There are very few problems that can't be solved by taking a nap. Chronically grumpy kids? They're sleep deprived. Irreconcilable differences with the husband? Go to bed early and deal with it in the morning. Having trouble solving that algebraic equation? Take a nap, baby. Take a nap. Napping is pretty much my go-to parenting advice. When my children were really young, I adhered to a strict napping schedule. I planned my entire DAY around their naps. Nothing--and I mean nothing--preempted of the inviolable law of napping.
There's this hugely popular parenting idea that kids outgrow naps. Who thought of this crap? Kids don't outgrow naps! Heck, I haven't even outgrown them! The only people who think kids outgrow naps are....kids.
Now, that said: I do have a kid who is not a Good Napper. Meaning, he'll climb in bed and read quietly for an hour. But he can't really sleep during the day. Which is fine. He has learned to respect the rest of us who ARE good nappers. And after an hour of downtime, he's much calmer and more well-behaved.
I'm also a firm believer in early bedtimes for children. I have this sneaky suspicion that many behavioral problems can be directly attributed to late bedtimes. I'm always stunned to hear how many young kids stay up past 9pm. My little ones were always in bed by 7:30pm. Even now, my older kids are in bed by 8pm and can read until 8:30pm (my oldest sometimes stays up later to finish homework after ballet).
But the point is, children are not little adults. If children don't get enough sleep, they explode all over the place the next day.
Here's the thing: nobody thinks you're cool if you believe in napping. In fact, it's COOL to skip napping, to be all revolutionary and FUN and not sleep. Don't believe me? Just try it.
Start adhering to a nap schedule and notice how many times adults (not to mention your kids) think you're a loony bin. If you really want to kick it up a notch? Start going to bed early and notice how many people still text you at all godforsaken hours of the night.
Nobody writes songs about how going to bed early is awesome. Heck, right now Snoop Dogg has a song out wherein he literally CELEBRATES not going to bed! So what we go out! So what we don't sleep! We're just havin' fun! We don't care who sees!
Confession: I love that song way more than I should. ALSO: I hate that song.
Basically, I think there's a conspiracy against a good night of sleep. It starts with this underlying idea that sleep is Wasted Time. It is fed by another idea called: I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Thirdly, it assumes that being sleep deprived is fun.
Maybe I'm just an old lady now but I can assure that being sleep-deprived is not fun. I mean, sure, it sounds all fun and exciting to stay up until 3am--but only if I can sleep the whole next day. Problem is, I have kids.
Maybe I need to move to a country where taking a nap isn't just normal, it's expected.
Clearly, I need a siesta.