saving my life right now: the simulnap

It’s not every single day, but very nearly, both of my boys take simultaneous naps in the afternoon. This event itself saves my every loving life.

When OBrother was about 13 months old, the boys had gotten into this weird staggered nap schedule that was driving me bonkers – OBrother would go down morning-ish, then around the time he woke up it was OBoy’s turn, who would wake when OBrother was teetering on the edge of his second nap. I felt like all I did all day was put someone down or keep someone from waking someone else up. Then I did something drastic. When most babies of his age were still taking a solid two naps, I robbed OBrother of his morning nap for the sake of my sanity, and I made the remaining nap shifts overlap. We became the people who needed to leave playdates at 11:00 and eat lunch by 11:20 sharp. Every (normal) day from then on I have laid the boys down together at noon (although 6 months later it is more like 1pm) at which point I have an hour and a half to myself.

All of the mamas of two kids in two years say it with me: HALLELUJAH

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Logistically, their nap length is not the same which means if they start together, they don’t end together – and this is where I remind you that they share a room. From the very beginning I had to teach OBoy to exit the room quietly after he wakes up. There have been several occasions on which he has been excited about something (or sick and loudly sad upon waking) and OBrother has risen then, too. We call those bad nap days and they are permission to put the littlest one to bed early that evening. As I laid them down, we constantly talked about being quiet when we wake up and coming out quietly. We have a video monitor in their room, so when I know it’s about the time for OBoy to wake, I keep a pretty close eye on the monitor to make sure everything is going alright. If I need to, I will fly up the stairs as quickly and silently as a hawk to intercept.

These moments each afternoon have been glorious, and as I look ahead to OBoy growing out of needing a nap, it makes me just a smidgen nervous.

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What does the nap schedule look like for your littles? Or… How did the transition out of naps at your house?

30 Responses to “saving my life right now: the simulnap”

  1. Lisa Hewlett

    We JUST started the whole “I don’t need a nap” with Jack (he’ll be 4 in May). The last 3 weekends, he refuses to nap (but apparently, he still does at preschool every day – go figure). He lays in there and yells and refuses to sleep. This weekend I did the “Quiet time” thing – let him bring books and puzzles in his bed. It worked really well, and he wasn’t a mess at bed time. Except he’s been getting up at 5:30 in the FREAKING AM. Not happy about that. But whether I put him to bed early or late, he’s up early. UGH. Good luck!

  2. Shane

    If it gives you any comfort, our 5.5yr old son still takes 1.5hr+ naps every day at the same time (and in the same room) as our 2.5yr old daughter. :)

  3. Julie S.

    When Kenley was 14 months old, I switched her to one afternoon nap instead of a morning AND an afternoon. It just was WAY too time consuming to get her to nap when Brayden was running around, wanting my attention. Brayden is 3.5 and starting to drop the nap– which is fine. Some days he does, some days he doesn’t. But when they nap simultaneously, it is like winning the lottery.

  4. Mo

    Same nap time is a lifesaver for me too! My kids are two years apart, and for a very long time I have had them on the same nap schedule. It was getting to the same point as you! Someone was always napping, I was trying to keep the other quiet, and we never got out of the house! And now, they go down at the same time, usually around 10am. The 16mo will sleep till 11:30ish, and the 3.5yo will sleep a little longer (he’s always been a big sleeper, her not so much…). It’s glorious to have that time to myself! I can workout, shower, fold laundry without it being unfolded, mop the floors, or simply sit and enjoy the quiet!

    I dread the day when either of them stops napping….

  5. Savannah

    Yet again our lives sound exactly the same, except for one thing… I put my 3 year old to sleep on my bed so I don’t have to worry about them waking each other. March 1st we’re moving and each child will have their own room so I will once again have access to my room during naptime which is going to be HUGE! So excited!

  6. Jo

    I had regular simul-naps for a couple of months. Then the little one started scrapping her morning nap and moving to one mid-day nap. So as soon as she woke up from her now one-and-only-nap, her big sister would go down for hers. I haaaaaate it. I miss my spoiled rotten simul-nap. I can’t get anything done anymore.

  7. Julie

    Sadly my oldest was done with naps when his brother came around even though they are only about 2 years, 2 months apart. He would fall asleep in the car so sometimes that would happen. I would have that piece and quiet in the car.

  8. Jennifer

    Seriously- best thing ever:) Our littlest outgrew morning nap pretty early…at about a year. So for the past two years they’ve napped together. This fall they got their own rooms and still take solid two hour naps at 3 and almost 5!

  9. Acia

    My LOs are 2.5 years apart, so, sadly, I only had a few months of simul-naps until my oldest turned 3 and decided she would. not. nap. But as a SAHM with no family support and a husband who works about 70 hours a week, I NEED some time to myself – some time to make phone calls, pay bills, return emails, and, you know, breath. So now, my youngest is 11 months old and my oldest 3.5 years old, and when the baby goes down for her afternoon nap, I put my oldest in her room for some “quiet time.” She doesn’t nap (unless she’s sick and I really push for it), but she plays with her dolls quietly on her bed for an hour or so. I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to keep it up, but hopefully long enough to get her to kindergarten!

  10. Helen Davies

    My 21/2 year old finished napping but I still make him rest in his room for an hour. He loves this time- playing with cars or trains quietly on his bed. Hopefully, when baby number 2 comes along, (7 weeks to go- argh!) we can synch rest time and nap time. I think it may be my savior!

  11. Suzanne

    Neither of mine nap. Except for right now. Literally, they are sleeping right at this moment. They did it yesterday too. I’m a little worried they’re getting sick, since neither of them has napped for almost 5 months.

    Also, I am about 90% sure Caroline is cuddling with the same sheep as OBoy right now. We just got it and she’s totally in love.

  12. Sarah S

    I was the nap dictator when my kids were still doing it! My husband is a firefighter and is gone 24 or 48 hours straight. I needed that time for my sanity each day. Even after my oldest stopped napping (at around kindergarten) we instituted “rest time”. This was basically an hour of quiet play in her room while my son slept. Mommy has rest time too, it’s just the rest of the house was my room. : ) As they are older now (8 and 6) I find that my daughter has an easier time amusing herself than my son does. I am directly attributing this to years of rest time where she was stuck in her room for an hour or so and had to figure out something to entertain herself. To this day, on the weekends, if people are especially cranky we do an hour rest time in the middle of the day. Just because.

  13. Kristal

    I’m here to agree with Sara–we have quiet time now that they are 6 and 8–especially in the summer or sometimes even after school. They need some down time and so do I! Enjoy the napping while it lasts!

  14. Zinta

    I have a nine month old and a two-years-and-nine-month old, and I too get a solid two hours in the afternoon – and I swear I would die without it. We are moving into a new place on Thursday and I intend on transitioning them into one room, partly because I read your post on how successful it worked for your family. My mother-in-law thinks I’m crazy! I tell her, “my friend Allison did it… ” because we’re, like, totally besties. Ha. Well, I HAVE been reading your blog for a long time, so that totally counts, right??

  15. Johanna @ These Prices

    Harry dropped to one nap around 14 months, and a year later he is still a champion afternoon napper. Even though Posey is sleeping on me in the wrap, afternoons are pretty wonderfully quiet. (Even if I’m not technically alone!)

  16. ktg

    Amen to that. my 2 and 4 year old sleep for 2 hours every afternoon. Payback for the horrible days trying to get a newborn and a 2 year old to sleep similiar times! Life is good.

  17. Sarah

    I’m SO jealous! Cole has not napped since before Lulu was born! And his preschool pickup time messes with her one nap of the day – I never get to sleep.

  18. Sarah Denley

    I guess I thought around a year was normal for dropping the two naps b/c that’s when my kids both did. When do most babies transition?? My kids- an almost four year old little girl and an almost two year old little boy- share a room, too. By some great grace and some strong intentionality they spend two to three hours in their room every afternoon. The amazing part? Annie doesn’t nap. She plays relatively quietly and Graves is a super sleeper. I’m amazed it’s worked as well as it has.

  19. Kyley Leger

    Good for you and your simultaneous naps! Known to me as that time to recharge. My 2-year-old is still consistent and I LOVE when the infant sleeps for part of that time too. Good luck with your new transitions. I hope it’s smooth (and quiet) for all.

  20. Kristi

    We both work full time but on the weekends we do the simulnap. We actually lay our 17 month old down at 12:30 and our 3.5 year old down right before 1 and then we usually have until at least 2:30 sometimes 3:30 to regroup, get something done etc… It is a lifesaver! My 3.5 year old is showing no signs of dropping his nap. None. Hoping that sticks for a while!

  21. Joanna

    Yes! When Hannah transitioned to the older class at daycare I was so nervous that at 14 months she would only get one nap. But then I soon realized that meant on the weekends that they would nap TOGETHER. Our problem is now that Madison doesn’t necessarily feel like she needs a nap all the time. We’ve taken to letting her have quiet time where she just reads books in her bed or *gasp* we let her watch a movie quietly so we can get stuff done. There are some times where Hannah will nap for 2.5 hours, and Madison will talk/sing for an hour and then fall asleep for an hour. TWO WHOLE HOURS. Last weekend that was enough time to put two coats of paint on a DIY project, shower, get dressed and sit down on my bed and drink a beer with Clint while we chatted and enjoyed the silent house.

  22. Jessy

    Wow, I feel really lucky! I do daycare and they all lay down at the same time. They lay down around 1, sometimes the baby gets laid down at 12:30. The 4 year old I watch wakes up between 2:30-3 and the rest of them slowly wake up between 3:15-4. Recently my 2 year old has been sleeping as late as 4:30! When my oldest is home from school he has to do quite time. He reads, colors, plays a game- really whatever he can do to entertain himself for at least a hour. That time is a life saver and I’m not sure what I would do without it.

  23. Laura

    Transition out of naps? I’ll let you know once we get there. My six year old still naps on the weekends, because he still really needs it!

  24. Katie

    Eddie is starting to wean from nap completely. He is 3.5 and in the fall he will have three days a week of afternoon preschool, so I knew the day had to come. Right now he’ll nap for an hour and then we have to get him up or bedtime is HORRIBLE. Charlie is starting to drop his morning nap too (he’s 11 months), but takes a massive afternoon nap, so there is about an hour of overlap. I call that a WIN for sure.

  25. Ashley D

    Jude is my only kiddo and since I work during the day, I don’t even deal with naptime really. However, on the weekends I am blessed with the fact that at 3 years old he will still literally sleep 3 hours. He wakes up dang early, but I love me those 3 hours!!!!


  26. Amy

    The other day someone at a 3 year old b-day party was surprised to hear my 2 year old was still taking naps. Seriously? Um, yeah she is, and she’s going to take them for a long time! I hope you can get your simulnap on too, Mama!

  27. Kristen Howerton

    Yes and hallelujah. Four kids in four years: I didn’t care how grumpy it made the kids or how rigid I had to be with my schedule. EVERYONE NAPS AT ONCE. It is the only way.

  28. Cassandra

    My boys are 27 months apart and I have been lucky that usually everyday they take their naps at the same time, so I get about two hours to myself everyday. When my youngest, who is 16 months, grew out of two naps a day I did exactly what you did and “encouraged” him to stay awake until his brother’s nap time :) We mommies need some quiet time!

  29. Darlene

    Jasper started kindergarten taking naps still. He’s 5 and a half and still naps most weekends for 1.5 hrs, sometimes longer. He still sleeps 11.5-12 hrs at night as well so I think he just needs weekends to recharge and get a little extra sleep. Who doesnt?!? His 10 month old sister on the other hand..goes through nap strikes weekly.


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