How Rigid Should Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule Be?

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baby sleep scheduleIt’s inevitable. You have a baby and almost everyone around you will have advice about how to raise him or her. Some are nice about it trying to offer helpful tips while others criticize you and warn you what a big mistake you’re making when you do x, y, or z. I believe most people are trying to help (call me an optimist), but most people are telling you what worked for them and their baby. If you’ve read The Baby Sleep Site™ at all, you know that our philosophy is that all babies are indeed unique and so will their sleep needs. A client this week was telling me how her first was a horrible sleeper and now at 6 years old still has issues, her second was a dream sleeper, and now her third is a challenge like the first and we are working together to make sure she doesn’t repeat the 6 years of sleep deprivation again. Even within the same family, babies are just different!

A former client wrote to me about a month ago asking me to discuss the importance of a rigid schedule for spirited babies. Here’s her e-mail:

Hi Nicole,

A few months ago you helped with my daughter and her sleep problems. Things have gotten much better since then, thank you for all of your help! Since I last contacted you, I have stuck to a pretty rigid schedule with my daughter because if I do not, we are up all night and I feel that we are starting from square one. So, I have found that it is best that I sacrifice some flexibility in other areas of my life for the “schedule” so I know that I will be getting somewhat of a full night of sleep and right now I am ok with this. However, I have been getting some criticism from friends and family about my lack of flexibility, but I feel that they do not understand what it is like to have a “spirited” child. So, I wanted to know if you would be at all willing to have a discussion about the challenges of a baby that does not sleep and how important it is to remain on a schedule for these babies. Thank you!

Does this sound familiar? No matter if you have a flexible schedule or a rigid sleep schedule for your baby, there will be those who believe you are making a mistake doing either one. There are benefits to both, but not both will work for all babies.

Benefits of a Rigid Baby Sleep Schedule

The main benefit of a rigid baby sleep schedule is the fact that it’s predictable. This isn’t just good for you to plan play dates or errands, but your baby will know what to expect every day, too. By prioritizing your baby’s sleep and making sure she’s in her crib at nap time and bedtime will make it that much more likely that she will sleep through the night and ensure your baby naps longer. You are making sure that you are putting her down during her “sleep windows” and helping “set” her internal clock.

Benefits of a Flexible Baby Sleep Schedule

But, what if your baby doesn’t get sleepy at the same times every day? Or, what if your family life is such that your day simply is not very similar day to day? A flexible baby sleep schedule allows you to have much more flexibility in your day. Your play date wants to meet at 10 instead of 11? No problem. That baby swim class is at 1 p.m. twice a week right when your baby’s nap is. No problem. Grandma and grandpa come to visit for two hours making bedtime an hour later? No problem. Having a flexible sleep schedule is definitely appealing in many ways. It feels much less like your whole world revolves around your baby’s sleep and schedule, that’s for sure.

But, is a rigid or flexible sleep schedule right for your baby?

Unfortunately, what’s convenient for us isn’t what works for our baby. As I discussed in my article about schedules for breast-feeding and formula-feeding babies, your personality will likely gravitate you towards one or the other. Your baby will make it a success or a failure. And, sometimes maybe it’s somewhere in between leading to some good days and some bad days.

For highly inconsistent babies, it is usually best to keep a rigid sleep schedule from a sleep perspective (not necessarily feeding schedule), because it helps “set” their internal clock and biological rhythms. If you allow your inconsistent baby to drive the schedule, he is more likely to continue being even more inconsistent than what’s “normal” for him.

For babies who are very sensitive to becoming over-tired leading to less and less sleep, it’s important to keep their sleep at a high priority. It doesn’t necessarily mean keeping a rigid schedule by the clock, but in terms of making sure they are not awake too long before sleep. It means that swim class might have to wait until they’ve changed their schedule.

For babies who can sometimes stay up longer and other times can’t, having a rigid schedule where they are in the crib when they are not tired, could lead to other sleep problems and frustration for your baby. Maybe he needs a more flexible schedule that is driven more by his sleep needs and cues.

The bottom line is that YOU will need to deal with the aftermath, if any, of any decision about scheduling. Everyone else who has an opinion doesn’t have to deal with a cranky baby or get up with your baby at night, YOU do. When it came to my highly inconsistent, supremely over-sensitive to being over-tired son (and still is, but not AS much), I simply could not afford to let too many things disrupt his schedule or routine (especially since he did NOT sleep “on the go” AT ALL after he was a month old!). At minimum, it would set us off course for a week or so with night-wakings and lots of crankiness. I tried it a couple of times and, to me, it just wasn’t worth it. For others, maybe it would be. With my second son, I finally saw how on Earth people had more flexible schedules and could (gasp!) be out of the house sometimes during nap time!

Whether you have a rigid baby sleep schedule or a flexible one will be a personal decision based on your personality, your baby’s personality, and what sleep problems it may or may not bring. Any “event” had to be “worth” the stress for us with our first baby. This meant we missed several family picnics or what-not (which I’m sure we were criticized for), unfortunately, but I knew it would be a relatively short time in our lives. He transitioned to one nap around 12 months and things were sooo much easier with just one nap (which we were 99.9% home for).

So, I can’t answer for you whether a rigid sleep schedule or a flexible sleep schedule might be right for YOU, but I can tell you that I believe you need to do what’s best for your BABY, even if others criticize you or not understand. They grow up so fast and I promise that more than likely, before you know it, you’ll WISH you had some down time with naps at home. :)

If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, whether it’s rigid or flexible, I encourage you to download our FREE guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes, or explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about!

Did/does a rigid or flexible sleep schedule work best for you and your baby? And, do you get criticized for it?

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20 Responses to How Rigid Should Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule Be?

  1. Natalie says:

    Thank you for posting this! We’ve naturally gravitated towards a flexible schedule with our daughter, and while we have had to get a bit more predictable and firm with patterns (night is for sleep, I don’t care if you want to get up and dance we’re just going to lay here until you go back to sleep!), we’ve still maintained a pretty flexible schedule with her. I’m able to push her nap back by an hour to make a group, and we can stay out a little later on special occasions (like the 4th!), and for the most part she’s a happy go lucky baby. But yes, we do get comments frequently. When she’s teething and her sleep goes to pieces friends and family are quick to jump on the “you need to be on a SCHEDULE bandwagon when I know darn well it’s her teeth that’s the issue. And I’ve also noticed that it’s really important to pay attention to her cues and sleep windows – putting her to bed by the clock does NOT work if she’s not ready for it (in fact we’ve had some disastrous nights that way).

    As usual I really enjoy your insights!

  2. Vivienne says:

    I’m dealing with this too–my son is a very good sleeper now, and most days it’s around the same time (not because I made it that way, he just seems to have my internal clock settings as opposed to my husband who is a night owl and has no real schedule). I’m willing to “mess” with his schedule once in a while bc after all things have to get done, but if I do two days in a row of shortened, skipped or delayed naps the change in him is so drastic I feel awful. A lot of my friends have kids who will nap in the car and then stay asleep in their carseat once home but mine won’t do that. if he falls asleep and I bring him in with the infant carrier he’s awake in minutes and then of course he’s taken the edge off his tiredness, can’t fall back asleep and is just a cranky mess until bedtime. We also leave family functions early to accomodate his 6:30ish bedtime bc whether or not we’re home, he’s going to want to sleep and will just be a mess. And they say “well, he’ll just sleep later in the morning” um, nope. he’ll still be up at 5:30 (don’t I WISH he’d sleep later!! one day sleep shifting will work!!!) and now be sleepdeprived. And why would you want me to keep him up? He’s going to keep crying bc he wants to be asleep. I don’t understand people who criticize that or try to push a baby to stay up when they’re tired.
    Love the discussion, as usual! :)

  3. Michelle says:

    @Vivienne, my son (who is 6mo old) is very similar to yours in his sleep pattern. His happiness goes south quickly if we try to push a nap or bedtime even a little later. He used to sleep on car rides and even in the stroller but not so much anymore…unless we leave after dark, so family functions have become limited.

    I don’t mind so much because I know he’s getting the sleep he needs but I do often feel limited in the activities we can do with him and I envy people who can take their babies out for long periods of time during the day. We have to make sure that if we do go to a family function, we will have a place where he can nap and will need to take into consideration the time we leave so he can sleep in the car. Unfortunately for us, both of our families live a minimum of 1.5 hours away so it is always a bit of an excursion when we visit.

    I have a hard time stretching his wakeful time, even by 10-15 minutes because when he’s tired and ready to go to sleep, that’s it. And sometimes pushing it means he is cranky and has a very difficult time falling asleep.

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has a baby that prefers to be on a schedule. I tried leaving it up to him and being flexible but that only lead to very inconsistent napping and early waking. Now that we are on a schedule, he sleeps wonderfully…and why would I want to mess with that :)

  4. KatyH says:

    My daughter is 19 months old and has just finally started sleeping through the night. She always needed to go to sleep very early – like 6pm because she was an absolute mess if she didn’t. She refused to sleep in the car and wouldn’t dream of falling asleep in the middle of people or activity. She was far too interested in what was going on! So it was imperative that we adjusted our schedule to accomodate her. This meant that we missed out on a lot of evening activities. We were really tied to her nap schedule so our outings in the day were very short or nonexistent. I just personally don’t subscribe to the theory that a kid should just learn to fall asleep in the shopping cart. To me, that isn’t fair to the kid. But many parents do and it works for them. We all have to find what works!

    I never had to defend my choices about being somewhat inflexible with her sleeping schedule. But if I ever had to, my response is going to be that she needs her routine and rest so that she CAN be flexible and happy for activity later on. If she’s so tired that she’s cranky and screaming that no one’s having any fun…is is really worth the “flexible” schedule? For me it wasn’t worth my sanity!! :)

  5. Tiz says:

    What a great question. This is something that I personally struggled with as well – I wanted to keep my (now 11 month old) son on a rigid schedule because I had read so much about how important it is and put up with a lot of criticism to do so, but there were times when it just seemed so stressful for me (and maybe even him), that I failed to notice that my son’s schedule was changing and that his own needs seemed to dictate a bit more flexibility.
    By the time he was 8 months we had moved to 2 naps, and for a while we were good, but as time passed, he wasn’t as tired at the same times any more and he was spending way too much time (sometimes up to an hour) hanging out in his crib playing before falling asleep. I decided that instead of following the clock (as my reading had advised me to), I would follow more of his cues. That meant we pushed his 2nd nap an hour later than it was unless he seemed tired or sluggish before that based on what we were up to, he went back to taking the whole 2hr nap by the time he seemed to go down, we were able to fit a lot more fun into the day, and he still has no problems sleeping the night.
    I think part of the reason I wanted to remain so rigid was because we were afraid we/he would lose control and he would develop poor sleeping habits, but I think he’s so in tune with our routine and recognizes when it’s time to sleep, that he’s able to adjust to times when things are different. For example, he recently developed his first fever at the beginning of last week, and I did the “unthinkable” and actually woke him around midnight in order to take his temperature and give him medication if he needed it for those few nights before we turned in. Lucky for us, he had no problem returning to bed after a few moments once we placed him back in his crib, said goodnight and closed his door.
    Overall then I would say that in terms of his getting him his naps and bedtime I am quite rigid, but there are more times now then when he was younger, where I am willing to be more flexible, knowing that we get back to “normal” and follow his cues as well as provide him with the schedule.

  6. Shannon says:

    Hi all – I have two babies who are terrific sleepers. I’ve had both of them on rigid schedules from a really young age, my son slept through the night from 7 weeks and my daughter from 12 weeks. While I cannot complain, neither of my children were/are carseat/pram sleepers much, if at all after 6 months. My daughter is now 12 months and I am still working around her two naps and rarely deviate. I get criticized a lot by my childless sisters who all seem to have friends with babies who sleep anywhere. If we go out with our daughter at naptime she will eventually fall asleep in the car and then wake as soon as we’re home. She is then miserable so it’s just not worth it. Being our second child and probably last we are willing to sacrifice some outings for this short lived and precious time. Afterall a happy, healthy and well rested family is much more important than a few criticisms here and there.

  7. Kathy says:

    I totally needed this discussion forum today! Having a rigid schedule doesn’t bother me, but I do feel like it bothers some family around us (and I guess I should admit it bothers me that my son can’t skip a nap, but my nephew and almost all other babies I know can without a problem!). And that stresses me out.

    I hate to say it but I feel like my son is a terrible sleeper. We have had so much stress trying to figure his schedule out since about 8 months old. I’d try what people told me – sometimes worked, I’d watch for his cues – sometimes worked . . . we finally stuck to a rigid schedule and at 15 months were able to get him to sleep thru the night.

    About a month ago (around 18mos) I got him on a very routine one nap schedule and he was doing very good up until 2 weeks ago (sleeping from 7pm to 7am and taking 2.5 hour naps!!!!)! I was in heaven!! :)

    That was when he missed his Sunday nap to go out on the boat with Daddy and ever since he has been overtired, napping for an hour and waking up screaming and now screaming when we try to put him to bed! I feel like we have to relearn everything all over again!!! So stressful. I can tell he is waking up tired and I can’t do anything about it.

    Anyway, I like the advice of the first comment to watch their cues. No sense is putting them down when they aren’t ready, or he’ll wake up screaming (which is what I tried all last week). So now I need to change my schedule again – which stresses out people around me cause we have to leave functions early – and try to watch his cues, which seem to be getting harder for me to recognize.

    Today I let him take a 30 min nap in the car this morning. He’s not showing tired signs at his 12:30pm naptime, so I’m keeping him up, and hoping I’ll see a tired sign around 2:30pm. It is a little frustrating to have to switch to a new rigid schedule now (which really does seem to help him), but we do need to do what’s healthiest and happiest for our immediate family. Otherwise no one is happy.

  8. Marcia says:

    We have had to stick with a very rigid sleep schedule. It has been very hard because all of the activities for younger children (library storytime, play groups, etc.) seen to always fall right in the middle of my 14 month old’s morning nap so we miss out on all of those activities right now. But I discovered early on that my daughter is very inconsistent and will not sleep if there are activites going on but is incredibly cranky later and wakes up often if she doesn’t get her naps and go to bed at the same time each night. And I also get very cranky when I miss out on my sleep because the little one wakes up early or throughout the night. I have been criticized sometimes by people, including my husband, who think that our daughter should adapt to our schedule. We tried. It didn’t work and we were all cranky and tired. I just had to accept the fact that until she is older, we have to stick to her routine because she can’t adjust to ours. Thanks for bringing this tpoic up. It makes me feel better to know that there are others who feel like a slave to their child’s schedule. I know it will get better eventually.

  9. Lainie says:

    Last night I was leaving a party at 7:15, which is late for my girls. I thought I was pretty awesome for allowing myself to be flexible for once.

    Then three families with small children arrived. When do those kids go to sleep, I wondered?

    I felt like a curmudgeon. I feel like I’m the only one who puts her kids to bed at a quasi-decent time.

    Luckily on this forum, I’m not. :)

  10. Nicole says:

    @Natalie Thank you for sharing! I know how aggravating it can be to get those comments from well-meaning friends/family. You know your daughter best!

    @Vivienne Oh you’re right! Two days in a row of off-schedule is definitely asking for more trouble with my eldest, too (not so much with his younger brother). And, I understand completely in terms of why would I want my son up if he’s a crabby pants because he’s tired anyway? No fun at all. :)

    @Michelle You’re definitely NOT alone! :)

    @KatyH It wasn’t worth my sanity (or his) either! Everyone was soooo much happier later on, if we just stuck to schedule. With his brother, we were definitely able to be more flexible, so I agree you have to find what works. I have had clients ask about children napping in strollers and the thing is, sometimes they could be crashing in strollers, not necessarily just “sleeping” and I think there is a difference. Making your baby go go go until they crash isn’t necessarily the best thing for them. I know it’s hard to stay in the house all day, though! Having kids is definitely not black and white. Thanks for your comments!

    @Tiz Very good observation that sometimes it is hard to know when the schedule needs to change when you have a rigid schedule. It sounds like you’ve definitely found a really great balance and, most importantly, you became in tune with your son! It’s a good practice to use the clock and your baby as a guide when it comes to scheduling by the clock.

    @Shannon Thank you for sharing!

    @Kathy I hope you get back on track, soon! Isn’t it crazy how one missed nap can set you off course for several days? Hopefully, a few 2-nap days or earlier bedtimes will get him back on track. Good luck!

    @Marcia Yes, unfortunately some babies just CAN’T seem to adapt and it’s not their fault. They simply can’t sleep “on the go” nor can they stay up for hours on-end without sleep and sleep well at night. I’m glad you found what works for all of you, so none of you are cranky! It will get better! :)

  11. Jo says:

    I have found it incredibly difficult to follow a rigid recommended schedule. But whats a definition of rigid, for some people it is that babies go down at exactly the same time and gets up at the same time everyday. My 6 months old has three naps everyday but when he goes down varies and how long he goes down varies by 30 minutes for each sleep. How much I have stressed that by doing this he won’t sleep at night or he is getting to much or too little sleep during the day…The pressure of having exact schedules was stressing me out. I love having a routine, having minimum and maximums for time ‘sleeping’ but I work with his tired cues. My baby won’t magically stay awake for 2 hours then go to sleep for 2 hours. It is difficult but you do eventually learn what is best for your baby and try not to focus on what is best for you.

  12. Renae says:

    Ohh I would LOVE love LOVE to have my 8 month old on a rigid schedule, it would make appointments and visits so much easier, I am tired of cancelling things because my little man needs to nap. He has two naps a day and I have tried and tried to get him into a schedule but he is the type of baby that if I put him down even 15 mins late then he becomes overtired quickly and will only do a 20-30min cat nap before waking up even more tired. So to try and get him into a schedule I was keeping him awake till the next scheduled nap but this meant that the second sleep was also a little catnap. After days of this I end up with a very overtired and wired baby in my house. So for me I just have to go with what he wants which means I spend all day trying to workout tired signs (which by the way are smiling, laughing and babbling loudly…very hard for me to determine). This morning he was only up for an hour and a half before going down for his first nap! So tell me friends on a rigid schedule…how on earth did you do it?

  13. Vivienne says:

    @Renae: I have NO idea! All I wanted was for the child to sleep longer than 20 minutes at a time and he fell into this. But to get him to do that I had to get him to fall asleep during the day without nursing him. that meant some tears for a few days and a very strungout mommy but then he just fell into a routine (it’s not by the clock, it’s based on wake up time. So when he wakes up in the morning, I know what time he’ll be napping and can plan my day. it’s a 30 min-45 min swing)
    and can I just say–those are the worst tired signs ever!! it should be against baby-law to do that to a parent!! :) good luck

  14. Marcia says:

    @Renae: It was basically trial and error. My daughter was 8-9 months old before I had figured out what times she tended to get tired and just started putting her down at about those same times. It was a fight initially but eventually she actually started napping when put down without too much of a fight. The tough part is just when we got it figured out, she got older and her napping habits changed. Even though we are on a “rigid” schedule, she doesn’t always nap at the same times still and we still have to cancel plans because of her being tired and melting down.

  15. Claudette says:

    My 4 year old has been on a rigid schedule since he was 6 months old (with adaptations along the way). If we did not follow the schedule then he was more likely to wake up in the middle of the night for 2-3 hours at one time or to wake up before 5 am. We are now trying to figure out a schedule for our 7 month old son and so far he has the early bedtime of 7 pm (starting the routine by 6:15 pm). I come from a large family (6 siblings) and all of them cannot believe how rigid we are – even the ones with children. I can often tell that their children are overtired with unnecessary tantrums etc. and yet our boys are very content. They don’t seem to get it and the family often joke that all the family events are based on our boys schedules. Our family get togethers used to be dinner at 7, but since our first son came along dinner is at 5 so we can be out of there by 6:30 at the latest. I have to admit that I am very tired of hearing the comments from both sides of the family but I would rather have a well rested and well behaved child then stick around to hear their children burn out and the parents start to loose patience.

  16. Nicole says:

    @Lainie Both my boys were in bed on the 4th of July by 8 p.m. or so, so you’re definitely not alone! :D My eldest did want to stay up so bad to see fireworks, but experience has shown me he’s still not ready. By 9:30 p.m. he becomes manic, whiny, and just melts down and unable to function. It’s actually sad and hard to watch him be so miserable. :( Maybe next year. Or, maybe next year I can get him to take a little nap (though he hasn’t since 2 1/2), so he can make it. I know one day he’ll be able to do it, so what’s the rush?

    @Jo I am glad you found what works for you and your baby! You are exactly right. Thanks for commenting!

    @Renae My son did not get on a rigid schedule by the clock, but based on awake time. I think what Jo said is exactly right that “rigid” means something different to everyone. For me it meant being home for as many naps as we could and not keeping him up past his comfort zone, because it meant short naps and more night-wakings. I always err’d on less awake time rather than too much and over time I had to modify how long he could stay up, if he started to routinely take too long to fall asleep. I had to put him down BEFORE he got cranky, though. So, it sounds like your baby is very similar to mine that the amount of awake time and his tiredness level is what drives your routine/schedule, not the time on the clock. Some babies are simply more tied to the clock than others and it changes as they get older, too. Parenting is so tricky, isn’t it? :) Good luck!

    @Claudette I totally agree that my boys are SO much more well-behaved when they are well-rested that I’d prefer that to keeping them up any day. And, when you do pay attention to sleep so much, it is hard to see other babies/kids who are so over-tired that it’s obvious and then the parents are so impatient with their whining or melting down. Sometimes we do need to balance other life events (like my husband’s grandmother’s wake that kept my son out past his bedtime for a few days and then permanently seemed to lead to later bedtimes), but such is life. I’m sure you get tired of the comments, but good for you for sticking by your beliefs! If my eldest COULD handle some later bedtimes or what-not, I might do it once in awhile, but he just can’t, so that’s just how it goes. Thanks for chiming in!

  17. Mahua Mandal says:

    I am also fairly rigid with my 11 month old – not that he has to go down at the exact same time for his two naps and at bedtime every single day, but he needs to get down for them within a small window of time (generally 15 minutes). He really cannot miss even one nap – he starts screaming and crying and is a real mess. I am that Mom who misses numerous get-togethers and turns down many invitations. At this point I’ve stopped trying to explain, “Well, if he misses his nap, the rest of the day is shot, and then I’ll be up a lot in the night. No, he won’t sleep at the party. No, if he does fall asleep in the car (IF) it’s actually worse because he’ll wake up as soon as we get home (or before) and won’t fall back asleep, but also won’t be refreshed….” and on and on. I would love to hear from other work-at-home Moms (including Nicole) who are in the same boat regarding having to stay home for all (or the majority of) naps – what do you go to get out of the house a little bit? I find that after weeks of being really dedicated to my son’s sleep schedule (b/c he needs it, but also b/c – in the end – it’s easier on the whole family) I start getting stir-crazy and sluggish (and a bit depressed). Any tips on saving your sanity? My son *finally* got on a schedule of 3 naps at 7 months and transitioned to 2 naps at 9 1/2 months – so I’d be surprised if he transitions to 1 nap any time soon!

  18. Whitney says:

    Ugh, I just got back from a vacation with my in-laws, and this is one of my big battles! They are of the philosophy that children should not change their parents’ schedules or lifestyle. They take out young children and keep them up until their heads fall with tiredness. I’m talking about starting dinner at 8:15 pm, 2.5 year olds up until 1 am on a regular basis. The 2.5 year old was a wreck much of the time, clearly tired and constantly crying. Our 3.5 year old is in the process of dropping naps and fighting sleep. He is inconsistent and when in this kind of environment, gets less and less sleep. We were more lax on this vacation this time around so that he could enjoy his cousins (he rarely has time with them). His behavior suffered incredibly, and he is an overtired mess! I can’t wait to get him back to a schedule. Dropping from 1 to 0 naps is rough, though!!

    I know I am criticized by this family for being “rigid” as I never made it to the dinner because I was in the room with my sleeping child/ren (the 9 month old down by 7:30 each night). I am still rigid with my 9 month old, which means sleeping in a quiet, dark room for naps, usually about 2 hours after he wakes up, but watching tired signs. The trip involved two travel days where he had to nap on the go, and it was pretty disastrous! However, he does quite well sleeping in an ergo carrier with a nursing cover over the top to block out light and the white noise application on my iphone blasting in his ears!

    In their case, it’s not only the parents who have to deal with the consequences of the lack of napping or having any sort of consistent sleep time. Everyone around the crying child also has to deal with it (oh, did I mention they are also of the philosophy of ignoring crying children?)!

    Anyway, thanks for this post.

  19. Kathy says:

    These comments were great to read. My 2 1/2 year-old son is on a fairly fixed sleep schedule (although bedtime has been getting later and later the past 2-3 weeks) and I KNOW that there have been unvoiced thoughts from people (friends, family, co-workers) about how rigid I am with it, but he is just a nightmare if he gets overtired. However, it works. He sleeps through the night and has yet to skip a nap (it’s coming soon, I’m sure of it) while many of my friends who are far more flexible about sleep are still up at night and/or wondering if their two-year-olds are already dropping their naps. I was also recently at a party when two kids (4-6) arrived after my son left to go home and sleep. They were totally spun-up and so tired they were falling over themselves. On a few special occasions I’ve let him stay up late (or hoped that he’d fall asleep in the car), however, I have yet to find one that warrants the pain that is inflicted on us the next day, so more and more often, we just leave early. It’s only a few more years (unless we decide to go for number 2).

  20. Debbye says:

    @ Mahua Mandal- I work from home too, and do find that i feel a bit lonely or “out of touch” because of my 15 month old who NEEDS consistent and rigid schedules. I try to get out when I know he will not fall asleep in the car, in between naps, and in between work. On those days that travel or outings during naptime is inevitable, will put him to bed a little earlier to make up for a short nap in the car.

    @ Whitney- Thanks for sharing, and I have dealt with the same thing with my family! 4th of July warranted many comments from party goers scoffing at us leaving the party at 7:30, but even 30 minutes past bedtime means my little one will not sleep easily!

    @ Kathy- At least the comments are unvoiced in your circle! :)
    Yoe are obviously NOT alone in needing to stick to schedules, and in the end i think it pays off for all of us!!!