When it comes to things like "nap time" and "schedules", there's quite a range of parenting approaches and philosophies. I am the type of mom who believes in routine, in flexible schedules and the great importance of naps. I don't know who said it, but I've found it to be very true - "a well rested baby will sleep better" - and be much more pleasant when they're awake!
At 2 years (& 9 months) and 9 months old, Layla and Meaghan are usually great nappers. I say usually because in the last year or so Layla has gone through a few "phases" where we thought she might be giving up her naps and nowadays she generally has good (60-90 minute) naps 4 or 5 out of 7 days a week. I can't really complain because even if she doesn't nap - she has quiet time in her room. Meaghan is still napping in the morning and the afternoon - fantastic!
I'm coming up to the final weeks of my maternity leave with Meaghan. It's hard to believe that the time has passed so quickly... and that she's getting so big... and that I may never do this again... but that's not my point (today. I'll surely share my feeling about all that at some point.). My point is this... after being "off work" for two (combined) years of maternity leave I'm left with the realization that I haven't always made the most of my days and I certainly haven't always made the most of nap time.
So how does one make the most out of naps? At first thought - there is only so much you can do since you're restricted to the house (or the yard... with a monitor). With a little more effort... and sometimes a little more creativity... nap time can be productive, restful or even fun.
Sooooo - I've made a list of some of the things I can do to make the most of nap time...
- Bake (cookies, muffins, cake... whatever) or cook (mom/food blogger the naptime chef has this down to a science!)
- Clean (de-clutter, dust, vacuum... it's amazing what you can get done 60-90 minutes... if you "focus")
- Laundry (maybe this should fall under "clean" but it's a whole other job which - I believe - deserves it's own #!)
- Home renovations (sanding, painting, etc.)
- Get outside (shovel, tidy the yard - scoop poop, tan, swim, garden... all depends on the weather!!)
- One on one time with an older child (Meaghan's morning nap is often craft time with Layla)
- Capture memories (order prints of all those digital pictures, organize your photo albums, scrapbook if you're into that...)
- Catch up with your "peeps" (e-mail is great... but a phone call usually works better for two-way conversation!)
- Catch up online (e-mail, facebook, twitter... etc. be careful though - this has often left me feeling like I wasted nap time clicking one thing to the next)
- Foster an interest or a hobby (writing, painting, whatever your pleasure... it may even fall into one of my other categories!)
- Curl up with a good book or magazine (self help, fantasy adventure, romance or thriller - once again... whatever your pleasure!)
- Watch a movie (illico is fantastic for the last minute chick flick rental if I just want to veg!)
- Catch up on your favorite tv series by watching an episode (or 2) online
- Bubble bath(as in relax... decompress... fall asleep a little surrounded by aromatherapy and bubbles...)
- Nap...too. (sometimes it's just what the doctor ordered and it fights off a looming cold)
- Exercise (and then shower!)
- Primp a little (straighten or curl your hair, give yourself a facial, cut and paint your nails...)
- Shower (as in bathe... get clean... )
- Shower for "2" (to save water... OR to Get it on... as in... the best waste of hot water ever!)
- One on one time with the husband/wife (What? It doesn't have to be in the shower!!)