I remember when Cullen was an infant, and I’d plan my outings around his nap times. We’d spend the mornings playing and eating at home, and as soon as he started to look sleepy, I’d buckle him into the Ergo or car seat and we’d be off to run errands or take a long walk around the lake. My goal was always for him to be asleep while we were out, since I was terrified of him having a meltdown in public.
Now at 18-months, I still plan my outings around his naps, but in a much different way. It is critical for both his rest and my sanity that he has a good nap at home in his crib. The rest of our day we are out having fun, but when the eye rubbing starts, we make sure we are home and ready for a nap time.
The biggest obstacle to this is the dreaded car nap. Toddlers have this amazing ability to fall asleep for 30 seconds in the car, and then somehow recharge as if that replaced their three hour afternoon nap. This leads to very cranky evenings for both toddlers and parents, and inevitably an early bedtime (and perhaps a large glass of wine).
Cullen and I spend a lot of time on the go, which means car rides to and from our various destinations. Over many miles and hours spent in the car, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to help keep even sleepy toddler stay awake long enough to make it home to the crib.