April 24, 2007

WFMW – Napping through the Terrible Twos

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:02 pm by ogle3

Naptime was a HUGE challenge for us once Peyton learned how to (a) keep himself awake and (b) climb out of his crib.  He didn’t want to nap anymore, but he always got grouchy and tired in the evening.  He needed naptime, and WE needed naptime!  What will I do without it?  Many people were telling me that he didn’t need naps anymore, but after teaching pre-school, where all kids, whether aged 2 or 5, were required to at least lie still for 1 1/2 hours each day, I knew he could do it.  Also, we weren’t sure what was going to happen this past 06-07 school year since we didn’t know if James would be able to stay home while I was teaching, as we had been doing for several years.  I knew he needed naps, I didn’t want Peyton to cause trouble during pre-school naptime, and I needed him to nap, so we “pressed on toward the goal,” to take Philipians 3 way out of context. 

And after today, I am reminded of how glad I am that we did stick with naptime.  Today Daddy had to be at work earlier than usual, so Peyton only napped for an hour today.  When I picked him up from the sitter three hours later, he was tired, cranky, and ready for bed.  We made a quick stop at the grocery store and he cried the whole time “I’m tired!  I’m tired!” 

So how did we do it?  Routine and blackout shades.  We eat, we read a book, we pray, we sing a song, then we shut the door and he goes to sleep.  We bought blackout fabric from JoAnn’s fabrics and the clip-style drapery rings from Target for a no-sew insta-dark bedroom.  At our old house I sewed a decorative curtain that hung in front of the plain white blackout curtain, but I left my sewing machine in California, and when I got a new one I broke it with super-heavy-duty bobbin thread, so a more decorate curtain is still in the works. 

What about when he fights?  Don’t give up!  The dark room and the routine remind him it’s time for nap, so he isn’t shocked when the door closes.  He did fight with all of his 28 pounds until he realized we weren’t giving up, so he eventually gave in.  It was a huge struggle for a while, but thanks to Nanny 911 or SuperNanny, most days he ended up falling asleep after being put back into his bed the 20 times that he’d come out.  Spanking would just escalate a situation that we were trying to calm down, so we just calmly, silently put him back in his bed every time he came out.  Eventually he quit coming out.  Another tactic that helped to wean him from being rocked or held to sleep (I know!  What were we thinking!) was sitting a little bit farther from him every night until I was in the doorway, then the door half closed, and then we were free. 

Now that we’ve put in the hours to make naptime successful we can enjoy the benefits.  Daddy handles naptime during the week while Mommy’s teaching, and Mommy handles bedtime in the evenings and nap on the weekends, and both truly appreciate the time to rest, read, grade, or clean, not to mention the happy little face that lasts the rest of the afternoon until 8:00 bedtime.  Also, his babysitters love him because he’s so complicit during bed and naptime, so they never have to fight him to go to sleep.

Holding onto naps through the terrible twos TOTALLY works for me!  For more Works for me Wednesday tips, visit Rocks in My Dryer!

Two Sidenotes – Here’s a pic of Peyton when one night he ventured forth from the bedroom after the hour of sleep time.  He dared not make his non-sleeping presence known to Mother and Father, and thus fell into his rest.  Amen.

Hallway Sleeper

Note #2: Family and friends should check the previous post so our church can enjoy properly tuned guitar music (church’s guitar falls out of tune between each song).

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16 Comments »

  1. Overwhelmed! said,

    Thankfully, our son has always enjoyed his sleep and hasn’t really fought naps too badly. We did have a bit of an adjustment period when we first switched him to a toddler bed. He thought that meant he could get out and play with his toys instead of nap. We did what you did…we put him back in bed several times (calmly but firmly telling him it was naptime, not playtime) and eventually he caught on and stopped trying to play.

    I hope we can keep our son taking his afternoon naps until he goes to Kindergarten (he’s 2 years old now)! 🙂

  2. Chrystal said,

    Great tip! My kids are great nappers but when the time change comes they get up when the sun comes up (too early). I didn’t even know that Joanne’s had that stuff! I’m getting some soon!

  3. Robin said,

    I’m a firm believer in naps. My little guy revs up when he doesn’t get his 2 hours in the afternoon. Something I would add, if naptime is a struggle, try starting the routine a little earlier. The later I try to get Grom down the harder it is.

  4. Congratulations on sticking with it and making it work! Lots of people give up too soon, and we’re not doing our kids any favors when we do. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jordan said,

    Great job! This is GREAT advice; I’m pretty much a nap Nazi. My almost-15 month old is starting to fight his PM nap when I let him sleep in; but we still have a late afternoon “crib time,” just to see if he’ll conk out.

    PS–totally have those PJs in Hayden’s size! See the first shot in this post.

  6. Jen said,

    My son napped ok until he was about 4, but my daughter gave up (or we let her give up her nap) when she was only 2 1/2 yrs old. She would have no problem getting to sleep and didn’t fight us at all, but she always woke up crankier than if she hadn’t taken one in the first place. Also she wouldn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11pm because she just wasn’t tired. We tried to push through and just keep going with the naps but it seemed like she was ready to give them up. Overall, she did better without a nap and was ready to go to bed by 7:30-8pm. This worked better for our family.

    Congratulations on making it work for you!

  7. Cammie said,

    Awesome! Naps have to happen in this house or I would go crazy! A cheap, albeit less attractive, option is tin foil to block out light. That is what we use and it works like a charm.

  8. J. Fergie said,

    Great tip! We are hanging on to naptime too. Our daughter is 2.5 years old and she is just adamant about staying awake, but like you said, it’s obvious that both she and “we” need her naptime!

  9. breederx said,

    Great post! Yup, naptime, has come to be one of my favorite times of the day for the three boys, and boy do they still need it, lol! 🙂 I am just starting to get the baby on a set time for his naps and they are all starting to nap “together” instead of in shifts, which has been really tiring, lol. You sound like you are doing a great job!

  10. Melissa said,

    I’m 110% with you on the nap thing! My soon to be 5 years olds still nap a few times a week (when not in school) and my 3 year old still naps everyday. People call me crazy, but really I’m just stubborn. No way are we ready to loose the afternoon break. I need a break from them. They need a break from each other. If they REALLY insist that they can’t sleep, then we do “quiet time” where they all play in their rooms by themselves with quiet toys only. This way we all still get a break, but we haven’t totally lost the routine of nap time.

  11. susan2009 said,

    I agree, these little ones need their naps. Even after they stopped napping, my children were required to stay in their room for an hour of quiet time. They needed this and so did I!

    Thanks for sharing your how-to’s. I’ll be passing this along to the new mommies in my church.

  12. Kim said,

    I might have to find some blackout fabric. We’re starting to have naptime woes at our house on weekends. She apparently naps without a problem at daycare during the week. Thanks for the ideas!

  13. Nikki said,

    I was just commenting to my hubby today about how my 5 year old son still needs naps and that I can’t believe people let their 2 year olds win the “naptime battle” and go without naps. It’s so obvious how much my 5 year old needs it that I can’t believe how horrible it would be if my 3 1/2 year old daughter weren’t napping or my 21 month old son gave it up. I suppose my 5 year old doesn’t know that other 5 year olds don’t nap. 🙂 Great post with excellent tips. I need to get some of that blackout fabric for the boys room.

  14. Amy said,

    I can’t believe how many moms say, “My son/daughter refused to take naps once he/she reached two.” Before I had kids of my own I thought that was a normal thing. I realize now that a lot of (not all) of those moms were giving into the battle. I admit that there was a span of one-two weeks of nightmarish nap rituals, including tantrums and screaming from my son, but I am happy to say that he takes a two hour nap everyday again since that time. It was hard, but it really is important for their growth and development to get the recommended sleep. Plus, we all need “mommy time” to catch up on cleaning, sleep, whatever. Our kids are so overly stimulated these days, and naps afford a chance to settle down and regroup.

  15. Maria Diaz said,

    Just Thanks a lot for sharing! I needed ideas and encoragmeny to make naps works.

  16. Kathryn said,

    I am a FIRM believer of nap time. We had story time, then quiet time every day (weekends included) up until the middle child was 7. Then we had the surprise youngest child and he kindof knocked my schedule off a bit. I may try to get the older ones back in the habit of one hour of quiet time after lunch. Every one can benefit from a nap – IMHO.

    On another note – isn’t the Supernanny, and Nanny 911 great. If for no other reason because you are able to say “at least mine aren’t THAT bad.”


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