As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, this is a specific topic, right? Not everybody is going to relate to the topic of Sunday sleep schedules for your baby, but it is such a need. In this blog post, I want to share personally how we handled Sundays for church and family events in the past.
Sundays can be a tricky day. While my daughters no longer nap, this is really just sharing my experience and helping you find your best fit when Sunday comes around for your family.
Now, when we’re talking about Sunday, we also need to preface this with I’m talking about children who know how to sleep.
If your little one has no concept of self-soothing strategies, if you are feeling stressed out at bedtime, if they’re having frequent night wakings, or if naps are just an absolute battle, then we can’t really talk about making Sunday a schedule free day. Why? Because when your child knows how to sleep, they know what to expect. It’s actually so freeing. I know that seems counterintuitive that a schedule leads to more freedom, but it does!
If your little one is not a good sleeper, you’re going to find it difficult to follow my guidelines. I would way rather you stop reading this blog and find a sleep training package that is the best for your child.
Whether you have a newborn, baby, or toddler, you are really feeling confident in your schedule and your child will fall asleep for naps at 9 and 1.
Every day of the week is so predictable until Sunday when maybe your church service starts at 9:00.
So what in the world are you going to do? Well, if you have a baby who is used to taking a nap at 9:30, I would prefer you go get some coffee and take a little drive.
When we only had one daughter and we had church service at 10, we used to do just this. We would head to Starbucks and I would let her nap in her car seat for a little bit, sip on our coffee as we drove to church, and then get her up and she’d play a lot at church. This nap was 20 to 30 minutes at most, which meant she was miserable when we went to pick her up.
We need to have some flexibility in life. Because when you have children, this is not a free pass to just stop going to church or stop being connected to the community.
This is the time when you need community the most. Just because you’ve had a baby, you’re going to have to be flexible. And that’s okay.
Sure, was that nap the same quality as it would be at home? NO, but it still got us to church as a family. It got her a little bit of energy out while playing in the nursery. And then we would come home at about 12:30, we would get her down for her next nap, which was normally at 2. We got her down at 1. Yes, a whole hour early. We were aiming for 3 hours of daytime sleep. Sometimes she would sleep longer for that second nap.
It’s easy to do that first nap a bit earlier in the morning. Most babies have a sleep hangover, where they are able to fall asleep again after being asleep all night.
And you’re like, how are you possibly tired? It’s very normal. It’s called sleep pressure. And they’re just feeling tired from their blissful night of sleep.
Therefore, on Sunday, let’s use it to our advantage. Get them down just a little bit sooner.
Okay? So if they normally go down for a nap at 9:30 and you have to leave the house at maybe 9:45, go ahead and put them down at 9 a.m. Allow them to just nap for 30-40 minutes.
Pick them up, change them, and go to church. This is the way that you can shift their nap just a little bit to help you make it because, let’s be honest, they aren’t going to sleep in the church nursery. I have never met a baby who would go back there and fall asleep.
If you have a smaller baby, you might be able to wear them during the service in a carrier so they can take that first nap on you.
That’s a win as well. Now it may be a short nap. Maybe you walk around with them from 9:45 to 10:15 and then you bring them to the nursery.
They’ve had a 30-minute little catnap on you, and that gives him enough energy to at least have fun and enjoy being with the child care workers for a little while.
So that’s another way you could just do a quick little on-the-go nap in a baby carrier at church and then bring them back there.
So, as you can tell, Sunday is really just about finding what fits you best. And this is where when I speak with my clients one on one on the phone, they want to know like the prescription.
Honestly, I could go through a bunch of different scenarios, but the biggest thing that they’re looking for is it’s OKAY to have an off day from your schedule. It’s going to happen.
Now I do want to address families who have children with one nap and are very accustomed to going out to lunch after church.
Maybe you don’t go to church, but you’re very accustomed to meeting your family or friends for brunch.
Now you have a child who needs to take a nap. So it is okay to allow them to take a little bit of a cat nap on the way there and then go to brunch.
Go to lunch. Come home and put them down for a nap. It could work!
My youngest was very accustomed to being in her crib and would not nap on the go. She just did not nap on the go, so we would make plans around her naptime.
Occasionally, she would have a short nap because we had an event. Y’all, it’s just going to be flexible.
I think what you are all craving to hear is that it’s okay to be flexible. It really, truly is okay to bend the rules to shift our nap schedules.
It is completely fine. Here’s are kind of like saving time.
At the end of the day, your child has probably had some short naps or off naps, so I’d recommend getting your little one down a bit sooner for bedtime. I don’t suggest you putting them down an hour early, but even 15-30 minutes could help.
On Monday or the next day following the event, I want you to be a bit more strict and structured with their sleep schedule. Let’s get back into the routine!
At the very end of this, I want you to also evaluate any opportunities that your child could nap in a certain space away from home. Maybe you can set up a pack n play in someone’s closet or large bathroom.
There are all kinds of options that might exist for your child to get a nap away!
So I hope this gave you some encouragement and I want to hear how this works for you. Sometimes we need permission to break the rules!
Thank you so much for being here.
Sweet dreams. See you next time.
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