I am a big fan of Elizabeth Pantley’s “No Cry” solution books. Not only is she
a gifted author and instructor for parents, the whole no cry philosophy has always resonated with me as I am a BIG opponent of cry-it-out methods. I do not believe in letting my babies/children cry for extended periods of time in the hopes of teaching them some life lesson. Her best book IMO is The No Cry Discipline Solution but I never had a need for her sleep solutions book.
Her latest book, The No Cry Nap Solution, is pretty darn good though and while I wasn’t particularly concerned about naps BEFORE reading it I certainly was afterwards. It has a lot of research into why kids need naps, how long they should be, and all the mental and physical benefits kids get from something so simple as a nap.
My 2 year old will be three in 11 days and he has only been napping once or twice a week for the past 6 months. According to the charts in this book though he should still be napping every day. And one big sign that he should still be napping is exposed in the book. His behavior in the late afternoon is a clear indicator that he is not getting enough sleep. At about 4:30 every day he starts to have a melt down… crying, fussing, etc. Instinctively I know he is tired but at that late hour the last thing I want is for him to go to sleep so that his evening routine gets messed up. I usually give him an apple or pear to snack on and the natural sugars revive him until dinner and then he goes to bed at 8:00.
But I read something alarming in one of the early pages of the book about a study from the University of Michigan. They found that 3rd graders need a minimum of 9 hours and 45 minutes of sleep each night to lower their risk of obesity. Kids that slept longer than that reduced their risk up to 40 percent. Their study clearly showed that the less sleep kids got the more likely they were to be obese in subsequent years.
Now I am not worried about my toddler being overweight (he isn’t) but I can see already how I was using food to stimulate him so he wouldn’t nap…ooops. I could unconsciously be teaching him that when he feels sluggish and tired he just needs to eat, instead of listening to his body’s sleep cues. And he was was a few hours shy of the 12-13 hours of total daily sleep (nap and bedtime) it says a three year old needs.
So we started using some of the ideas in the book this week and while he hasn’t napped every day, he has napped more. AND if he does need to sleep late in the day I have started letting him. In fact I find he still goes to bed at the same time usually and never more than an hour later so the naps really don’t mess with his nighttime routine too much which was more a routine for ME than for him anyway.
I think this book concentrates mostly on very young children and babies but it has lots of great suggestions for all parents….and lots of cutie pictures of kids sleeping. It teaches how to look for sleep cues, how to set them up for sleep, how to establish routines, and how to handle difficulties. And thank goodness there is no horrible advice to let the child scream until they wail themselves to sleep. My favorite part of the whole book was a quote from a mom who said that her doctor actually told he that she was letting her newborn baby rely on her too much. Her response ” Of COURSE she relies on me – she’s a four week old baby for goodness sake!”
I highly recommend Pantley’s book for gentle, attached, parents everywhere who want a cooperative, compassionate way to handle difficulties with their children.
Next up for me is her No Cry Potty Training Solution….because next week (hopefully) we start potty learning!
Also read my review of The No Cry Discipline Solution.