Adapted from it's original post on www.thatmomgig.com from July 20, 2020.
I have found that there are two kinds of parents out there. Those who care about sleep schedules, and those who don't. We can break it down even further though, if we separate naps from nighttime. I have been a stickler for naps and bedtimes since day one with both of my children, and I have never benefitted from it more in their lives than I have during COVID-19 days.
Of course, when I only had one baby I could do errands around lunch time and know that my daughter would sleep in the car, in the stroller, wherever we went. But as she got more routinized out of infancy, those car naps were harder to sustain. Kids can sense when the car comes to a stop or when the engine shuts off. I enrolled my daughter in daycare at 10 months where they quickly trained her to take one nap a day (yes, it can be done!) That blocked-out time was sacred to us on the weekends - to keep her on schedule for daycare, and provide us with some much needed downtime - I mean, I was already pregnant with my second baby on the way and the sleep couldn't have been more valuable to me at that time.
My second baby barely slept for the first four months. He defied all nap rules as a newborn - I got a real run for my money (Ha! Having a second kid because you think it'll be just like the first!? Yea right.) But by six months he had a rhythm, and I had sleep trained him by night. My only goal as a mom during that time was to get everyone to sleep at the same time, every day. My life revolved around it. Our life as a family revolved around it. I was back at work and needed things to go as smooth as possible.
Fast forward a bit - now they are 1.5 and 2.5 years old. Every day from 11:30AM-3:30PM, my kids are on nap time lockdown. Sometimes they last 2 hours, sometimes they last 3.5. I don't question it! While I am at work and my kids are home this summer, I don't even want the nanny to take them out for a stroller walk in the late AM, for fear that the little one will fall asleep on the way back home and then FORGET IT - the nap transfer is a disaster every time! Our lives revolve around the scheduling for our sanity. When the older one doesn't want to take a nap, we still strictly enforce quiet time in her room.
I understand this amount of discipline isn't for everyone. People want their independence to do things and take their kids in tow. But that is why we have free will and you can make the choice that is best for your family. Just be aware when you use us for sleep consulting, we're likely going to push for a strategy that involves laying low until the sleep schedules are set in stone.
Since COVID-19 has taken over, it has become a powerful time to take inventory of our lives, of our responsibilities, pros/cons, in every way we can. Realize the power of what works for you, and the power of what does not. If your child's sleep makes your life easier, commit to it. If you need extra help around the house, find a way to get the help. If you need to decompress, take a walk alone after the kids' bed time. I guess it sounds easier said than done - to tell people to spend their money and time doing things that aren't always feasible - but I believe if there's a will, there's a way. Good luck, mamas!