Guest post: How to Maximize Naptime

This is a post shared from, a blogger who writes about parenting from a Montessori teacher perspective.  She is a great resource, and I love that she is also from Austin, TX!  I asked her if I could share this post, because I love the way she approaches thinking about time, and how thoughtful she is about including reflection and time to relax. And the need for flexibility.  Be sure to visit her site for a lot of great information.

As any parent of young kids knows, nap time is super valuable, and one of the best (only?) times to get things done.  I actually find myself wondering how parents get anything done when their kids no longer nap, but I try not to think about that too much.

When I first had James, especially when his naps were often short and unpredictable, I found myself a little frantic during naps.  I wanted to get so much done, but my brain was too foggy to remember it all and I wasn’t sure where to begin.  Plus I also wanted to just lay down and relax sometimes, but if I did that, I just kept thinking about all of the things I should be doing.

Well I finally have a nap time strategy that works well for me, so I thought I’d share.

1. Make a plan – and write it down

This seems fairly obvious, but it took me a while to actually start doing this.  I would come up with a plan in my mind, but I would often forget what it was and I still found myself questioning the best use of the time the whole time he was sleeping.

Now I take a few minutes on Sunday and schedule what I plan to do during each nap time throughout the week.  I enter it all in my Google calendar.  Jame’s naps aren’t always at the exact same time, but he always takes two right now and they’re roughly at 9 and 1:30, so I just use those times on my calendar.

Obviously things change throughout the week, so each night I look at what I’ve planned for the next day and adjust as needed.

2. Don’t save everything for nap time

Sometimes I’ve planned to get something done during nap time, but then I look around and the house is chaos and I decide to spend *just a few minutes* straightening up.  It’s never just a few minutes.  Even if it is, that’s still time I could have used toward whatever I planned.

So I really try to do that straightening up when James is awake.  It is a more efficient use of my time and I also think it’s beneficial to show even very young children that cleaning up is a part of playing and a part of life.  Sometimes it’s comical trying to put things away with my little sidekick following me around “fixing” everything, but I just remind myself that I have all the time I need.  I also do things like folding laundry while James is playing next to me.  Some chores, like sweeping and mopping, are pretty impossible with a baby nearby, but I am often surprised by how much I can get done while he’s happily playing in the living room or kitchen.

3. Divide the time

I’ve pretty much come to terms with the fact that I will never again be fully caught up on everything, at least not for eighteen years or so.  Housework is pretty quickly undone around here, and that’s okay, it’s just part of this (mostly really fun) stage.  Still, I don’t want to spend every minute of James’s nap time cleaning, that’s just no fun and it would leave no time for things I love (like writing this blog!)

So I roughly divide what I work on by his two naps.  I generally use his morning nap for computer projects, like the blog, freelance writing, working on his baby book, planning trips, emails, etc.  I then use his afternoon nap for cleaning and prepping dinner.  This helps the house not get too out of control, but also ensures I have time to work on other things.

This also works for me because I’m a big time morning person, so it makes sense to do the things that require thought / creativity in the morning.  I think it helps to figure out what time of day you do your best work.

Obviously he won’t always take two naps.  When he moves down to one nap, I’ll probably either divide the time in half, or alternate days, depending on how long his nap winds up being.

4. Commit to relaxation

While it’s tempting to use every second of every nap trying to catch up, that would make me crazy.  Everyone needs some time to just chill (and we’ve already established we’re never catching up anyway, so might as well take a break).

I usually use at least one Friday nap and read a book.  This is one of my favorite times of the week.  It feels luxurious to sit with a book in the middle of the morning and it’s something nice to look forward to at the end of the week.  Because I’ve planned it ahead of time, I have an easier time just relaxing instead of thinking about everything I should be doing instead.

5. Be flexible

This is definitely the hardest for me.  While I do think it really helps to have a plan, obviously baby isn’t in on this plan and he may only sleep for thirty minutes, regardless of what you need to get done.

One thing that helps me with this is setting a minimum nap time.

I didn’t do this when he was younger, and would often wake up crying, but now I pretty much always make nap time at least an hour, even if he wakes up sooner.  He stays in his bed until it has been an hour (this isn’t a hard and fast rule, I would certainly go check on him if he was really upset).  He usually just talks to himself in his bed when this happens, and sometimes even falls back to sleep!

How do you maximize your time, any tricks?

Are you a morning or night person?

Parenting from the Inside Out by Dan Siegel, MD: Join me for a Book Group

This book provides insight into the way our own childhood shapes the way we parent. Working with our own story and forming a deeper understanding of our experiences is the first step in raising happy and healthy children. Please join me in a guided reading, with journal writing and refection with this powerful book. We will dig into our own stories and experiences.

About the book:

How many parents have found themselves thinking: I can’t believe I just said to my child the very thing my parents used to say to me! Am I just destined to repeat the mistakes of my parents? In Parenting from the Inside Out, child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences actually do shape the way we parent. Drawing upon stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

This group will meet every other week- location TBD. We will have online discussion between meetings.  Note that if you are unable to attend the  meetings in person, a virtual meeting option is available.

Please contact me to join a group with this amazing book.



Fill Your Ears and Heart With Supportiveness: New Parent Podcasts

Amaya LynneBabies and little ones are searching for a safe person, from the moment they arrive. And our tone and even eye contact are so much more than the words we say.  I love the gentleness and love communicated in the voices of Patty Wipfler and others in the podcast series known at Hand in Hand New Parent Podcasts. They include podcasts for new fathers. Best of all, they are free and easy to access: check them out now!

Why Telling Your Story Is Important

We all have a story: how did we get where we are now, who made a difference in our lives and what choices did we make along the way? We might not be conscious of the story but it plays a part in what we do. As parents, this story gains even more power. Suddenly it has the potential to be a script for how we parent. As Dan Siegel writes in Parenting from the Inside Out:

“If we have leftover or unresolved issues, it is crucial that we take the time to pause and reflect on our emotional responses to our children. By understanding ourselves, we give our children the chance to develop their own sense of vitality and the freedom to experience their own emotional worlds without restrictions and fear.”

To look at our story, we need space and safety. One of the things I love the most about Hand in Hand Parenting tools is the safety built into each class, with the listening ears of a confidential and warm group of leaders and parents. During the class, we look at our own experiences. Sometimes this is a chance to bring some old part of our story into the light where it can be safely examined. This is how we think more clearly about our life as parents.

Please contact me if you would like more information about upcoming classes or workshops. I have some scholarships available so the classes can be available to everyone.

You can also see these links:

Upcoming 6 week class, starting Oct. 26

Listening partner workshop, October 12


Get Support And Connect

Parenting by Connection series

This class will provide you with brain-based tools and the support you need to use them. In the process, youll change your family life to make it feel more connected. This 6-week jump-start series will be transformative.

6 tools needed to raise a happy child
Why your child has tantrums and how you can respond to them
How your childs emotions work
How to heal your child’s fears
How to help an angry child become playful and compassionate
How to build support so you can do your best thinking, more often

Meets 5 Thursdays, 10-11:45. starting Oct. 26. During the week of Thanksgiving, class members will receive a free consultation to replace class that week! The last class is November 30, and you will start the winter with a warm glow in your family. Cost is $180 with materials, (*I offer a discount if you have previously received the class materials, and returning students are welcomed!!)


SIGN UP HERE, and start getting support to build warmth in your family:

Infant Massage Instruction

Infant massage is a tool for early connection and brain development.

  • Improves communication in your baby’s first language – touch – their most developed sense at birth
  • Strengthens and enhances the parent/baby relationship and bonding time
  • Promotes and optimizes baby’s brain and self regulation development
  • Research proven to help improve quality of baby’s sleep, and thus parent’s too!
  • Excellent for fathers & mothers to develop & deepen secure attachment with their baby
  • Reduces the symptoms of colic, gas and teething pain (research proven!)
  • Relaxes and lowers stress – for both babies and parents
  • Provides additional ways to respond to your baby’s cues with nurturing parenting skills
  • Confidence building through cultivating and practicing attuned parenting
  • Learn ways to adapt the massage to your growing child’s needs to communicate for years to come

Contact me to set up a private or small group session. Skype instruction is available.


Parenting by Connection Starter Class: FALL 2017

This class will provide you with  brain-based tools and the support you need to use them. In the process, you’ll change your family life to make it feel more connected. This 6-week jump-start series will be transformative.

  • 6 tools needed to raise a happy child
  • Why your child throws tantrums and how you can respond to them
  • How your child’s emotions work
  • How to heal your child’s fears
  • How to help an angry child become playful and compassionate
  • How to build support so you can do your best thinking, more often

Please join me Thursdays from 10-11:45 AM, beginning August 31 for this life-changing experience. You will also receive a set of books and access to an online classroom with video material.

Class meetings August 31, September 7, 14, and 28 (NO CLASS on Sept. 20), Oct 5 and 12.


Click here to register:

Listening Partnership Workshops

Please join me this summer for a listening partnership workshop series. A listening partnership is a tool for creating safety and support for yourself as a parent and person. While it is not complicated, it is so different from the kind of listening we usually do. The workshop introduces the concept and gives you some practice. Come for a three week series, or drop in as you can. It will be worthwhile.


Where: BloomLab Conference Room, 2921 E. 17th St. Building D, Austin, Texas

When: 10-11:30 Monday mornings  June 12, 26,  July 3

Cost: $10 per workshop

Please contact or text 512-350-2815 to RSVP

More about Listening Partnership here:

How is listening time more beneficial than talking with mom friends?

And in this short video:

Listening Partnership 


Early Communication Class, forming soon

Babies are nourished by our eye contact and gentle communication. Developing a routine where we connect with eye contact and touch is an incredible tool for building attachment and contingent communication.

In this multi-week class for parents and babies,  you will learn the simple and powerful tool of touch communication and other approaches to get you started as a connected parent. You will get support for your journey as a parent. Mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents are all welcome and encouraged! I promise that this will be a formative and powerful experience for you and your child.

Class meets from 10 -11:30 AM, for a total of 5 weeks, at the PeopleFund building on E. 17th in Austin. Cost is $75 for the series.

If you are interested in learning more, please sign up at this link, and I will be in touch very soon. Thank you!

Sign up here!!