Setting a Nap Schedule

Updated on October 09, 2008
M.R. asks from Chantilly, VA
7 answers

Hi All! Looking for some advice re setting a nap schedule. My son is 13 months old and naps regularly at daycare. He has one nap during the day while at daycare. As an aside - I do know that his teacher rocks him to sleep (or rubs his back) and then places him on his cot where he can sleep soundly for up to 2 hours. However, on the weekend his schedule is totally off. We generally get in the car to head to breakfast on an activity around 9am, at which time he will take a short cat-nap. Because of this nap, he does not seem tired or ready for a nap at his weekday nap time. If we try to put him down anytime thereafter - he does not seem tired or will not nap. But, if we get in the car he can sleep for 2 hours. We like the fact that he can sleep in the car because we do not need to structure our weekend around his nap schedule. However, I do not want to get in the car just so he will nap. It does not seem that getting him to nap on the weekends at the same time he naps during the week will work for us because of the cat-nap; is it OK to set a different nap schedule for the weekend? What about no nap schedule? Is it too late to enforce at nap schedule at home now that he is 13 months? We did the whole cry it out thing when he was younger for night time sleep. He will sleep through the night, but has recently regressed a little with putting himself to sleep - might be a cold, teething - not sure. And while he used to wake up babbling - he has recently been waking up and crying out right away - not so sure why this changed either. He did cry himself to sleep last night, after crying himself to vomit. I did not know he vomited until after he was asleep... Sorry to babble - just needed to say all this. Thanks!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Norfolk on

Hi M.,
I hate to tell you this, but if you want him to sleep well at night - he MUST sleep during the day and it is the catnap in the car that is robbing him of his good afternoon nap.

You might want to consider at least one day of the weekend working your schedule around his nap. Your baby has a routine during the week and is probably confused on the weekend without it. He doesn't know when to sleep or eat or play. Feeding him on a fairly regular schedule also helps him take his naps and sleep at night.

I have read LOTS of books on this because my baby refused to sleep at 3.5mos...he is now 10mos and sleeps much better. I recommend you read The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg - I do not take all her advice as gospel, but it gave me a new perspective on how my baby sees things.

Hope this helps.
Liz B



answers from Washington DC on

We didn't have a weekend nap schedule/routine until our daughter hit 1 year. Before that, she cat napped throughout the day and that was the routine in daycare. Until 1 year, the children slept on their schedule. However, at one year, she moved to the toddler room and a one 2-hour nap per day schedule. With the transition to one nap, we found that we had to get her a nap on weekends or she became very grumpy and difficult to get to sleep at night.

Yes, sometimes we go somewhere and she sleeps enough in the car where she doesn't want to sleep in the afternoon. However, I try to get her a nap if she didn't sleep for at least an hour, although I may push it later into the afternoon.

My daughter still nurses and her sleep routine when home is to nurse to sleep. So that is what we do for naps. You just need to create an environment conducive to sleep and let your child follow his normal sleep routine. The routine doesn't need to be set in stone and can flex around your day, but in my experience, an overtired child doesn't sleep well at night.



answers from Norfolk on

Hi there hard working mom -
I read, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child," a life-saver for me. It says a sleep deprived child does not sleep well, which I still find tru at age 3!
My guy wouldn't sleep in the car so that's a wrinkle. Yes, I'm afraid my advise would be to consider the child's nap schedule on the weekends. I know it's hard, but it'll change in about 6 mos. Perhaps go earlier for b-fast - keep him awake! Be home for a nap (maybe that's late morning right now?). Then go somewhere when he wakes up. And, the book and my experience says they need 10-12 hours of sleep at night. Put him to bed earlier if he's not getting that.
My guy went to one nap a day at about 15 mos, and it started early (11:30) and moved to 1pm at age 2. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

I did child care at home and had many different style "nappers". I concluded that unless I follow a well structured time frame - always!, my children will not nap at a structured time frame. Each age requires a certain number of hours for sleep (give or take). It sounds like your child gets his time in the a.m. with the car. If he hasn't had all the time he needs, then give him "required" quiet time where he stays in his crib, or play area, with books, blocks, quiet toys (no battery operated, or loud noise makers) for a set time (a timer that ticks helps him know when it's over and during the time, that it is still "quiet time").
It also sounds like the day care nap time isn't his choice of time because they give him so much time and attention to the falling asleep stage, no independence.
The crying out when he wakes up is a different issue, of which I understand very little.



answers from Washington DC on

What time does your son get up in the morning? If he is falling asleep on the way to breakfast, then you are waiting too long to leave in the morning or he is not getting enough sleep at night. We learned with our son that if we waited more than an hour to leave to do something in the morning, then he would fall asleep. The car is jus to lulling. The good news is, as he gets closer to two he will be able to stay awake for short car trips (about 25 minutes or less). If he takes a cat nap, then you need to do something very active to wear him down. Go to a playground, play chase around the house, if the weather is bad some malls have indoor play areas. We schedule our weekend activities around nap time. If we go somewhere we try to make the trip too or back at nap time. The other thing you need to do is establish a naptime routine. My son has only been taking a scheduled nap for about 4 months and he knows the drill. All I have to do is tell him it is nap time and he takes my hand and leads me to his room. We change his diaper, read three books, turn out the light and turn on the sound machine. We say "it's time for lights out, crawl into bed," and he does. Now I have always co-slept with my son, so I lay with him until he falls alseep. It only took about 1 1/2 weeks for him to get the routine down. Some days it takes longer for him to fall alseep, I just firmly tell hime that we won't be leaving the room until he takes a nap and wait, eventually he falls asleep.

Good luck, naps are important. Not just for your son, but for you too. Sleeping is where your son does a lot of his developement physical and cognitive.



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the other posts - I also LOVE The Baby Whisperer! It worked wonders for both our kids who are now 3 and 2. Some of her advice I don't agree with, but she's spot-on with the sleep info.

Life is hard with a one year old, in fact I think it's harder to deal with the year between their first and second birthday than when they are infants! It is great that you are taking him to do things and involving him in activities on the weekends. Just remember that babies and toddlers have the same sleep requirements regardless of whether it's Saturday or Tuesday. Sleep begets sleep, so his nap is very important for his night time sleep as well as his general mood. As he gets older, it may not be such a drastic issue of a late or missed nap on a rare occasion. Remember, sleep is essential to a baby's growth and developement. It's just as important as healthy food and love from the family.

Hang in there, Mama - this is just a short phase and it will be over all too quickly! Just enjoy this slower pace of life right now :)

Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

It is a pain, but children really thrive on schedules. In a sense, you are luck that he is at a day care that works to put him down for a nap rather than letting him cry in a crib.
Please don't be offended, because this is only my opinion, but I think making sure your son gets the sleep he needs to be healthy and grow, is something that should be a high priority. It doesn't mean you can't do anything on the weekend, perhaps you could try planning around it. If we don't want my daughter to have cat nap in the car that will ruin her nap, one of us will ride in the back with her. It is excited to her to have a parent to babble to, and we still get a good nap in later. It is awesome that he will take a full nap in the car for you too. I think this is just another one of the sacrifices you have to make as a parent, but the good news is that it isn't forever. Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches