Changing Track: When Naptime for Toddlers Ends

Exhibiting his bridge at the elementary school science fair

When my oldest was 18 months old, my days were so filled with babies, bottles, and books — I was an at-home freelance editor — I couldn’t imagine where I would find the time to take a Mommy and Me class. I would pick up the free local parenting mags and flip to the pages with the listings of classes and immediately get overwhelmed. I knew my very “in to everything” daughter would love just about every class. Swimming, music, dance, nature, story times, and so many other offerings looked absolutely wonderful to me. But, where would I find the time in our packed to the rafters day?

When my daughter was awake, we played, read, and I did a little cleaning and cooking. When she napped or when she was in bed, I worked like a dog to get all my editing and product management tasks done. I hung on to every minute of her naptime…seconds too. I couldn’t work while she was awake. I needed the morning naptime, the afternoon naptime, and bedtime…big time. Most days I struggled to stay on top of tasks as I was a sleep-deprived mess trying to keep my head above water.  My daughter was not much of a TV watcher back then, so I couldn’t put a DVD on for her. The notion of registering for a class for my daughter and I sadly didn’t compute with our lives at the time.

At what seemed like 18 months and one day, my daughter stopped napping in the mornings. This change rocked my world. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how I would function without the precious morning nap. I relied on that 1.5 hours to get calls made, editing done, and packages ready for FedEx. After a pity party or three, I remembered a music class I had read about in a local free parenting magazine. Could we squeeze in a Mommy & Me class? Was it possible to do something fun in the morning and still get home for my afternoon worktime and her naptime?

I soon realized that even though I lost my time to work in the mornings, my daughter still needed to be entertained. I knew I did not have the concentration to work while she was awake. My hat is off to moms and dads who can work while their little ones are up and about. I could never do it.

Enter the Mommy and Me music class. Once I registered both of us for the Mommy and Me music class, our world was opened up to include story times at the library, Tiny Dancer classes, kiddie soccer classes, and more.

Fast forward almost 14 years and our family calendar is chockful of activities of one sort or another. With three children in three different schools, driving kids to and from activities is our way of life. My only complaint is that most of the activities my children participate in are not affiliated with schools. While it is true that my children have participated in a PTA art class from to time, classes such as these are hard to find at my local schools.

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