Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The No-Cry Nap Solution

Do we really need an entire book devoted entirely to the subject of naps?

I wouldn't have thought so, until I picked up The No-Cry Nap Solution, by Elizabeth Pantley. After reading the first two chapters describing how important naps are to a child's health, mood, and happiness, I couldn't wait to read on and learn some strategies for helping my daughter hang on to her nap as long as possible.

My little girl is two, and family activities sometimes interfere with her nap time. When this happens, she always makes it through the day and simply falls asleep earlier than usual at night. No big deal, right? Except for one thing: by early evening she is bouncing off the walls.

According to this book, a two-year-old generally can only stay comfortably awake for five to seven hours before biologically craving sleep. Newborn babies can't tolerate more than a couple of hours, while a six-year-old might last all day without needing a rest. The pressure that builds up when children are forced to stay awake longer than their bodies want to is called "homeostatic sleep pressure." Pantley has her own term for it: "The Volcano Effect."

After the first section's practical information on sleep and naps, Part 2 of the book specifically addresses newborn babies. This topic certainly deserves its own section because, as the author points out: "The actions we take with our newborn babies set the stage for good napping habits later."

The remainder of the book comprises Part 3, "Solving Napping Problems: Customized Solutions for Your Family." If you have a nap problem in your household, it is probably addressed here, accompanied by a variety of strategies --not just a "one-size-fits-all" solution--to help you resolve the issue.

As someone who is past the baby stage and whose youngest child takes a good nap almost every day, I didn't find every chapter to be relevant to my life. (Although I must say, this book would have come in awfully handy a few years ago!) Yet, aside from being convinced to protect my daughter's nap time, I was also intrigued by the idea of incorporating a "hush hour" in the afternoon for my older children--and myself. We all have a natural drop in energy in the middle of the day. Maybe instead of fighting it, we should all just retreat to our own quiet corners to rest and rejuvenate for a bit.

Doesn't that sound enticing? Siesta, anyone?


Nichay said...

I am going to get this book. Im going to read it and gift another mom with it. Naps are important for toddlers and their mommies. I don't know how I would get all my floors mopped if little guy didn't take a nap.

Angela said...

yay for naptime! ;)
i just recommended your post to a friend who was just asking advice on this very topic on her blog. you can read her post here:

nannydeprived said...

A nap sounds wonderful! Of course our kids need to nap. How would we nap if they didn't? VERY important to me.