Family time is fun but disrupted naps are hell
Summer is coming and we are all looking forward to the family BBQs and summer nights. But for parents with young children this poses a few challenges, the biggest being nap time. Naps are necessary for young children and their timing is crucial. They can not be easily manipulated for a one-off event which can cause stress for parents. When planning your summer cookouts (and inviting small children) remember: family time is fun but disrupted naps are hell.
The Importance of Naps
It’s no secret that babies and young children need sleep. How often and for how long will depend on a number of factors, including their age. But the reasons naps are important do not change. Naps provide:
- downtime for growth.
- energy for mental and physical development.
- better dispositions/moods.
- the basis for better overnight sleep.
- a break for parents/caregivers.
Where Should Baby Nap?
The same guidelines that apply to bedtime sleep apply to nap time as well. This means that, ideally, baby should be sleeping:
- in their own space.
- on their back.
- swaddled (if age appropriate).
- on a firm, flat surface.
- without stuffed animals, pillows, or loose blankets.
While nobody is denying that naps sometimes occur in the car seat while driving, this is not ideal. In addition to sleeping in a car seat not being an optimal sleep position, sleep while in constant motion (such as in a car, swing, etc) is not restorative. So a 45 minute car nap is not the same as a 45 minute nap in the crib or bassinet. Napping in the car can throw off baby’s entire sleep routine for the day, making bedtime an absolute nightmare!
Plan Your Event as Normal
Parents of young children are not expecting you to plan your get together or cookout around their baby’s nap schedule! They just ask that you are understand of the fact that they may show up a little late or with a portable crib so their baby can sleep and be the most enjoyable version of themselves.
Remember, naps are for the benefit of the child, above all. Coming late to an event because of nap time is not a selfishly-driven decision; it is based off what the parent has come to know is best for their child. And as a benefit of the parent respecting their child’s sleep needs, you will get to enjoy a happier child at your family event.