BABY

What’s your child’s sleeping routine like?

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I was recently chatting to a girlfriend about our children’s sleeping routines, and I though it was interesting to hear how different they are. You see, my children have never had mid-day naps, but have always taken morning naps instead.

I think this originated from when I was a new mum, and Sara had just been born. Totally unexperienced and needing a guideline to follow, I briefly practised Gina Ford ‘s schedule. It didn’t take long (her book with super strict schedules made me a completely stressed out mum) but the accidental result was that Sara ended up having a longer morning nap instead of the more general mid-day nap.

I liked the practicality of the morning nap — while my baby was sleeping, I could shower, get dressed, do laundry and some cleaning, and then by the time she woke up we would be ready for lunch and to go out of the house. (When she was little she would have a second brief nap around 4PM, but she would be happy to have this nap in her pram or pushchair, so it wouldn’t restrict me from going out of the house.) When Pim was born not so long after, I naturally followed the same schedule, which worked great for him too. And I have been doing the same with my other children as well — they all have had longer morning naps instead of the midday nap!

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Casper still sleeps in the mornings. We usually put him to bed somewhere between 9 and 10, and he usually sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half. At the end of the day, around 7:30, 8PM, he’s ready to go to bed again —  we usually put him to bed before his bigger siblings, allowing us some quiet reading time with the older children (who are supposed to be in bed around 8:30, but if I’m honest, it’s often later, especially now that it’s summer and warm and light till late!).

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I thought it was interesting to bring up this subject, as I know that most people let their child sleep after lunch. I guess you just tweak your schedule to what works best for your family! I would love to know, what kind of sleeping schedule do (or did) you follow with your children? Are you very strict with your routines, or more flexible?

xxx Esther


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Comments (27)

August 31, 2015

I always knew my kids are good sleepers but now I see they really are sleepyheads! 🙂 Tila goes to bed between 7-7.30 pm and sleeps until 7-8 in the morning. Then (when she was younger) she also took mid-day naps from around 12-3pm and Talan does the same (he sleeps for 3 whole hours!). But they can’t stay still in between 😀 Oh and Tila started to take mid-day naps again now during her vacation all on her own and she behaved so much better the rest of the day then so I decided to bring them back on weekends here as well 😉


Diana
August 31, 2015

My daughter’s naps were never longer than 20-30 min in her first year. She usually took several naps a day. Now that she is 1 and a half she sleeps for 2 to 3 hours from around midday. I never had any strict rules and let her sleep when she is tired. She goes to bed at 8:30 pm. I find that even without a strict schedule, children eventually find their own natural routine (show what their needs are).


Helen
August 31, 2015

Always such an interesting topic and reassuring to know all children our different. The biggest shock about having a second child was that she was very different to my first when it came to sleep. She only sleeps on her tummy which was very stressful for me when she was tiny. She’s almost 7 months so I don’t worry now. It took me months to work out when she needed naps. It wasn’t much easier than the first time!! She definitely likes a longer first nap than my son did but sometimes I still panic (is she sleeping too long in the morning? What about this afternoon? Will it affect tonight?) but this post is a reminder to relax…


August 31, 2015

Reading sleeping routine book also drove me crazy!!


Michelle
August 31, 2015

With my first I was a little bit stricter with his routine. Afternoon nap was at 2pm everyday and bed at 7.30. This really worked for him and he was a brilliant sleeper. I loved it too because it meant we could get out of the house early and enjoy the day and then when he slept in the afternoon I could do a little work and sort dinner out. Number 2 is totally different and, with a busier day, she tends to sleep on the go or sleep when we get home in the afternoon, sometimes not until 3.30. She seems to manage okay but isn’t as good a sleeper as my first , so I do think a more steady routine is beneficial.


SHOW ALL COMMENTS
August 31, 2015

I followed a sleep routine book to the letter with my oldest – and it worked like a charm! But then it didn’t work at all with my second. So when number three and four came along. I fully embraced co sleeping. It may mean I don’t get quite as much rest bc the bed is filled – but I know these years are short. Naps are important in our family – for the little ones….and me too!


Esther in Amsterdam
September 1, 2015

We are relaxed about co-sleeping too — yes, the years this happens are short! But do you mean you take mid-day naps with your kids too? I have never even thought of that! xxx


September 1, 2015

Yes – I totally try to take an afternoon nap too. I told you I love to sleep (wink).


Julia
August 31, 2015

Where is the lovely grey blanket from?


Esther in Amsterdam
September 1, 2015

Thank you! It’s a Bugaboo blanket! x


Katherine Cheng
August 31, 2015

I have just been hoping that you would talk about sleep routines. My almost-3 yo Cleo has been a pretty good sleeper – off to bed around 8:30pm, up between 7 – 7:30am, with a 2-hour nap between 1 – 3 in the afternoon), and it used to take about 20- 30 min to put her to sleep including a bit of book reading and singing. But lately she’s been rebelling against this lovely routine. Ever since we weaned her off her dummy in June and transferred her to her toddler bed 3 weeks ago, it now takes us an hour and a half to put her to sleep at night, and she insists that I stay with her until she falls asleep. And frequently she’d wake up in the middle of night and come to our bedroom. And to top it off, she now wakes up around 6am! My husband and I initially thought we could apply sleep training but it’s not working as she can now get out of bed herself. Would appreciate any thoughts on how to navigate this phase!


Leah
August 31, 2015

Sounds like she may need her day time nap cut down to an hour now. My little one started to not be ready for bed by his usual time and was waking earlier and earlier in the morning. Now he has 45 mins some days, some days he can go right thru and we put him down a little earlier, say 7pm instead of 7.30/8. He still sleeps til 7 now.

Hope this helps.


Esther in Amsterdam
September 1, 2015

Actually, this sounds familiar — Casper, who is of similar age as your Cleo, also is rebelling against going to sleep in the evening and consistently comes to our bed in the middle of the night. We are relaxed about co-sleeping so we let him, but I also think it’s a phase — maybe they are a bit afraid? I also find Casper much more clingy these days, he really wants to be with me all the time. I think I’ll just be relaxed about it… (But I agree with leah, maybe you could try to cut back on her day nap, and see how that goes?) xxx


Katherine Cheng
September 1, 2015

Thanks for the tips! I’m glad to know this is a phase that is not just unique to Cleo. I’ll try to cut back on her nap and see if it makes a difference (although the 2 hours in the afternoon when she’s sleeping is such a precious little break to tidy up and do other stuff!).


Leah
September 1, 2015

I know what you mean! I wondered how I would ever cope without nap time but actually it really helps some days so that your schedule can be more flexible. Phases are awful aren’t they. Don’t worry, all our children go thru this and it all sounds so normal, especially with her age and the change she’s had. Ie, going into a bed from cot etc. hope we helped!! My littl boy is out within minutes now when he hasn’t had a nap and sleeps such a beautiful deep sleep and then days when he’s napped ( I don’t let him have more than 45 mins/1 hr ) we just enjoy his company a little longer in the evening. X


Jess Clayden
August 31, 2015

My first was a great sleeper, I didn’t realise how lucky I was at the time, he would sleep through from 7:30pm – 7:00am with an hours nap normally after lunch around 12:30/1pm for about an hour, this would sometimes change depending on activities but he just adapted easily. Very different story with my second who is now 18 mths, he isn’t a great sleeper and although he still naps at lunchtime it’s only for about 1/2 hr at most. He still tends to wake up at about 11pm and again at 4am some nights. I remember someone telling me once that the golden rule is to not let them nap any time after 3pm or they’ll have trouble sleeping at night.Great topic and always interesting reading how other families go about sleep routines with their little ones…


Nicola
August 31, 2015

Ha! I too read the infamous Gina Ford book – whilst it was ridiculously strict (far more than I could deal with as a brand new mum), it too taught me about early morning naps. My first born used to have a nap around 9.30-10am and often sleep for 3 hours. I could get LOADS done, plus have a cheeky nap myself sometimes. Unfortunately it didnt work quite the same with my 2 subsequent daughters. Like another poster has said – I too learnt that babies tend to find their own sleep rhythm if you don’t stress about specific nap times and let them get on with it. I only properly learnt this by the time I had baby no.3.


Helene
August 31, 2015

“Sleeping like a baby “, what an interesting day given how much we fret about our little ones sleep! I must admit, I read Gina and do think her broad guidelines have worked for us as a family but never to the letter. I remember crying when my first was about 4 weeks and has woken up at 6.30am. I did not know what to do because it was not in the book and I thought my whole day and life were going to unravel!
My 2 children ended up following a loose Gina pattern though: shortish morning sleep, long early afternoon and small cat nap when really little. My second is now 2.5 and still sleeps in the early afternoon for about 1 hour or so. They go to bed at 7.30 and are usually awake at 6.30. My two slept from 10 weeks and bar from the occasional sickness or teething, are very consistent in their sleeping. I am quite rigid with routine which I think helps a lot, when they’re tired and when away as its a constant they can hold on to.
But while they are both amazing sleeper, they were/are terrible with potty training. So there you go, we all have our crosses to bear!


August 31, 2015

My little one’s nursery teacher had told them there’s no need to nap anymore when he turns 3 (I think they tried to encourage the younger ones to sleep after lunch that way) – and so he did. No more day naps from the day he turned 3 … though he would still need them


Christy
September 1, 2015

Holy smokes! We are a family of sleepyheads. My 2 1/2 year old son goes to bed around 7:30, but is up at 6:30 am because he hears his sisters waking and getting ready for school. He takes a good nap after lunch, usually 2 1/2-3 hours. All of my girls (there are 3) napped up until kindergarten (age 5 or 5 1/2 years of age) and even then on the weekends they would take a 2 hour nap through the kindergarten year. My youngest daughter will be 6 in October and just started kindergarten. After her first full week of not napping, she was exhausted and slept 5 hours during the day and a full normal night of sleep! I appreciate the differences in each family though and it would be lovely to have nap during the morning and then be able to get out of the house in the early afternoon.


September 1, 2015

I never imagined myself a routine-type mother, but when child 1 turned out to be be twins surviving meant a strict schedule. It seems my children have high sleep needs and at 2.5 years old love their afternoon nap. It must occur specifically in a darkened room, with white noise. They sleep 1:30-4:30 every day and totally fall apart without it. Forget the car, buggy, beach, etc…
I would love to be more flexible with our daily activities and such but it’s just not in the cards. I suppose the grass is always greener, right?


Maria
September 1, 2015

How interesting! What happens when Casper goes to nursery then? does he also have a nap between 9 an 10am? Until what age your children had this morning nap?


Esther in Amsterdam
September 1, 2015

When he went to his daycare last year, he would either follow their schedule (nap at 12), but sometimes he was too tired and they would put him to bed before the other children. The days I had him home with me, he would still sleep in the morning.
My kids actually all had naps until they were 4 — Ava still sometimes falls asleep in the car after school or swim class, and I let her nap for an hour or so. School can be exhausting! x


September 1, 2015

Oh, I could only make them nap in the mornings when they were little babies. After that only after lunch. My older one stopped napping when he was 2, but my youngest (who just started nursery at 3 years old) sometimes still naps. Oh, yes, and a ride in the car makes him nap every time…


Carolina
September 1, 2015

My son stopped napping at 2 years 2 months–only exception is when in a car, but as I don’t own a car that rarely happens. At 4, he sleeps 11-12 hours at night, without interruption, and sleeps through the night from a very young age. Here in the USA it appears naps in day care and pre-school are scheduled for the afternoon. My son just “relaxes” but will not sleep. Wish my napped during the day so I could see more f him when I am back from work.


Leah Prins
September 1, 2015

How great that you wrote about this…my 3rd daughter who is just over 1 year still needs a nap by 10 & can sleep up to 3 hours which often works out perfectly for my 13.00 school pickup. Then we are free to go out in the afternoons. I’ve been thinking lately that I hope she keeps at this schedule as it works so well for the rest of the family. Plus I get lots achieved in the morning. My other children always moved onto afternoon naps but you give me hope that I maybe able to hang onto this nap schedule that works so well! Plus she’s not a morning person!!!


Allison
September 2, 2015

When my first dropped from 2 naps to 1, it was the morning nap she kept. The only problem I had was that all the toddler activities are scheduled for the morning, assuming an afternoon nap! My second is still on 3 naps, but it is the first one of the day that he sleeps longest, so I suspect we will have a similar pattern develop.


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