Sleep is a beautiful thing, an important thing. In our home, we put a lot of time and effort into helping our two children develop good sleep habits. Through this, we’ve learned that our little ones are at their best when they are rested. That means a good night’s sleep is important, as is a good day’s rest.
Our daughter turned six years old this past May. She’ll be starting 1st grade this year and she still takes naps. Not every day, of course, but when she needs one she’ll take one without any hesitation.
And yes, sometimes she does still need one.
Our daughter requires sleep to be at her best. We learned this very early on in her life. When she is behind on her sleep, nothing goes well. An overtired girl means an over-dramatic, emotional, angry and even rude girl. Add hunger to that mix and it’s a recipe for disaster. Ever heard the word ‘Hangry?’ It’s a real thing.
When we tell her that we think it would be a good idea for her to take a nap, she doesn’t even argue with us about it. She knows when she needs one; it’s like she can feel it. She understands why it would be a good idea for her to nap and she knows she is going to feel so much better after she wakes up.
During the school year, we have to be up and out the door around 7:00 in the morning.
So, there’s no sleeping in. And it’s clearly not possible for her to take a nap during the week while she’s at school, so she’ll catch up on her sleep by taking a nap on the weekends. Sometimes she naps on Saturday, sometimes on Sunday, sometimes even both. It just depends on what we have going on.
We also have a very firm bedtime during the school year. We do this so she can get a good amount of sleep at night in hopes of preventing her from becoming too overtired. Our daughter is very involved in extracurricular activities and the majority of these activities take place in the evenings. This sometimes prevents her from getting to bed on time.
So, in order for her to stay rested, there are nights when she doesn’t have activities that she may be in bed even earlier than her designated bedtime. That extra sleep at night is important when she isn’t able to get it during the day.
During the summer months, there are later nights than normal with a much more flexible bedtime.
I mean, it’s summer! Chasing fireflies and riding your bike until dark are a must! But when you have a 1½-year-old little brother who is more of an early riser, there’s really no such thing as sleeping in.
After a few days of late nights and early mornings, though, the lack of sleep really caught up to her. So after lunch, when her brother went down for his nap, she took one too. Sometimes she’d sleep for 1½ hours and sometimes she’d sleep for as long as 3 hours.
But no matter what, she always wakes up happier.
I’m proud of her for knowing that her body needs sleep to be at her best. Honestly, if I could take a nap more often I would. Maybe she and I can reverse roles when she gets old enough to tackle the laundry and the dishes. Ha!