The 2, 3, 4 Rule

It's almost the weekend! For some reason, I feel like this week has gone on forever. If you're in the Richmond, VA area this weekend make sure you check out the Carytown Watermelon Festival on Sunday. 2,500 watermelons have been donated by Martin's and the proceeds go to benefit Shriner's Children's Hospitals. (Plus there will be a ton of entertainment lined up and various other vendors and children's activities.)

Now, the main reason for my post.

As humans, most of us are creatures of habit and routine - I know I am. I am completely resistant to change and trying things in "new ways" but luckily I understand that for personal growth this is sometimes necessary. When it came to changing my daughter's schedule to be more flexible, I was even more resistant. Everything I've always heard from my child development classes to years of working in various daycares and child learning facilities is that "children crave routine and direction." Well, with this one little phrase I was becoming awfully stiff in my scheduling. Until I learned about the 2, 3, 4 Rule.

The 2, 3, 4 rule is a rule that applies to children that are still taking two naps a day (usually the 18 months and under set). It's incredibly easy, and the basic principle is this:

- Put baby down for her first nap 2 hours after she wakes up in the morning. (ie if she wakes up at 7am, put her down at 9am)
- Put baby down for her second nap 3 hours after she wakes up from her morning nap. (ie if she wakes up at 11am, put her down at 2pm)
- Put baby to bed 4 hours after she wakes up from her afternoon nap. (ie, if she wakes up at 4pm, put her to bed at 8pm)

I first read about the 2, 3, 4 Rule in Bedtiming: The Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep at Just the Right Age by Marc Lewis. And I'm happy to say that it's done wonders for our family. It's helped my daughter sleep longer stretches at night, cue in to when it is "sleepy time," and generally be in a better mood. Not to mention it has been a key tool in our family time planning. For example, our daughter usually wakes up for the day sometime in the 7:30am range. On Sundays though, we have church at 10:30am, which would usually fall right in the middle of her nap time. So to get around this, we wake her up a little early (usually around 7am) so that she can get a good nap in from 9am-10am or so. Learning to be flexible has been valuable to all of us.

Now if I could just convince our lawn care company to stop trimming the hedges at 2pm so as to wake her!


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