I reached the point of summer bliss. I have two boys old enough to have fun, sans nap, for a full summer day. It took us years to get here. Oh what fun we can have!
Except that baby sister of theirs throwing a monkey wrench into our summer adventure plans.
Babies and their nap schedules can really be a snooze-fest for summer afternoons your children might prefer to be romping and stomping through pools and parks and more. I’ve found a few ways to survive based on our experiences last summer with a one-a-day napper.
Make your outing in the evening. Or the early morning hours. I have really come to enjoy this. Often people don’t arrive as soon as gates open. And people with younger children often leave by late afternoon, which can sometimes open up space at whatever attraction you visit. Allow babe to nap and pack a picnic dinner! Another perk? You aren’t out in the heat of the day.
Trade time with a friend. Perhaps your friend can come over and catch up on a book or some Netflix while you take your (and his or her) kiddo(s) on an adventure. Trade for another day when they take your kid and you stay home with the napper. Everyone wins!
Give up the nap. This is a realistic, practical option for those who are almost to that place where babe naps only once or not at all each day. Maybe you spend a lot of effort getting babe to nap because you need it just as much as him or her. Perhaps for the summer, embrace the milestone transition. Settle for the 15-minute car nap and a little grump at dinner.
Move naptime. If you can pull the nap back and hour or push it back (or both), perhaps you can build in enough time for an outing or activity in between sleeps. If you do mess with nap times, start now-- if you can-- so the change is gradual and (one can always hope) a little easier on everyone).
Embrace a new sleep schedule. Consider the perks of babes sleeping in during summer or waking up earlier. Playing with nap time can do that to a kid, so also adjust your others. If you dig that quiet start or end to the day, work toward getting all the kiddos to sleep or wake around the same time. If you crave some one-on-one time with your kiddos, having some stay up later and some sleep in later may allow for exactly that.
Choose far-off destinations. Choose the park one hour away if you have a little gas money in your pocket. Go for a scenic trip to a new spot on the other side of town. Maybe everyone will take a snooze after a long afternoon in the heat.
Baby carrier for the win. Enough said.
Also consider a baby sleeper you can take with you, like a stroller, moses carrier, and so on. Not all babies are willing to sleep in strange surroundings, but some parents get lucky!
Bring the fun home. If your kids crave the pool every day, grab some water guns and water activities from the store and stay home.
Lynette is a mom of three children from ages 2 to 6. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.