How to Maximize your Child's Nap Time for You
Updated: Dec 13, 2022
Ahh naptime. As a mom, that time when our children are sleeping during the day is so valuable. It’s just as critical for us to reset and restore and it is for our children. But it just never seems to be long enough, right?
As a stay-at-home mom who is also working to build my own business, I’ve really honed in on how to maximize this time for myself. This is highly valuable time for me - it’s not time to clean, to cook, to fold laundry. It’s time to focus on what will provide me value so that I can be present and engaged when my baby wakes up.
Here’s my advice on how to best use your child’s nap time for YOU.
1. What is your #1 non-negotiable thing to do each day. Mine is having a shower. I know it sounds basic. Before having kids, I would never have considered taking a shower each day to be a luxury. But no matter how chaotic the day is with my kids, this is the one thing I need for myself. It’s non negotiable.
2. Figure out what activities provide you with the most value and what cannot be done when your child is awake. This can be different from one person to the next. What do you most look forward to doing when you have time to yourself? Is there anything else you want or need to do that you absolutely cannot do when your child is awake. Some examples of things that could have high personal value during nap time could include:
Taking a nap
Reading a book
Sitting in the sun and meditating
Writing in a journal
Taking a shower
3. Think about things you’re doing during naptime that could actually be done with your child when they’re awake. Is there anything you’re spending your time doing when your child is napping that isn’t high value to you? For me, it’s folding the laundry. It needs to be done, but I just don’t want to use that highly valuable time to do something like folding the laundry. So I consciously plan to fold the laundry while I’m taking care of my kids after school - they might pull the clothes out of the laundry basket and make the laundry basket a race car. At the end of the day, they’re occupied and I’m getting this task done. But I’m not letting it intrude on my highly valuable naptime.
Here’s some examples of things that could have less personal value and creative ways to do them while your child is awake (notice how some of these were also listed above - high value activities can vary from one mom to another)
Read a book. Perhaps you have to read a book for a class but you don’t want that to eat up all of your valuable naptime minutes. Another option is to listen to the audio version of the book while you’re taking your baby for a walk.
Workout. You could try to do a home work out class while your baby is doing tummy time or sitting with some toys next to you. Include them in the workout as an extra weight!
Cook dinner. Put your baby’s high chair next to you in the kitchen. Put on some playful songs and have your baby play with tupperware containers.
Take a shower. For younger babies, put them in a bouncy seat for ten minutes and do some faces at them through a clear shower curtain.
You get the idea. You may top be creative, but when you really think about it and plan for it, there are so many more things you can do with your child when they are awake.
Lastly... Don’t rush in when they wake. If your child wakes from their nap and they seem happy and content in their crib, leave them for ten minutes! This gives you ten more minutes to yourself with the added benefit of reinforcing to your child that their bed and their bedroom is a safe and comfortable place to be.
If you're struggling with the length and/or quality of your child's naps and daytime schedule, let's connect! Let's get a plan in place to restore their naps and get you the time that you need during the day as well.