Naptime a Necessity? How to Get the Most Persistent Child to Sleep
How to Get the Most Stubborn Child to Take a Nap
Here is an interesting story I wrote in my journal after I began my new role as a stay at home dad. Hidden in the humor is a very practical tool for overcoming a difficult situation. Maybe this will help you as well...
October 10, 2007
Naptime was a challenge my first week as fulltime dad. Well, not with Joe. That boy loves his sleep. He is only 15 months and sleep is still very important to him. Abby, however, is three now and beginning to resist naps more and more. My clever idea of letting Abby watch television for 15-30 minutes when I put her down for her nap turned out to be a big mistake. I would set the timer and it was understood that she was to "close her eyes and go to sleep" when her TV shut off. This worked well for a few weeks until one day I realized she had been in bed for about an hour and I could still hear her television. Quietly, I ascended the stairs to peek into her room without her knowledge. There she was, sitting on the edge of her bed watching Tom and Jerry, which happens to be her favorite cartoon.
Instead of reprimanding her for disobeying, I slipped back downstairs to see what she would do. As soon as the movie ended, she shut off her TV and came downstairs. I asked her, as I always do, "Did you have a good nap?"
She looked up at me with those innocent, big green eyes and said, "Of course I did dad." I suppressed a smile and tried to decide if she was brilliant or incredibly sneaky. After three or four days of my sweet little baby girl ‘secretly' turning her TV back on I devised a plan that has been working well ever since.
We no longer have naptime at our house. We now have "quiet time."
The first couple of days after naptime was abolished I was asked the same question, "Daddy, can I watch a lil' bit of TV when I take my nap?" I wish you could hear the sweetness in her voice. Only three years of age and already trying to work dear old dad with her charms. She is so cute!
"Oh no, baby girl," I say, "We don't have nap time any more, this is quiet time. If we turn on the TV it won't be quiet sweetie."
"But Daaad-dee, I just want to watch a little tiny bit of TV. Please daddy, please?"
After a few minutes of pleading, I could see there would be no easy concession this time, so I did the one thing I absolutely hate to do. I am almost ashamed to admit it; yes, reverse psychology.
"As soon as quiet time is over baby, I promise. Now you lay there, and don‘t you dare close those eyes! I mean it, just lay there and stay quiet! Don‘t you go to sleep!" (she is giggling now)
"I won't daddy!" she says giggling a little more. Ten minutes later she was out. Mission accomplished.
‘Quiet time' is still the way we handle naptime here. The length of the naps are not as great as they used to be, but they are still oh so necessary. My little princess is not so sweet when she hasn't had her nap!