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HomeBlogMommy DazeTransitioning out of naps — Mommy Daze

Transitioning out of naps — Mommy Daze

Bedtime at our house had become grueling. Despite sticking to usual routines, it seemed that our 4-year-old James just wasn’t tired at bedtime. Our two sons share a room so after the lights were off and the door was shut, it became playtime; telling jokes, throwing stuffed animals at each other, and sneaking out for “just one more trip to the potty” or “just one more drink of water” until next thing we knew it was 9 p.m. and we were making threats to take away their beds if they didn’t stay in them.

Naptime WIt had become pure mayhem. The mornings were becoming miserable too, with our 2-year-old, Luke, tired and groggy, falling asleep on the car-ride to his brother’s preschool at 8:30 a.m. Something had to change.

I’m somewhat like a toddler in that I don’t always do well with change. Especially when it means changing my coveted “me-time,” which is limited to afternoon nap times and a few hours at night after kids are asleep (not necessarily in bed, as I mentioned above, but actually asleep). Being a stay-at-home mom, I try to use those few child-free hours to prepare activities or crafts, return emails and phone calls, practice new exercise routines for my fitness class, or other adult things like write blogs about my children.

It was a pretty hard change for me when we decided to start cutting James’ nap out. He turned 4 last fall, so I knew the end of naps was coming. It was sort of happening on its own actually. He’d fall asleep in the car for maybe 20 minutes driving home from school then refuse to sleep in his bed later on. Or if he did, it was short, only about 45 minutes. It was time. So one afternoon I took Luke up for a nap and told James he didn’t have to take a nap that day, to which he was ecstatic. His eyes got wide and he said “Really? I don’t need a nap anymore? I’m all grown up?”

The enthusiasm diminished some when I said that even though he didn’t need to nap, he did need to have quiet time. The first day went great, he quietly played in our living room for over an hour, looking at books and playing with stuffed animals in his pirate tent. I was still able to accomplish some tasks in my office, and he didn’t come out once. I congratulated him on a great first quiet time, and we had another half an hour or so to play just the two of us before his brother woke up. And the best part was bedtime — James stayed quiet, even though his little brother kept trying to talk to him. Within about 15 minutes, they both were sound asleep. Success! Right?

With each consecutive day, however, this quiet time got more challenging for me and less appealing for James. I tried adding in new quiet activities to keep him occupied, but he would rush through them and then come in to tell me he was bored. He also would push the boundaries of what was quiet, like jumping from couch to couch or smashing his remote-control car into the door over and over. He popped in to my office every few minutes to ask if quiet time was over yet. One day we literally spent the whole whopping 45 minutes arguing with each other over what he could or couldn’t do. I got a lot of exercise that day getting up and down out of my desk chair.

The only thing that really kept me going those days was knowing the blissful bedtime that was awaiting us all around 7 p.m., with both boys falling right to sleep. And as if to remind me that the battle was indeed worth it, one day James actually fell asleep on the couch during his quiet time. He looked so angelic laying there that I didn’t bother waking him up. Well guess what happened that night at bedtime? Mayhem.

So as I scour Pinterest and seek advice from other moms for ways toddlers can spend quiet time, and as I get up earlier and earlier to make up for the lost afternoon me time, I just keep saying to myself , “it’ll be worth it at bedtime … it’ll be worth it at bedtime … it’ll be worth it at bedtime.”

Click here to read more Mommy Daze.

Watts edited W

Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 4-year-old James and 2-year-old Luke.

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