Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving up naptime

When I was a Pre-K teacher my class took an afternoon nap every day. They needed it; and almost every day every single one of those children slept. They were 4 years old and as soon as their heads hit their cots they were down for the count.

My son is three and a half and is desperately trying to give up his one and only nap. He tells me every day that he is not tired and that he does not want to go to sleep. And every day that he does not nap he gets cranky, sassy, and temperamental. It is not good for anyone. He so obviously needs his afternoon nap, but it is war to get him to lie down.

Some days I will lie down with him and cross my fingers that this does the trick. There is a 50/50 chance that this will succeed. When I can get him to sleep, I may or may not take a nap right along with him {you know you miss nap time- don’t judge me}. On days where he is too ramped up to sleep I tell him he can play quietly in his room until nap-time is over.

My definition of quiet play and my son’s definition of quiet play are two very different things. To me quiet play is whisper voices, books, and non-electrical toys. To my son quiet time means jumping on the bed, pressing every button within a 10 foot radius to hear what noise it makes, and singing to his trains. Obviously these definitions of quiet time are not harmonious.  

On days that my son does not nap I can pretty much guarantee that it will be a short nap time for everyone. This is due to my son’s “quiet” playing and his proximity to his little brother –right next door. Because it is not bad enough when one child has not slept, let’s make it more fun by having two little ones who are in need of sleep.

So… what is to be done about this whole giving up nap thing? I know that some children give up naps all together around age 4, but I would really really REALLY like to hold onto nap-time as long as possible. He so clearly needs to sleep and I so clearly need the quiet time.

Do I cross my fingers and hope that he falls asleep every day? Do I take all noisy toys out of his room? Do I have him run laps around the house right before nap-time in the hopes that he will tire quickly? Do I pray for a miracle {that he WANTS to sleep}?

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