Shhh!! Don’t make any sudden movements! The baby has finally gone down for a nap, and you’ve crept away, praying that you don’t accidentally stand on the creaky floorboard. You watch those tiny, chubby hands, relaxed now above your baby’s head, and are almost tempted to go back in just to give them a little kiss, because you miss them already.
But what now?
Well, first of all, you have to hope that the postman doesn’t choose this moment to deliver a parcel. It’s a weird freak of science and nature that delivery people seem to be attracted to doors that have sleeping babies behind them. If you get over that hurdle, brilliant, you’re halfway there.
If, as I suspect, because I’ve been there and done it, you are now standing on the landing, listening to the silence of the house, wondering what you are meant to do now, then fear not. I understand your predicament. The ‘experts’ will tell you to ‘rest when your baby rests’, but let’s face it, that never happens does it? You’re too wired from the thrill of having successfully completed operation nap time, there’s no way you’re going to sleep now but what to do while your baby naps?
You could get on with a few chores, or batch cook a week of lasagnes, (haha!), but you don’t want to make too much noise and wake the baby up again. (The noise problem is definitely the reason for not batch cooking the lasagnes.)
What you need instead are some ideas for simple, stress free things to do while your baby has a nap, so that you get some well earned relaxation time but also feel like you’ve achieved something. It’s always annoying to hear your baby wake up again and realise you’ve spent the whole time looking at cat videos.
So, let’s say you’ve got around 30-60 minutes; here are 17 things to do while your baby naps. Some of them might be ongoing projects, but it will feel lovely to have something that you know you can come back to whenever you have a bit of time to yourself.
Create a Pinterest board of ideas while your baby naps
Because we all need a plan right? If you’re new to the whole ‘doing something for yourself during nap time’ idea, then this could be a way to ease yourself in gently, as it’s not too dissimilar from watching the cat videos, but will give you something to show for it at the end. Start by pinning this article, obviously, (we made the nice picture above for you), and then broaden your search to include craft ideas, mini DIY projects, recipes – whatever floats your boat.
To get you started, I’ve put together my own Pinterest board called ‘Things to do while your baby has a nap.’ It includes links to tutorials for lots of the things I suggest in this post, so if any of these ideas inspire you, do check it out for more information.
Make a cup of tea and drink it while it’s hot
When I did a quick poll on Twitter for ideas, the most common response, apart from have a poo on your own, was to have a cup of tea and actually get to drink it. There is something very soothing about the whole ritual of tea making, especially if you go with leaves and a teapot. It’s basically mindfulness – warming the pot, swirling the water around, pouring, sipping slowly – lovely. Tip: avoid whistling kettles.
Make a macrame plant hanger
Honestly, trust me on this one, macrame is cool. The 1970s have come around again, and all the trendy people are knotting hangers for their spider plants. Macrame is dead simple, and an ideal activity for when your baby is having a nap as it’s easy to pick up and put down at any point.
Write a love letter
Can you remember the last time you actually picked up a pen and wrote a letter? Probably best not to think about it, or to look at your handwriting too carefully. Your love letter could be to anyone – maybe your partner, who could probably do with a little reassurance with a new baby in your life, a parent, a child, or even yourself, reminding yourself what a great job you’re doing. You might not even ever send it, or read it again, but the act of writing is a very therapeutic one.
Start a scrapbook
You’ve probably taken about 2.3million pictures of your baby already, but how many of these are stored just on your phone? Although it’s handy to be able to scroll through them whenever you fancy, having special photos and memories in a physical book makes them extra special.
Connect with nature
Getting outside and connecting with nature is great for your physical and mental health, so why not pop out and do a spot of weeding? If you don’t have a garden or don’t want to leave your baby indoors alone, you can get the same warm feeling from spending a bit of time with your houseplants, watering them, feeding them, and generally having a bit of a chat while your baby naps.
Make some string art
Prepare to be blown away by the amazing things you can make with string. I know – I never realised either! Crazy times.
Write a bucket list
This might seem an odd one when you currently take two hours to even leave the house, but there will be a time in the future where you get a little bit of your life back, and it’s important not to forget that. A list of things you’d really like to do can be a great way to focus and give you something to look forward to. They don’t have to be huge ambitions either. One of the items on my list of 40 things to do before I’m 40 is to make my own lemon curd.
Crochet a sloth
Or any other sort of critter for that matter, but sloths are pretty cute aren’t they? If you can’t crochet, it’s very straightforward, and there are loads of tutorials online. You just need to master a few of the basics and away you go.
Make an origami prawn
Did you know that origami is the new colouring in? No? Well, you do now. You’re welcome. I personally love a bit of origami, and made my first origami prawn several years ago. I’ve always been ahead of the trends like that though. (Not really. I just find that if I wait long enough, stuff I like eventually becomes fashionable.) Check out my Pinterest board for instructions.
Build a terrarium
Terrariums are the height of cool at the moment. Honestly, if you don’t have a terrarium or at least a lone succulent in your Instagram pictures, you’re basically nobody. They are very easy to make and to care for, so you don’t have to worry too much if you forget to water it. (Which I definitely would.)
Tie dye with ice
I’m pretty sure we all tie-dyed something as teenagers – it was a standard school craft project when I was growing up. Have you ever tried tie-dying with ice? These cushion covers are gorgeous.
Phone a friend
Facebook is all well and good, but do you remember those days when we used to just phone people and chat for an hour and hang up feeling refreshed and happy? That smartphone that you watch the cat videos on – that makes calls too you know. Fancy.
Practice some yoga
Great for your core strength, as well as your mental health, there are loads of yoga poses and workouts especially designed for new mums. There are even poses you can do with your baby, so this doesn’t even have to be a purely nap time activity.
Knit some baby duck socks
Oh my God, I think I just felt one of my ovaries explode. Booties that you look like duck feet. *faints*
Upcycle a lightbulb
God, have you not upcycled a lightbulb yet? Have you been living in a cave? It’s what all the cool kids are doing don’t you know. (Which it’s probably why I’ve not done it yet.) These lightbulb upcycling ideas do look pretty fun though.
Start a blog
If only you knew someone who wrote an award-winning parenting blog, who could give you a few tips… Dur! That’s me! Honestly, get in touch if you do want any advice. A blog is a brilliant hobby, and can even become a business if you work hard at it.
And that’s it – 17 ideas for cool things to do while your baby has a nap. What’s your favourite nap time activity?