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The Nap Time Myth Pt. 2

This post is part 2 of a 3 part series called "The Nap Time Myth". See part 1 here.
Our children successfully stayed on this schedule (after lunch until mid-afternoon, roughly 12-3) for a number of years. Lukka gave up his nap completely around 2 1/2 years old, and we never told him he didn't have to nap. Just because he is awake, does not mean he can't play in his room quietly, read books, or develop his imagination with the rotating toys I select every couple of weeks. Although the few weeks of potty training aside (while he was not napping, but still in his room), the hardest part of the transition was about a week of consistent discipline for coming out of his room. There are about an infinite amount of ways to train a child to comply with your rules, and it depends on a) the personality of the child b) the type of discipline you choose and c) what matters to your child as far as rewards, incentives, or 'favorites' (i.e. a favorite teddy). 

 Lukka has had 2 1/2 years of no-napping but consistent nap time, or quiet time, and the amount of positive influence we see in him is incredible. Anikka just recently gave up her nap at age 3, and though the training process took her a little bit longer to catch on to, she is doing just fine in her quiet time with her dollies, books, and hair clips (her other favorite toys!). Both of them together have a 2 1/2 hour quiet time, everyday, at the same time, and it is expected. It's not even negotiated, it's "this is a rule of our house, it's an expectation, therefore you will do it". 

Having this mentality is key. If it's not a high expectation, consistency will diminish, and so will your grand plans of having any amount of free time to yourself before their bedtime. I see countless parents who are exhausted to the nth degree, because they do not make their children have a quiet time. Two year olds are not, generally, pleasant to be around for 12-13 hours straight, 7 days a week, and heaven help me if I was ever expected to watch one that long without a rest myself. The short answer is: I wouldn't. Children and adults need to rest their bodies, and their minds (slower pace, etc.) for some amount of time during the day or we can all end up feeling frazzled, stress, and annoyed. If you want this to happen in your family you must Must MUST be consistent until your child understands that it is a rule that enforced in your house. 

Which brings me to my "what not to say" portion. Please don't ever tell me that "your kids are so good, because mine just won't do that". Perhaps they won't ever nap again, so yes, that might be true, but my kids don't (and won't) naturally stay in their rooms because they choose to. They do it because that is the expectation, and they aren't getting out of it

I hate this type of comment for a number of reasons. For one, it assumes that children are naturally good beings. I disagree with this because I do not recognize that any human is naturally good and that the environment makes them do wrong. Secondly, it assumes that my children are better than other children because they can understand stated rules and follow through better than others. This isn't true either, I've just made it a point to train them with consistency (that did involve sweat and a few blood was shed!). Lastly, it makes me and the work I do seem like it was just a fluke that happened to my family. The countless HOURS (hundreds?! It often times felt like that) I've spent explaining, emphasizing, encouraging, and training my children to follow this rule is not because of some fluke. It's because I care what the outcome looks like, and I've made it a point to do something about it! If you don't mind that your child does not do this, that is your own prerogative for your own reasons and family goals, and I think that is fine and dandy, but by no means were these 'easy children' put into my family and 'I'm just so lucky they turned out like this'. 

What's lucky is that we're still friends.      Kidding.       Sorta.
Until part 3....


Kerri said…
Amen, sistah! And booyah to enforced nap/quiet times.
Can't wait for part 3! :)
charliegirlblog said…
wise words mama :-)
Beck Lawson said…
I am trying to learn from you! Feel like I'm failing miserably iwoth my first, but you have such good ideas! You're a great mom and mentor!!
RT said…
So so good, Sarah! I'm reminded now of how much time and training went into enforcing a Quiet Time in our house. Even with my big kid, we do QTs when she is not at school and it's crucial for the whole fam.

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