I let our son nap during the day... AIBU?

(68 Posts)
dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 03:30:23

My darling wife is angry with me... She does not appreciate my allowing our 3 year old son to nap or sleep as he wishes during the day. He regularly wakes during the night and has a habit of crawling into bed with us. My partner finds these disturbances intolerable and blames my allowing DC to nap during the day.

Recently I was upset to find DW cajoling our son into staying awake... DC does not take kindly to having his kip disturbed and the situation escalated into something uncomfortable rapidly. I insisted that his napping during the day has nothing to do with his not sleeping at night and she accused me of not caring about her welfare and making her out to be the bad guy... I honestly believe that forcing him to stay awake against his will during the day is not the way sort out his night sleeping issues. Watching her doing it makes me uncomfortable.

Am I being unreasonable to allow our son to sleep as he pleases? Is there a link between napping during the day and not sleeping through the night? I don't want DW to feel like I'm not on her side here. I understand that she needs to be able to get a proper nights rest. My standard response to our sons incursions into our bed is to take him back to his own and stay with him until he falls asleep again. I am writing this now having just seen him off to sleep again. I don't believe cajoling him into staying awake during the day is the answer, besides which it doesn't work and DC inevitably finds someplace to catch 40 winks whilst DW is looking the other way...

MrsMushroom Wed 30-Jan-13 08:33:53

why were you "upset" to find her "cajoling him into staying awake" I did that with both of mine. They're fine.

Groovee Wed 30-Jan-13 08:36:29

How old is your son?

Both my children gave up their naps at 20 months. Dd was fine and slept all night, ds was a mare and didn't sleep until he was 3 and a half. But I did find if he slept during the day he did sleep better at night.

Flobbadobs Wed 30-Jan-13 10:23:25

At this age one good nap will be far more beneficial to him than a few little naps. Maybe an hour late morning/early afternoon, same time each day if possible.

OxfordBags Wed 30-Jan-13 10:50:36

I've read a LOT of books about children's sleep, thanks to my DS, and I can tell you that however varied the advice out there can be, the one thing every one I have read has advised is that 'sleep begets sleep', ie that children who get a refreshing nap in the day sleep better at night.

You know as an adult that if you are exhausted you often paradoxically sleep worse than if you're merely relaxed at bedtime, as exhaustion means your body has been stressing itself to stay awake all day and will therefore keep trying to stress itself through the night.

Your Dw sounds like she might be depressed. Lack of sleep can make you feel desperate and hopeless, but she sounds like she's not thinking things through from a very considered place (we've all been there, mind!). Or is this one issue becoming a 'stand-in' for other problems in your relationship, ie instead of arguing about problems between the two of you, you're focusing on this nap issue as the problem? You also need to look at the depression possibility and the relationship thing.

Yfronts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:10:24

Well my 2 year old son has just given up his day time nap and now goes to bed really easily at 6.30pm and sleeps though till 7.30am as a result.

He always used to nap during the day and would go to bed too late in the evening as a result.

How old is your child? How many naps does he have? What times?

If he is under 1 then I think your wife just needs to accept things as babies tend to be like that. Most toddler just have one sleep at lunch time. That is the norm as far as I know. It would be OK to shorten this sleep if it meant he sleeps better at night. Also avoid late afternoon naps.

As an adult, if I sleep during the day, I need less sleep at night.

Maybe you could both compromise and agree a plan to move forward.

Yfronts Wed 30-Jan-13 11:14:09

Also it might just be that your toddler is in the habit of coming through during the night. He probably needs reassurance and has woken between sleep cycles.

Could you sleep on your child's floor for a few days so that he gets into the habit of staying in bed.

It is hard going and sleep deprivation is torture!

I personally find that a day time nap helps night time sleeping as being overtired bad sleep. Having said that ds1 napped until he was 4, went to nursery afternoon sessions then so couldn't nap but still regularly napped at weekends until he was 5 and sometimes still does occasional days at weekends at nearly 6. He could nap until 5 and still go to bed at 8 no probs. ds2 is 2 and if he's not woken by 3 he will not go to sleep until 9-10, he doesn't get up but I still can't relax until he's asleep so make sure he's awake by 3.

I am a childminder and have had several children who in my opinion needed a daytime nap and would regularly fall asleep eating lunch with me but I was told by parents they weren't allowed one. I have found this hard to deal with but I do my best to do as parents request. I also have one little boy who naps with me but fights his mum one days he's home and is then a problem at bedtime so really all children are different. 3 is the time when naps often start to disappear but it depends if he's 36 months or 46 months, makes a big difference.

Lafaminute Wed 30-Jan-13 11:24:37

If my 3 year old sleeps for 10 minutes it will be HOURS after his usual bedtime before he finally falls asleep. I'm with your wife I'm afraid and while I would do anything to keep my ds entertained and awake during the day DH would let him sleep so he can watch tv/doze himself

blackeyedsusan Wed 30-Jan-13 11:25:25

ds would sleep anyhere. ther was no keeping him awake if he wanted to sleep. he used to lay across 2 toy boxes, or two pieces of furniture, or on the floor, under the computerr... in the washing... leaaning over a dining chair...leaning half on the sofa... can't see howw you are going to keep him awake all daay grin

a lunch time nap worked best. he sometimes beat me to the nap in bed to sleeping on the floor... [eyeroll]

Rikalaily Wed 30-Jan-13 11:35:43

All four of mine have napped in the day, my 2.5yr old has dropped most naps now like the others did at her age but they started napping again after starting nursery (morning sessions) age 3. If they need a nap I let them, I find they go to bed easier and sleep better if they have had a nap during the day. If they didn't have a nap it would turn afternoons/dinnertime into hell, cranky, whining, crying, too tired to eat then tantrum when trying to settle them to sleep.

They all napped around lunchtime and had one or two hours.

KenLeeeeeee Wed 30-Jan-13 12:11:43

DD is 4 and still naps some days. However, if her nap is any later than 1pm, she is beastly at bedtime & up through the night. If she naps in the morning, she's lovely for the rest of the day but ready to go to bed around 7:30 & usually sleeps through. If she doesn't nap at all, she's overtired & grouchy by bedtime & much harder to settle to sleep.

YANBU to want to let him nap, but work with your wife to find the optimum time for him to snooze.

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 12:58:45

quote: * Your Dw sounds like she might be depressed.*

... hmm his wife is trying to not let the child nap, because she wants to try and get DS to sleep through the night... and that makes her depressed?! I think she's probably just spoken to friends who have suggested that she doesn't let him nap during the day... would seem a good thing to try if the DS is 3?

We've all "cajoled" at times- i.e. on long drives sung a rousing "heads, shoulders, knees and toes!"

dadadadadadadadaBATMAN Wed 30-Jan-13 13:03:24

Excuse the poor grammar and spelling, I was up much of the night dealing with DS who woke up on three occasions. I deal with the all the night time activity of both our children. This does not however prevent DW from being disturbed by random invasions of our bedroom by DS. She is a sensitive sleeper and works extremely long hours so I feel it's best to deal with nocturnal activity.

Honestly it doesn't bother me that much. I'd rather spend hours awake in the middle of the night with our children than have to work the kind of hours she does. He naps between 30-90 min and hardly ever does so after 3pm. I let him do it because he seems genuinely tired. It often occurs after he's been particularly active or when he is poorly. Some people have suggested keeping a record of his napping and sleeping patterns; which is something I'm going to try doing for the next month or so.

When they are poorly I sleep on a single mattress on the floor in their room since a coughing or crying child is guaranteed to wake DW. When they were very small I slept when they slept and this worked out okay (if a little bit erratic) DW thought this was folly but I found it to be the only way to het enough sleep to function. In every other respect DW is brilliant with them but she gets so angry with them over the sleep thing. it upsets me. I get angry with them too but I try not to let it descend to forcing my will upon them. If I can't talk it out or con them into my way of doing things I don't like bullying them into it. DW has a slightly different philosophy I guess. Maybe she's right. We are their PARENTS and maybe it's our job to force our will upon them every now and then... but shouldn't that kinda action be reserved for perhaps more important stuff? I've got to go collect DS from playgroup now. I have a feeling he'll want a nap when he gets in. Thank you all very much for advice/support

NUFC69 Wed 30-Jan-13 13:13:06

Nothing to add to the advice, but thought you might find the following interesting: I started school aged 5 in the 1950s - beds were actually provided for us to have an after lunch nap! We all lay down, but can't remember how long for!

PPT Wed 30-Jan-13 13:30:23

What do you mean by bullying?

OP You sounds like a lovely Dad by the way.

acceptableinthe80s Wed 30-Jan-13 17:38:36

Lots of conflicting advice for you OP.
As you can see some children sleep better with a nap, some without which is why I suggested a sleep diary.
Sounds like you're a Sahp and do the night wakenings so I would say it's your call. Can your dw not wear earplugs?

hippo123 Wed 30-Jan-13 17:58:47

My dd will be 3 in a few months and for ages now if she has even a 20 minute nap she is a Nightmare going to bed, up and down until 9/10 pm. I think as your ds is not a great sleeper I would give your dw's way a go to see if things improve. My ds was still sleeping for 2 hours at 3 though and 12 hours at night.

OverlyYappyAlways Wed 30-Jan-13 18:05:52

My DS1 had a nap every day until nursery he started there at around 3 or 4, he went mornings to begin with and had a nap afterwards. He stopped naps when he started school.

DS2 was a horrific sleeper, I think he still had a small nap during the day.

You sound like a saint compared to my ex !

I can understand your DW, I think, even though she is not getting up, perhaps she could get some ear plugs? Maybe cut the nap back a bit but your DC sound like my DS2, he just liked to wake frequently during the night.

He stopped when he started school. Thankfully.

Springdiva Wed 30-Jan-13 20:12:08

I am an insomniac and had two DDs 16 months apart who shared a room.I would go ballistic if one woke, in case they woke the other, and no way was anyone getting into my bed. So I would do the usual drinks of water, turn the landing light on/off, close/open the bedroom door or whatever they did to call me upstairs. But after a bit I would hit the roof. Anyway they then slept well and always have. There's no need for DCs to get up and get into DP's bed imv.

rattling Wed 30-Jan-13 20:59:04

For me the issue is whether she is "cajoling" or "forcing" him to stay awake - the former is fine, the latter not so much. I have one son who wasn't napping at 3, but dreadful at sleeping overnight. His twin brother could go well over 2 hours during the day till quite recently (3.8 now) and sleep all night too - keeping him up meant him sobbing through dinner and screaming by bedtime.

It also sounds from your second post that he doesn't sleep every day? So it isn't a habit, it is a need and is likely going to decrease over the next few months (though that is only from my experience - you will have noticed from the responses that all children are different).

maninawomansworld Fri 01-Feb-13 08:49:57

From your original post it appears that you are at home during the day so I'm guessing you're a SAHD and your wife goes out to work?
If that is the case then she is being completely reasonable, If she's out working while you do childcare then she has every right to expect to get a full nights sleep before work the next day. If you choose to let the child sleep during the day then you need to take whatever measures you need to in order to ensure that when the inevitible waking during the night occurs that your DW is not disturbed so she can wake in the morning ready for work. That's the deal when you shoose to be a stay at home parent - one earns the money the other sorts the kids and runs the house. I too find kids crawling into my bed maddening, they stay there for approx 0.00000001 nanoseconds before being firmly sent back to their own room. My bed is my bed!

mrsjay Fri 01-Feb-13 08:54:48

MY dd slept in the afternoon till she was 4 the girl could sleep on a knives edge grin some kids need a nap , your W is being U some kids don't sleep well and id rather a child naps during the day because a wound up over tired child is a nightmare

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 01-Feb-13 09:36:04

My DD only gave up her nap a few months before she started school at age 4. I was actually worried that she wouldn't manage without when she started school although she was OK. My DS is just coming up to 3 and he still has around 90 mins nap each day and will go for 2 hours if left. Their bedtime is generally around 7.45pm so not very late. I was happy for this to happen as it does mean a break for me in the day which I would have gone crazy without, especially in winter where they are indoors so much. They usually sleep through the night though so I think they just need a bit more sleep than average.

I certainly think that a 30-90 min nap before 3pm is quite a sensible pattern for a 3 year old. Having said that the fact that your DS's sleep is not great at night is more of an issue I guess. If he is still disturbed at night even when he hasn't napped then the nap is making no difference and I'd just carry on with it. If he does sleep better at night with no nap then I guess your DW may have a point. You could perhaps try some quiet time for him where he goes to his room with books or a puzzle and rests. But be warned my DD used to do that and then would be found fast asleep on the bed smile

I also agree with the point about testing out different lengths of naps. I've heard 45 mins is supposed to be good to refresh them without affecting nighttime sleep but my two have always needed more...

CaurnieBred Fri 01-Feb-13 12:42:12

If your wife is a sensitive sleeper, then buy her some of these. I too am a sensitive sleeper and they work a treat.

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