How are naps for Galen? For the most part naptime is a dream. I say that not to brag, but simply because it's so refreshing to me! I didn't work specifically on naps with Galen when we first began sleep training, but I believe that helping him learn to go to sleep on his own was what allowed pleasant naptimes. I nursed Galen as part of the “before sleep” routine, but I did *not* nurse him to sleep. Nursing came before a couple of other things (a story and singing). Then he was put into his bed awake. This helped him learn to sleep without nursing.
For naps this was critical. I could easily get Galen to take a nap by lying down with him and nursing him – but as soon as he came unlatched, he woke up. As soon as I tried to sneak out of bed, Galen woke up.
When he was a young baby and I needed as much nap as he did every day, this was fine. It was not working with a toddler, though! He clearly needed more of a nap, and I really wanted some time without a toddler running around!
The first step for me was to get him to nap in his bed (in our room at that point), peacefully. This was months after he'd learned to go to sleep on his own at night, but I used the same basic process (from The Baby Sleep Solution) – the big difference was that I didn't really sit up near his bed. I just took a book to my bed (in his line of sight) because I did, and still do, lie down for a little while every day during the family quiet time.
Moving Out of Our Room
When we moved Galen out of our room and took down the baby hammock I needed another solution. I didn't want to put Galen in with his siblings for nap because none of them are still napping. They read, do schoolwork, draw, etc. in their beds during “quiet time.” I wanted Galen to actually nap. So for nap he is in a room alone. I decided to use a Pack N Play since I often do fall asleep for 20-30 minutes during quiet time. I wanted him to be safe if he didn't fall asleep – wandering toddlers are not a good thing!
It was pretty straightforward to move him to the Pack N Play with a blanket and his favorite stuffed animals. I had trouble getting him to go to sleep, however – I think because he could hear and see a little bit of his siblings being up in the next room. Then he'd wake up when our quiet time ended – but really before he needed to wake up. He was crabby.
The solution that worked for us was moving Galen's naptime start to 45 minutes before our quiet time begins. I put him down in the darkened room and he falls asleep very quickly. He's asleep when everyone else heads upstairs, and stays asleep when we walk by. When we get up he has been asleep for an hour and a half and is much more cheerful and happy for the rest of the afternoon! The house quiets down when Galen goes to sleep, so I get around 45 minutes of quiet (I sew for 30 minutes and read to the “big kids” for 15 minutes). It's very nice for me and it's nice for Galen!
I am a big fan of naptimes for toddlers, and of “quiet time” even for my bigger kids – it gives everyone a period of the day to rest if they need it. It also teaches children that it's OK to spend some time doing quiet activities, and to be courteous of smaller siblings who still need sleep 🙂