Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here's What's Working at Our House

Every one of my children has reached a point when they haven't wanted to take naps any more. Without fail, this has hit at a time when I need them to nap. I feel like I have tried everything as the years have gone by to extend an afternoon rest time just a few days, weeks, or months more.

With T, this is no exception. A few months before L was born, he decided that naps were for babies, and he was no longer a baby but a big boy. {{Cue internal scream.}} Timing was just lousy.

Along with the idea of never doing for a child what he can do for himself, I firmly believe that we are sent here to use our agency, so children should be given the chance to choose whenever possible and appropriate. As I was trying to figure out just how to get T to continue with nap time for just a little longer, I took this idea into account.

Although L is sleeping through the night fairly consistently (the last five nights)--everybody give it up for L!--T falls apart right around dinner time if he doesn't rest during the day. For this reason, here's what we've found works.

I do not lie to T; I just simply say that it's quiet time. With this announcement come choices. He can have reading time, play time, or nap time. If he chooses reading time, I haul the big crate of books in his room. I read him one and leave the rest for him. The only rule is that he must return whatever he's not reading to the bin. If he wants play time, we go down to the toy closet, I give him a bin and tell him to fill it with whatever toys he wants to play with during quiet time. We then take the bin to his room, and I read him a book. Same rule about returning toys to the bin as with the books. If he wants nap time, I read a book to him, he prays and I sing him a song.

No matter what he chooses, I read him a book, he prays, I sing. When I leave the room, I ask him if he wants the door open. If he says yes, I remind him that it's quiet time and that he needs to be very quiet so L can sleep. So far, without fail, he's changed his mind to have the door closed, so he can be loud. I also tell him, before I leave that if at any point he gets tired, he can climb into his bed and go to sleep, "but you don't have to."

Since starting this technique, I have found him sleeping in his bed all covered up and comfy each day for the last two weeks. I also need to add here that I try very hard to fill T's mornings with lots of up and moving activities. Yesterday, for example, we went to the zoo. He practically stumbled out of there by the time we were done; needless to say, he didn't need toys or books. Yesterday, he chose to make it a nap day.

Quite honestly, I don't care if he sleeps. I figure when the day comes that he's really not tired, I'll find him awake, but so far, so good.


Meagan said...

My daughter just turned one and is taking only one nap a day (around 10:45). Although she goes to bed around 7, it's a tough last few hours. So I instigated quiet time where I put her in her crib with some toys and a book on tape and she'll usually play for an hour or so. It's amazing and I'm a definite convert.

Small House said...

My kids are teenagers, but I remember when they were small...and sometimes you just do what you need to do to make it work. CUTE kids. Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

That's a GREAT idea Julie. I did something similar with my kids and it really helped! You know how I love flowers, so that picture of him next to the flower garden is beautiful! He also looks like an angel sleeping here. Sweet post. Thanks for the linky love with my link button! You're a gem.

Anonymous said...

I love sleeping kids!!! I probably check on my kids 2-3 times before I head to bed just so I can watch them sleep. They look so peaceful. That sound slike a good technique--and one that I will probably need with Cole, once we move to somewhere with more space.

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