Mom Tip Monday – Rest Time for Non-Nappers

by Heligirl on September 13, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

Today I’m unveiling a new addition to Heligirl – Mom Tip Monday. I’ve received so much feedback these past few months in response to my periodic positive parenting articles, I’ve decided to make them a little more regular and predictable for everyone.

So from now on, every Monday here on Heligirl you’ll find an article, resource or guest post with great advice and insight I’ve learned in my training, reading and experience with positive discipline, positive parenting and compassionate parenting.

If you don’t want to miss a single word, please be sure to sign up for the RSS feed or even subscribe to have the posts sent to your e-mail.

And, as always, if you have a specific topic you’d really like me to cover, please do send me an e-mail with your request. If I can’t find an answer, I might be able to find someone willing to guest post who does.

Rest Time Routines for Non-Nappers

Saturday Wenmei commented on my Confessions post, where I admitted I needed a new plan to keep energy throughout the day. She mentioned that she recently had an “a-ha” moment when she realized her son was an introvert like her, needing quiet and alone time to recharge his batteries, just like her. Now if she could only find that time for her to recharge.

I was so excited about Wenmei’s discovery I had to share it and offer insight about how we can help all our kids get that valuable time even if they’re no longer napping.

Routines are essential for children. They provide predictability and security. When a child knows what to expect, and what is expected, they feel safe and secure in their daily lives. Anyone who has taken a child out of a predictable environment knows this first hand.

The same goes for nap routines.

When I started taking Sweetness to daycare two days a week last January, she’d pretty much decided she was done with naps at the ripe old age of 2 years and three months. But the in-home daycare had a routine all children followed. At 2 p.m., after lunch and story time, everyone laid down for nap time for 90 minutes or so. For the older kids that didn’t want naps, the time is called “quiet rest time.”

The report I got back was Sweetness sat happily in her Pack-n-Play and talked to herself or read books. At home I’d tried putting her in her room, but she talked, got up and got books, got toys and turned on the light. I was getting frustrated constantly going in and taking the books and toys away and turning off the light, thinking I was encouraging her to nap. I was so wrong. She just needed quiet time and I almost made that a negative experience.

After hearing about what was going so well at daycare, I decided to give it a try.

Now just before 2 p.m. (in order to keep a routine in sync with daycare) I tell Sweetness that we have five more minutes until rest time. I rarely get any complaints. When it’s time, she walks with me into her room. Sometimes she requests a story. Then I turn off the lights and close the door. Often she’ll get up and grab some books. I watch on the monitor and she happily reads to herself, or plays with a puzzle. And she’ll do it for 90 minutes or so. If she turn on the light, I’ll leave it on.

This has allowed me to also have either valuable alone time (if Mr. Man happens to nap that afternoon) or special time with just Mr. Man (another valuable positive discipline strategy). And since we’ve gotten very serious about the regular “rest time,” Sweetness has started napping again. Out of the blue, she’s napping during that time 4-5 days a week.

Granted, she may be making another growth or cognitive leap which is causing the need for afternoon naps. However, if I’d not been keeping with a regular nap-like routine, I shutter at the thought of the power struggles we’d be having had I suggested she needed a nap after so long without a “nap time.”

So my advice to parents of children who have bucked the nap (for now) is to develop a routine of rest time. Let them sit in bed and read or play. It’s up to them if they want to nap or simply chill out. Just as we need a little down time in the afternoon to recharge, so do they. And if you get to put your feet up, have a cup of tea or even read a bit during that time, all the better.

Did you like this article and the idea of Mom Tip Monday? If so, won’t you please consider sharing it with a tweet, Facebook posting or contribute it to StumbleUpon to help get the word out. Thanks!


JP September 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

I am going up to Ct to visit my kids this weekend & am going to pass on your lesson…hopefully they will listen (new parents that know everything)…:) JP
JP recently posted: A Night on the Town

Twitter: Heligirl
September 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

Thanks JP. Mighty kind of you. Also, have a great trip!

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) September 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I love the idea of Mom Tip Monday! Great job Jen! Oh yes…in some serious need of afternoon rest time over here. I can still get my daughter to nap but my son has given it up long ago. He is 5.5 now and still needs some quiet time. I encourage him to read or play quietly and it usually works.
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Twitter: Heligirl
September 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Great news that you can still get the little man to take the quiet time. Sometimes I wonder if mommy doesn’t need it just as bad around these here parts. 🙂

Jeannette September 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I have chosen you for an award here:
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September 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Thanks Jeannette!

Twitter: rachael1013
September 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I’m going to have to remember this for my youngest. My oldest stopped napping when he was not even 2. We still had some downtime in the afternoon, but it didn’t last long. My baby is only 4 months, so it’ll be a while, but I would like to do something like this with him when the time comes.
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September 14, 2010 at 7:44 pm

It’s been a great thing for us. I’ve noticed our evenings can be much less frustrating when my daughter takes the time to just quietly play and recharge. When she wasn’t doing that, she was so tired by dinner time there was a lot of foot dragging and power struggles just for the sake of having them sometimes. I could tell she was just beat. Good luck with the little one. Some days I miss those snuggley months.

Melissa {adventuroo} September 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

I love the idea of Mom Tip Monday! Big Roo naps at daycare but rarely naps for us at home. We still do quiet time like this and he’ll play in his room. Not only does it give us mommies a break, I think it also teaches them to play by themselves instead of having to be entertained.

Love forward to your next tip!

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