Thursday, 25 August 2016

My obsession with sleep routines

This article really struck a chord with me, especially the part on sleep. The writer's twins find it hard to sleep outside their own place and would get cranky. My boys don't get cranky immediately - but if they miss their nap, they get cranky before or around dinner time, which means no dinner and a messy sleep hour.

That is exactly why the boys had been to five or six play dates and parties with their friends from school this year, and just one with long-time friends. Their foreign friends have the same sleep schedule so parties either end by (early) lunch or start from 4 pm. On the other hand, my old friends tend to have parties over lunch hour, which eats into their nap time so it's either sorry, can't make it, or I go on my own.

Of course I learnt this the hard way. Perhaps three years back, before ZY got on the scene, we had a lunch date at CW's place. After all, his eldest is the same age as ZK so there's a playmate, there are toys, there's even space for napping. Why not? Because either ZK was too excited to sleep or he couldn't sleep in such a foreign environment! He ended up with no nap. It was a very frustrating afternoon for me.

But we do take the kids out for day trips once in a while. When we're outside playing, they tend to get tired and would nap quite nicely, albeit slightly past their usual nap time. When it was just ZK, he napped on Sito. Now, they took turns to snooze in the stroller. Tried and tested for Gardens by the Bay, the SEA Aquarium, Universal Studios, the zoo and overseas trips.

Napping one after the other at Penang Hill

But very soon, we're going to have to miss all the fun and social... While monkey will be easy to bring out in the early months coz he'll just sleep in the sling on me any time, there will come a time when he gets too heavy and he falls into a sleep routine. And this sleep routine will involve naps right before and after ZK and ZY's nap time. He will be 18 months before he goes into the post-lunch nap routine, i.e. about April 2018 *.*

It's not like I'm super obsessed with sleep; I won't want to miss going out all the time just so they can have their routine.  Just a little obsessed :) There are ways around, e.g. sling the infant, leave them at home, use the stroller to rock them to sleep.

But I'm pretty adamant that the kids sleep soon after dinner, and our dinner starts no later than 6.45 pm usually. Why? This is not some angmoh sleep schedule. In fact, based on various blogs I read, angmohs put their kids in bed by 7 pm! Either they are SAHMs or they knock off work early enough to pick up their kids and make dinner for them - nvm how they cook while minding kids!

In Singapore, we generally knock off at 6 pm-ish. By the time we get to the kids and have dinner, the earliest bedtime is probably ZY's current bedtime - he goes in by 7.30 pm usually and goes down by 8 pm-ish. ZK tends to go down around 9 pm-ish - not early enough but the best I can do for now.

So why do I make them sleep early? Coz eventually, they have to wake early to go to primary school etc! So they must sleep early so that they get enough sleep. Better to start them off like this instead of training them later. The sleep time will determine the nap time. For us, that is right after lunch.

ZK will eventually drop his nap. I'm hoping that he will sleep earlier when he loses the nap... But until he's totally ready, I'll insist he naps so that the parents can rest too :p

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