Parenthood

My toddler needs less sleep. Send help!

For the past week or so my almost 2.5 year old daughter has started napping for only about an hour. She falls asleep within a few minutes so I know she’s tired enough and still very much needs her nap but a few weeks back she was such a brilliant napper that some days I’d have to wake her after two hours and she’d still be fast asleep and now… my break during the day is getting shorter and shorter and I already miss it dearly.

As a stay at home mum her nap times and early bedtimes have been my saviours, I get my work done, I get to study, work out – a break for myself while reading books or watching TV. So I really miss her two-hour naps and her needing less sleep now is yet another clear sign of her just growing up! She starts kindergarten this year and that is when I will get more time back for myself but until then… I need to up my game!

I need to find more things for us to do! To be honest, during the move, all the unpacking and arranging, we’ve resorted to using screen time to keep her occupied and literally out of our way. She plays on her own for a while but always wants me to join her soon enough and TV is the only thing that keeps her still for a longer period. She’s gotten used to it and gets pretty upset when I tell her we’ll play with toys instead of watching TV. If she went to kindergarten right now we’d not be having this problem but it is what it is (I actually hate the saying ‘it is what it is’ but oh well, it is what it is).

Luckily with the spring on its way we’ll have a lot more to do outdoors. Right now we don’t last very long, maybe an hour in the morning and the same in the afternoon because it’s rather chilly with the winter temperatures and quite strong winds as we live by the sea. We have a huge terrace but there’s nothing to do yet but we’ll get some furniture soon enough and a playhouse with an outdoor kitchen for her. We’ve had lots of indoor days too when it seems like she’s not interested in going out at all and I don’t feel like forcing it. We also go to playrooms twice a week, visit family over the weekends and have play dates.

If I feel creative, we do arts and crafts at home, I get her involved in the kitchen when I cook, we do puzzles, read books, and yes, we watch some TV too. I didn’t show her any TV until she was about 17 months old but when she started dropping her morning nap I introduced a bit of TV time so I could get a break for myself for showering and getting ready in the morning. We started with Teletubbies, Little Baby Bum, In the Night Garden and Word Party and now we’re into Blippi, Paw Patrol and Thomas the Tank Engine. She loves Blippi and I don’t mind it either, it’s a bit silly and repetitive yet educational – she’s learning colours, numbers, animals etc. So, I don’t think all screen time is necessarily bad and let’s be honest:

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It’s a familiar feeling again, the mum guilt, especially a stay at home mum guilt – do I do enough? I wrote about it last summer and sometimes I feel the guilt again but I should also be realistic – we’ve just moved to a new city and I don’t drive here yet so my options are slightly limited but we’re having fun and that’s more important! Here’s a gallery of how much fun we’ve been having ;).

Back to the sleep bit… I don’t know one mother that isn’t a bit obsessed with their kids’ sleep. I’m sure it gets better in time but when they’re still little it’s all about nap timings, lengths, the dreaded cat naps, the missed naps, the early wakes, you name it. So, once there’s a shift in their routine, like dropping from four to three, three to two, two to one, and finally to no naps, it’s not just your kid that’s adjusting, it’s you adapting to a new rhythm as well. You have to be flexible and go with the flow, get over the sleep regressions and realise that they emerge from the blips with new skills. She’s growing up so fast, and yes, send help! send more coffee and wine because I need more energy to run after her or run around with her. Who needs sleep when life is so much fun?

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