of an errand that might trump nap time. The things I've prioritized over naps were: my sister's 40th birthday, the first birthday party for a close friend's kid, holidays. I'm slightly worried about moving naps back 30 over the summer to accommodate Summer camp for my older kid.
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  • I wouldn't say my life is RULED by the girls' nap time, but I do try to be careful about scheduling things that may come in conflict with nap time.

    I'm pretty lucky in that the girls don't HAVE to nap at a specific time. DD2 still takes 2 naps a day - a short one and a long one. So if we have something planned for lunch, for instance, I can have her take her shorter nap in the morning and then she will be fine until we get back home, at which point she and her sister will both go down for a nap.

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  • Yes, but now it's difficult to schedule anything, because DS sometimes takes 2 and sometimes takes 1 nap. If he sleeps past 7:30, he only needs 1 nap, but if he is up by 7 (like the days I work), he needs 2 naps.

    So, now, if I schedule something on my days off, and know he needs to be somewhere mid-day, then I'll just wake him up early so he can have an AM nap before and a PM nap after. Otherwise, I just let him sleep and he'll usually just have one nap. I'll be glad when he's solidly at one nap, but even then, yes, we'll definitely be home during that time b/c he'll nap 2+ hours. A 30 minute car nap would be awful, since that'll be his only nap that day.

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  • It mostly is for us too.  I am glad we are finally able to transition her to just 1 nap - some weekends that works, others she wants to go down twice still (does just 1 already a day at DC).  She's never been a long napper though, so if we do have something to do I will sometimes just do what I need to even if it means a 30 min nap in the car or stroller.
    BFP #1 10/12/10, Emma born 7/27/11 at 40W6D
    BFP #2 8/11/12

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  • It works for me to keep her on a schedule. She is down to one nap. She gets up at 7 and I have an older DD that we take to school. So I have from about 8:30 to 11:30 to run my errands. I put her down about 12 and she sleeps until 3. I am able to workout and clean while she sleeps. She is so much happier when she sleeps! Which means mommy is too! ;)
  • First of all, consider yourself lucky! 2 hour nap?? My LO sleeps anywhere from 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Never longer than that and only once a day.

    I am ruled by his naps only because I use that time to work out, 6 days a week. So if he falls asleep in the car then I am screwed unless DH can watch him later (but I don't like working out in the evenings).

    I make sure we run errands super early. I go grocery shopping at 9:00 and that always works out. It sounds like you have a bit more on your plate though, with another child. I know it's challenging- just do the best you can!

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  • It definitely used to be.  I'm slowly getting a little more flexible about DDs naps because I'm anxious for her to go down to 1 nap!  Right now she still naps at 9:30 and 2:30, but I've gotten to the point that if we have something in the AM like a playdate or church, she misses the AM nap and just goes down earlier in the PM.  We usually still have an early bedtime those days, but I'm trying to be more flexible about it in general.   


  • Absolutely not! No way. We have wey to many fun things to be doing then to worry about where she crashes. If we are home then she sleeps in her bed. If we are out then she sleeps in the car or stroller. Life too short to be strapped down by a nap schedule!
  • image magnoliablossom00:
    Unless there is something important (doctor's appt, special family activity, etc) then yes, I organize my entire day around LO's nap. She just gets too cranky otherwise and I don't like being home all day with a crying toddler!


    this is me too. i'd rather postpone an activity and have a good day overall, than try and push her limits.  

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  • I definitely make sure to be home for naptimes because routines are important to me. DS usually naps around 10:30a-12p and again around 430-530p. I just make sure to make plans inbetween those times - works for us!

    BFP 5/21/10, Missed m/c 7/5/10 at 11w3d (baby measured 7wks), D&C 7/7/10

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    12/09/10 BFP -- 7/05/11 DS born at 33w5d. Came home after 23d in NICU at 37w0d

    June 2012 - TTC #2! -- 10/05/12 BFP --  5/23/13 DS2 born at 37w1d! Yay full term!

    Surprise BFP 6/25/14 LO#3 due Feb2015!

  • Yes, but it got better once she dropped the second nap. I now have several hours in the morning before lunch and about an hour in the afternoon before dinner prep.
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  • image magnoliablossom00:
    Unless there is something important (doctor's appt, special family activity, etc) then yes, I organize my entire day around LO's nap. She just gets too cranky otherwise and I don't like being home all day with a crying toddler!

     Yep, this. Also, DD won't sleep in the car or the stroller or basically anywhere besides her crib and the PNP at my parents' house. So our options are quite limited, and she is a bear without her nap. 

  • Yes, I do.  DH gets annoyed with me sometimes because he says I should be more flexible and she will adjust.  I just like the structure and she seems happier with it too.
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  • Afternoon nap, yes.  I still have two who need that nap to function so we plan t be home no later than 1pm and never make afternoon plans before 4pm.

    DD still takes a morning nap as well, but that one depends on our schedule.  If we have plans, she does without. 



    Avery & Sophie born still November 12, 2007
  • No. We have a pretty regular schedule but if something comes up, the kids need to roll with it.
    If it's something like a change in DS1's game or practice time that I know in advance, I'll arrange DS2 and DS3's naps accordingly.
  • Sorry you are having such a tough time!  Yes, we schedule around naps, too.  With only 1 kid, I can do it most of the time.  We've been known to waste time and gas driving around our toddler when he fell asleep in the car because we needed him rested  wherever we were going.
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    DD1: BFP July 2010...HG in first tri, MC delivered vaginally at 18 weeks October 2010

    DS: BFP December 2011...SCH at 5 weeks, SBR at 7 weeks, Placental Abruption at 13 weeks, Hospitalized at 25 weeks, pPROM at 28 weeks, PTL via CS at 31 weeks 

    DD2: BFP January 2013...P17 shots, delivered via VBAC at 39 weeks
  • Yes, I'm generally ruled by LO's naptime, but if a special occasion comes up then she adjusts surprisingly well!
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  • Absolutely.  When she was taking three naps a day, it was really hard.  Now that it's just one, it's doable.  But she doesn't like sleeping and I had to choose getting her any naps in or having a flexible schedule. I chose her sleep.
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