I'm starting to learn as a mom that life is full of transistions. Just when you think you have a phase figured out, it passes and then you're onto something else.
Nap time has always been sacred in our house. Since Dylan was tiny, he has taken an afternoon nap, no questions asked. He's always been a good sleeper, so this nap is usually about three hours long...always has been, usually still is. When Ella came along, I got her right in on this routine and she takes a pretty good nap every afternoon too. I use this chunk of time to work (usually 1 1/2-2 hours every afternoon), clean up the house, and relax if I can find a spare minute.
My problem now is that while Dylan still happily takes an afternoon nap (and seems to need it--he's really tired by about 1:00), he doesn't go to sleep at night very well. In the past, he has usually been pretty good about bedtime. It's never been a long drawn out process for us, partly because I don't have the energy for a 12-step bedtime routine each night. Bedtime for him is around 9pm (because of Matt's work schedule, we stay up later at night and sleep longer in the morning...nothing much happens around here before 8am). However, the past few weeks, Dylan isn't actually asleep until 10:30/11:00, and then it's not unusual for him to wake up at least once at night and then wake up earlier than we would like in the morning.
Needless to say this is exhausting for everyone. I have tried skipping naps a few days a week with him which cuts into my afternoon alone time and sometimes this helps with bedtime but sometimes it doesn't. I've thought about waking him up early from his nap, but he is absolute disaster if he doesn't wake up on his own...he's been known to cry for hours after someone wakes him up and that just isn't worth it.
Most of his sleep problems started after we moved, so I blamed it on that for a while but it's been over two months. He also just turned three and I know a lot of kids drop their naps right around that time.
So...my question is for all those with toddlers out there...any suggestions? What was your experience? I am familiar with the quiet time idea and we've done a little of that, but it's hard to get a toddler to play quietly by himself for more than 15 minutes. Do I just need to try something and stick with it for a couple of weeks? Eventually he will go to preschool, but that's still a year and a half away. Help!