Getting your child on a sleep schedule is a process that includes a lot of effort and time. Parents are understandably defensive of sticking to the schedule that they have invested so much into creating. Sometimes our plans for the day get derailed unexpectedly. Other times, we go into days knowing we can’t stick to our schedule if we want to take part in plans we can’t control. Once you have a solid foundation in place with your child sleeping, you can become more flexible. You have to think about the long game with sleep training.
Stages of Napping
3+ NAPS A DAY
Newborns take multiple naps a day. This is when it is easiest for your child to sleep on the go. You can get away with doing more outside of the home during this stage than in the ones to follow. Try to plan car rides, stroller rides, or baby wearing during nap times so that they can fall asleep as close to schedule as possible.
2 NAPS A DAY
Once your little one gets to the two naps a day stage, they tend to be naps that are at fixed times. Usually these naps take place with one being in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is the stage that can feel like it is the hardest to leave the house.
You can either bump the morning nap a little earlier or the afternoon nap a little later. Shifts in the schedule can allow for your child to still get some of the sleep their body expects and keeps them somewhat in sync with their schedule. If you need to start the afternoon nap late, it helps if you are able to let their first nap run a little longer than usual. Another option is to plan car rides during naptime in hopes of your child sleeping during the drive.
1 NAP A DAY
When children bump down to one nap a day, it typically is a midday nap. This can be challenging but if you have fostered a reliable sleep schedule, you can be flexible. Depending on the time of your plans, you can either shift this midday nap to a morning or an afternoon nap. You can plan on also shifting bedtime accordingly to avoid situations like being overtired or not tired enough.
Napping On The Go
Remember that you also may have options like napping where you go. Plan on bringing any objects needed to make this possible like a noise machine, pack n play, etc. You can also leave a little earlier than needed to allow for extra time to sleep in the car.