The time has come – my daughter did not nap for the first time. Not even sure what word should follow this sentence, but surely it calls for many, many exclamation marks!

Well, it was an odd week. First, we had a horrendous rotavirus for a few days, both me and her (more exclamation marks!!!). When the worst was over, Ally was catching up on sleep like a champ. Given the circumstances, we relaxed many schedule rules and altogether Ally was clocking in about 2h more sleep than she normally does.

And then it happened – after a really late start of the day I put my girl to bed for the nap, only to watch her on the monitor singing, playing with her doggy and doing a bit of yoga for the next couple of hours. It’s actually nothing that unusual for her age (she was 2y4m5d on The Day, not that I’m detail oriented…), yet the first time always catches us by surprise!

What to do when it happens and /or becomes a recurring thing? Here are a few simple rules for the parents of nap-droppers:

1) Keep offering the nap at the usual time. Toddlers still need to rest in the middle of the day and staying in bed in a quiet bedroom, even if not sleeping, gives them the necessary cut-off from the busy world. If sleep is not in the house after 90 minutes – nap time is over.

2) If they fight going to bed in the first place, stop calling it nap time, call it quiet time, it works better with older toddlers and pre-schoolers. They should ideally stay undisturbed in their (safe!) bedroom for an least 1 hour and play with quiet toys (maybe even special toys, taken out only at this time?). If they choose to, they can fall asleep, but no pressure.

3) The rule of all rules – on no-nap days, make sure to bump that bedtime earlier, to compensate the loss of the nap. Otherwise you may experience some loss of sleep yourself – with your overtired no-napper waking in the night and starting the day at 5am. I wouldn’t take the risk!

Oh naps… You fight for them, eventually get to enjoy them, then get annoyed when you wish you had the freedom to go wherever you want at 1pm on a sunny Sunday…! And when they’re gone, you miss them more than anything else. Here’s to naps, the sanity savers, long may they last!