A couple of months ago Seth decided he didn’t want to take naps anymore. It was becoming a battle to get him to sleep every afternoon. I had known that this was going to happen sometime, but I was honestly dreading the day that it did.
Like most mommas of littles I cherish nap-time. It was a moment of calm in the middle of sometimes crazy days. It was a time for me to nap myself and catch up on sleep, lost by getting up with the toddler in the middle of the night. It was a time for me to listen to the stillness of the house and drink four sips of coffee before one of the boys woke up.
Nap-time at our house was needed. How was I going to survive without it? Thankfully, I did have some ideas lined up ahead of time. Here are some things that I have found helpful on this transition from nap-time to rest-time. I hope these helps you and your toddler or preschooler to make this next step as smooth as possible.
1. Have special rest-time toys.
I like to rotate the toys we use for rest-time. The toys that are in Momma and Daddy’s room are not allowed to be played with outside of rest-time. Now, sometimes the boys do sneak in there and try to rescue some of the rest-time toys, that is usually a sign to rotate the toys out and put the toys that they had been playing with in the rest-time corner. These quiet time bins would be great to keep you all organized, especially if you have littles who like a little more variety. The pictures in this post are some of our favorite rest time toys: a tractor that can haul Lincoln Logs, sewing cards and a random assortment of animals and Veggie Tales characters.
2. Go to your local library and get a big stack of “rest-time books”.
We love, love, LOVE our local library! They know us by name and always take time to talk with the boys. We get lots of books there, keeping a couple of the library books out specially for rest-time keeps Seth busier and quieter a little longer.
3. Make a special bed.
Seth’s special bed is in a corner of our bedroom. Sometimes during rest-time he decides that laying down for a few minutes might not be so bad, so he uses he special bed. Every once in a while he actually falls asleep.
4. Encourage naps every once in a while.
When I do have Seth take a nap I try to put the request/command in a positive manner- “I want you to take a nap today so we can have a really fun day tomorrow”, “Lets take a nap so you can stay up with Daddy and watch a movie tonight” or “You seem to be having a hard day today, I think a nap would really help our day to go smoother”. This keeps nap-time positive, instead of being veiwed as a punishment.
5. Use a timer or alarm clock.
Seth does rest-time in our room while I lay down. He knows that he has to be quiet and whisper until the alarm goes off. After that, rest time is over and he can come talk to momma.
6. Have time to wind down before rest-time.
We use a block schedule and this is generally how our lunch hour goes:
*10-15 minutes free play
*Read to Cameron, Seth sits on couch or plays quietly on the floor
*Cameron nurses and gets put to bed
*Read two chapters in a book
*Seth goes potty
It takes about one hour, but both boys are usually yawning or slowing down by reading time and definitley ready for a break. If we go straight from lunch to rest-time there are temper tantrums and crying fits. So skip those outbursts and give your little one time to calm down and relax before rest-time.
7. Make sure your child goes potty right before rest-time.
Otherwise momma just gets to sleep and a boy doing the potty dance wakes her up. It’s happened often here.
8 No hungry bellies or dry mouths.
Do you like going to bed hungry or thirsty? Don’t make you child. Allow a small sip of water or a small snack if you have a late morning/late afternoon rest-time.
9. Slowly lengthen rest-time.
At first Seth could barely make it twenty minutes. He didn’t know how to play quietly by himself for that long. So we slowly lengthened rest-time and now he can last at least forty-five minutes. As a bonus his imagination has been re-awakened and he isn’t constantly asking for movies or cartoons. Hallelujah!
10. Have fun after rest time.
Go to the library, make cookies, let the neighbor kids come over, etc. It makes your toddler’s and preschooler’s day so much more exciting and helps them to get through rest-time knowing there is fun afterwards.
I hope these tips help you in this sometimes frustrating transition between nap-time and rest-time.