DD is 31 months old and in a Montessori toddler room from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm while I work PT. I pick her up after lunch when the rest of the toddlers nap. DD used to get her pacifier when I picked her up and she would fall asleep in the car. I could usually move her to her room asleep and she would take a 2ish hour nap. Ever since we dropped the pacifier, she doesn't fall asleep in the car. It takes at least an hour and a lot of patience before she will fall asleep for her nap - which means she's falling asleep later, waking up later, and going to bed later. Then she's too tired to wake up at 6:30 am to go back to school the next day.
The school's normal hours are 8:30 to 11:30 so I pay extra for before care and lunch care. It's almost the same price as full day (8:30 to 2:30).
I'm thinking of switching for a few reasons - I've heard LO's can do pretty well with naps at school since everyone is doing it with them so I'm hoping happy, healthy, nap habits would be formed from the experience. And, my mornings would be WAAAY less hectic trying to get out the door at 7 am now vs 8 am if I changed her to full day. With the extra hour I would have more flexibility with my work schedule, or the ability to go to a doctor appointment, etc. without having my husband take time off work (which his boss is not flexible with).
Here are my concerns:
If she doesn't fall asleep right away, she will get less than 2 hours of nap time since pick up is at 2:30 and kiddos start laying down around 12:15-12:30. Will she make it up at night?
Will the quality of her nap be affected with other kids waking, making noise, etc.?
Will she officially stop napping for me at home on the weekends?
Is the extra hour she's there a significant damper on our time together, when she would otherwise be sleeping at home and not spending time with me, etc.?
Since I am lucky enough to have the flexibility to make the choice, I don't want to switch her if the negatives outweigh the positives or if it just takes away from our time together more than she's ready for . . .
Honestly, I don't really see any drawbacks to going with the full day option. If it was me, my only concern would be paying for two hours of nap time, which could otherwise be my "alone time" at home in the afternoon. This doesn't sound like a concern to you though, and actually seems like you will have a bit more free time with the full day option.
As you mentioned, kids seem to do well with naptime when all the kids are napping together. I don't think the quality of her sleep will be affected. My DD naps for precisely 2 hours during the day whether she's at home in her bed, or at school (she's in a full day infant/toddler program).
Whether or not she stops napping for you on the weekends... well... hard to say. I was struggling to get DD to nap, until I realized that I needed to start a naptime routine about 30-45 minutes before I wanted her to be asleep. Made all the difference. Now she falls asleep at the same time whether she's at home or at school.
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