The one thing that is always hit and miss with our little guys routine is naps. He goes through periods where he will nap daily then he’ll refuse a nap for sometimes weeks. Obviously tired kids are not fun kids. Elijah for one becomes more emotional and prone to tantrums when he’s tired so we try anyway to get him to nap.
We try and keep to routine as much as we can. We try and serve meals and snacks the same time everyday and we try to teach Elijah that bedtime is no later then 7pm no matter the time of the year. Only on very special occasions is he aloud to stay up later such as family visits but even then he still goes to bed no later then 8. I think keeping routines have allowed him to decide whether he needs a nap or not and the length he sleeps at night somewhat allows him to be rested regardless.
Sometimes I find that Elijah sleeps better when I notice signs he’s tired. He gets cuddly, he wants to cuddle his teddies and he goes quiet. I’ll ask him if he wants a nap and of course he’ll always say no but I say let’s try. I take him to his room and tuck him in as I always do and leave him to it. He’ll normally sing to himself for a while and give up and sleep but if he doesn’t he’ll just cry and I’ll give up and we try again later. I find he naps better in late morning about 10:30 instead of the afternoon I think he gets too much energy from playing all morning and doesn’t want to stop when I try in afternoon. He also ends up napping to long in afternoons and then is more awake at bedtimes. I try not to force him to nap as I myself don’t like to nap so why would he. I find he’ll go in his buggy sometimes to sleep but I try to avoid naps in buggy when I can if he happens to fall asleep while I’m mooching round town then that’s great I get to drink my coffee in peace!
I find that Gina fords parenting books have been very good with helping me learn schedules for little ones. It has helped when he was littler to get routines which in turn I think helped him sleep through the night. We’ve had routines basically since he went in his room at 6 months old. Some may say it was too early but Elijah didn’t mind and also slept better. I think we woke him up more and he’s always been quite a independent kid in that sense. One day the naps will stop altogether but we look forward to each and every developmental stage as it comes. We know sleep is important now so try our best to keep Elijah in a routine and let him guide us. So long as he’s healthy and happy and sleeping okay we’re more than happy when he doesn’t want to nap even if it requires us parents having a few extra caffeinated drinks a day!