But there are some pitfalls to working during nap time that work-at-home moms should keep in mind. Actually, the problems don't really come from working during nap time, but counting on working during nap time.
Learn the dos and don'ts of working during nap time.
Napping HabitsNap time will change for even the most regular napper. You may be able to set a clock by your child's nap at 18 months, but a year later may be very different. And a year after that, naps may be a sweet memory.
When working at home with an infant, moms often find they can speed through their workload during naps. But this gradually changes and you must be prepared to adjust your work habits.
- Infants - Consistent nappers, often taking both a morning and afternoon nap. Changes in nighttime sleeping (i.e. sleeping through the night) may affect daytime napping.
- Toddlers - By toddler ages, children may have consolidated a morning and afternoon nap into one long afternoon nap. Still consistent nappers usually.
- Preschoolers - This is the ages when kids begin dropping their naps completely. And this process usually starts with a missed nap here and there until not napping is the norm.
Nap Time Changes
So while this transition is occurring, your work schedule may need to change. You may find that you now need to hire child care. Or you may have to shift your schedule to work weekends, after bedtime or when your spouse is home. Perhaps scaling back your work is necessary.
During this transition you and your child should learning some work-at-home ground rules, making working while your child awake easier. Children of work at home moms need a repertoire of independent play activities.
Coordinating Multiple NapsBalancing the needs of two (or more) children while working at home is never easy. And the days when they both nap at the same time are golden. But those days can be maddeningly rare, especially if your oldest is on the cusp of giving up nap time.
One solution is to turn nap time into quiet time for your oldest. He will appreciate being treated like the big kid. And if tired enough, he may end up napping too.
When Nap Time EndsEventually your child will no longer need a nap. Sometimes moms who count on naps as the time to get work done are more reluctant to give up naps than their children. Pay attention to your child's sleep patterns to be sure the nap is still beneficial.
If your 3 1/2 year old takes a long afternoon nap, but won't go to sleep until 10:30 p.m., maybe it's time to give up the nap. For the most part children let us know what they need, but we have to pay attention to their signals.
If your job requires that you have no interruptions, then you've probably already come to the conclusion that you need child care. But if not, by the time your child is ready to give up his or her nap, you have probably developed work rules and a routine that allows you to work while he or she is awake.