By Brittney Stefanic
As a busy mom, naptime never seems long enough. Between work tasks, house chores, self-care… It always seems like the to do list is never ending!
If you are hoping to get the most out of your child’s naptime, here are three tips that you don’t want to miss if you are trying to elevate your naptime hustle.
Tip 1: Eat when the kiddos eat
If you are currently waiting until naptime to make lunch for yourself, clean up the kitchen, and eat, this is 15 to 30 minutes of valuable “me time” that you could get back. To do this, make your lunch and eat it while your children are eating their lunch or snack. Then, before taking them to their naptime, spend 3 to 5 minutes getting the kitchen picked up. This way when you leave their room your time is actually free.
It might seem like a small change, but this one certainly goes along way. The firs time you try it, you will be shocked at how these extra minutes can really help you get the most out of naptime.
If your children are too young to accomplish eating while they eat, consider meal prepping over the weekend (or a time when you have extra help). Spending time ahead of the busy week days getting meals ready will allow for you to eat more quickly and get other things done during the never long enough naptime hustle!
Tip 2: Decide ahead of time how to spend your break
As busy moms, we have so much in our brain and so many tasks to complete, that we spend at a large chunk of time during our naptime break deciding how to use the time we have. By committing to decide ahead of time, you take out the stress of the decision, know exactly how your break will be spent, and create extra time for that break.
To take this one step further, consider making a list of all the things that you could or want to accomplish during any break from the kids. Then each morning review your list and pick a task or two that feels in alignment for today. It is such a pleasant surprise to realize how much extra time you got when you aren’t spending most of it making the actual choice.
If you struggle from “decision fatigue” or being so sick and tired of making decisions that you simply stop making decisions, this tip is going to be extra helpful!
Tip 3: Create a weekly rotation to fit it all in
Another way to save even more time and to get into a great pattern is to assign different tasks to different days of the week. For example, naptime each Monday could be spent putting away laundry while watching your favorite show. Then naptime on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a dedicated time for you to move your body/exercise. That leaves Wednesdays for scrolling IG and cleaning the bathrooms and Fridays for that extra work meeting.
If this particular list doesn’t feel aligned, make one for yourself! You will find that having a routine like this in place allows for you to not only get more done during each naptime but feel more balanced as well.
What about kids that no longer nap?
If your preschooler is no longer napping, you can still achieve a mid-day break by implementing a quiet time for your child.
To do this, start with short periods of time (10 to 15 minutes) where your child is playing independently in their own room while you take care of a quick task. Once they have been successful with this for a few days, increase the time and celebrate their new skill. Continue to increase until you find the timeframe that works best for your family.
A “quiet time box” is also a helpful tool. This small plastic tub or box can be filled with quiet, cozy, peaceful solo time activities for them to use. Try to find things to enjoy quietly like puzzles, single player games, dolls, LEGO. If you keep this box under their bed or in a closet and use it only during quiet time, you will help to maintain the novelty and excitement of the items in the box. The toys in this box can be things you already have or they can be new things that accumulate over time.
The curse of the short nap
If these three tips for making the most out of naptime is helpful but naps are simply not long enough to actually get anything done, we totally understand. Stay tuned on the blog next month for expert guidance on how to help your child take longer naps so that you can get the most out of naptime.
In the mean time, try out these three tips with the time that you do have and remember that none of us are superheroes. It can often feel like nothing is being accomplished or checked off the list, but at the end of the day we are all simply doing the best we can with the time we have!
Brittney Stefanic is a whole-family certified sleep consultant and founder of Sleeper Teachers®. She is an advocate for sleep education and believes in the power of rest so that families can live their best lives full of health and happiness. Brittney and her team love educating and support families around the world in finding sleep solutions through their customized sleep plans. You can follow the Sleeper Teachers® on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook @sleeperteachers for funny Reels, lots of blogs and frequent sleep Q&A sessions.