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Juggling two different nap schedules

Naps!  They can be so important for a little person's routine.  An urbanMama recently emailed, wanting to know how other urbanMamas may have juggled two different nap schedules:

I am wondering if anyone has an strategy's for dealing with 2 kids with 2 separate nap schedules??  If the baby is 6 months and taking a morning and afternoon nap, and the toddler is taking a nap right after lunch when do we ever leave the house? There is just one parent or nanny home with the 2 kids.  How do we ever get the toddler out to do fun things if the younger one needs to be in their crib seemingly all of the time?  Am I missing something?


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Honestly, I was just talking with the pediatrician about this yesterday, and my comment, which made her smile, was that the second child seems to be getting the shaft. In a perfect world, he would nap around 9 for about 45 min, then have his second nap while big brother has his afternoon nap. But, it's not a perfect world, so some days it works and others it doesn't. We have preschool 2 days a week, and little brother usually naps on the fly, then settles in for a not as restful afternoon nap later on. Then there are dr appts, and yes, fun stuff for big brother. All that being said, it works for us because I have an absolutely laid back, mellow second child. This may not be your case. At 6 months though, they should be able to nap in a stroller or carrier (mine passes out on walks in the ergo).

I was in a similar situation with my kiddos (19 months apart). I kept my toddlers nap time consistent (and used the time to nurse the baby) and tried to let the baby nap in the infant car seat while we were out (in the car, snapped into the stroller, etc.). I think it would have all worked out if she actually napped (unfortunatly she was a colicky/reflux/generally angry baby who cried all day/night and NEVER slept).

I would still go out during at least one of the baby's nap times and see if they will sleep in the stroller/carrier (as Charlene mentioned).

Good luck! Some day they may be synchronized!

Well, I am still not sure how it happened, but somehow I got my second child on the first child's nap schedule when she was around 5 months. The little one hated to go down in the morning anyway because her sister didn't have to. They are now three and a half and one and a half and both nap from 12-2ish and have since the little one was 5mo. I am not sure how it all happened, but it is fabulous because then we can do our morning activities and our afternoon with only one nap time midday. My pediatrician said that as long as the younger one was getting the proper hours of sleep per day (which she was), it was fine. I would give you tips on how to do it, but I was so out of it trying to juggle a new baby and a 2 year old, I don't remember any of it!

Same as previously mentioned for me. My boys are 20 months apart, currently 3 and 23 months old. The baby's afternoon nap and the toddler's only nap currently fall at the same time (or I make them.) :) The baby's morning nap(s) usually happen while we are running around or doing things. He sleeps in his car seat, the Moby or Ergo, the stroller, etc. Like Charlene said, I feel like my youngest is getting the shaft, because I never left the house when it was my oldest kid's naptimes and I wonder if that's why he's such a great sleeper. All I did was focus on him getting quality sleep during nights and naps. Baby #2 has to adjust a bit more. Good luck!

I would recommend going out after the older child wakes and having the younger child fall asleep in the stroller or carrier, especially if this isn't going to be an every day occurrence. That way the toddler still gets some adventuring.

I have the same problem with my two kids. My first is almost 3 and the 2nd is 8 mo. But in contrast to what others have said in this thread, I think that keeping nap times consistent and in the crib at home is more important than getting out. So, between the two nap schedules, we don't get out that much. When we do go, they tend to be on short, simple trips such as the backyard, down the street to the park, or the library. This seems to work fine for my kids, and they sleep great, both during the day and at night.

So, my suggestion would be to reframe what you think of as "getting out." For a toddler, I don't think they have to be elaborate trips to the zoo, Children's Museum, etc, to be fun and to provide some variety to the day.

Also, while my younger one is napping, I use that time to really focus on my toddler and play games we can't play when the little one is around. For example, I designed an obstacle course in our basement that we run around on rainy days. It basically consists of stairs, pillows, a big exercise ball, and a step stool to hop over. We turn on music and pretend we're trains, etc. This allows my older one to get some of the energy out.

We also do more trips (like the library and grocery store) in the later afternoon, after 4p when the older one wakes up. Both seem to like this, as it can be a grouchy time of day, anyway, and by then we are all ready for a change of scenery.

We save our big outings (Sauvie Island, zoo, etc) for the weekends, when one parent can take the toddler out on his own. That gives him quality time away from his baby sister, too.

I have a one year old and a two year old, the one year old goes down for a morning nap (9), and the toddler stays up. They both go down for an afternoon nap (3-4)...then mama can work from home for a few hours! The only time we get out is between 12 and 3! You gotta do what you gotta do...the last thing mama needs is a cranky baby!

When I was in that situation the baby took a morning nap around 9am, I had both kids awake from approx 10-12 so that is when we would go out to the park, on errands, etc, and then they both napped in the early afternoon (ideally at the same time!). Late afternoon was another possible time for outings. My kids are early birds, so the baby was ready for a first nap pretty early. I agree with SJ about keeping nap times consistent and generally at home. After about 4-5 months neither of my kids slept well out and about in the stroller, ergo, etc. I'm sure some of that depends on the baby's temperament and flexibility. Although I sometimes really needed to get out of the house/neighborhood, my toddler was usually quite happy to stay around the house and yard, especially if I was able to give her lots of attention during the baby's nap.

my children are 21 months apart and them getting good naps and sleep has always been a pretty big priority to me. I like routines and they seem to function the best that way. But at the same time, I really liked getting out of the house. It was tough at times, but I put the younger one down from 9 till 11am and I put them both down at 2pm. It was tough at first pushing the older one's nap back a few hours, but it worked well, giving us from 11 till 2 to play (we just had to pack at lunch). It didn't seem like much, but at least they were napping at the same time and we could get out of the house without skipping a nap. AND, it doesn't last too long (although it feels like it) before the younger one will be taking just one nap as well. We probably pushed for that a little bit early (around 16 months). Now they both sleep from about 1 till 3. Good luck! Naps at the same time are awesome and worth trying to figure out:-)

A post-script to my earlier post...when my youngest was 9 months old, we transitioned her to one longer mid-day nap like her older brother (who was 2). Ever since they have both taken a single nap at the same time every day (around 12:30pm-2:00pmish) and also sleep well at night (from around 7:30pm-6:00am).

Having the same nap schedule is really convinient, and also frees up time luxeries like taking a shower and finally folding that load of laundry! ;)

We only go out after both have napped during the week this is usually 3:30-4pm. We do short trips week days park, library etc. and weekends longer trips and hikes. Since my kids also get up at 5:30 am we are able to get out of the house in the warm summer month and go to the park, walk etc before the 1st am nap.

I tend to be protective of my kids naps (15 months and 3 years old). So at times I do feel locked in the house for 4 hours a day. What I've done is found a number of activities/places that start early - like OMSI at 9 am. I take the kids out together from 9 - 10:30. Then we go through out nap cycles. Although it can be exhausting, I try to make the one-on-one time special. Weather it's bug hunting with my 3 year old outside in the rain, or dancing and singing with my 15 month old. It all works.

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