Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Do You...Restructure When A Child Gives Up a Nap?

also titled Life After Naptime

Neither of my kids takes a nap anymore.  I still need a nap, but my five kids seem to have outgrown them.  Ben (5) required a nap longer than any of the others.  His daily naps lasted until he was over 4 years old. Alaine who is two years younger, gave up her nap before he did. I didn't like the transition but it came down to a choice: would I rather insist on a nap and have the child struggling to sleep at 11 pm because he isn't tired or would I rather he learn to get through the day without a nap and put him to bed early?  I always chose the early bedtime. 

For years, I assumed that when the time came, we would adopt a sort-of Quiet Time in the afternoons to imitate  the restoration that nap time brought to all of our minds and bodies. I imagined the kids would sit on their beds silently reading or doing puzzles in the floor while I got caught up on housework or enjoyed my own book.

Somehow that kind of Quiet Time never happened for us. Instead our afternoons are about physical quiet more than actual quiet.  We still try to complete the majority of our chores and school work during  the morning hours so the afternoon gives us the luxury of downtime.  The house is still noisy, but it is the noise of Legos, Barbie dolls, the back door opening as kids run outside to ride bikes or scooters, the door opening again as kids run back inside for drink of water, the sewing machine, or a movie.

At least one afternoon a week, we leave the house to run errands, visit the library, or attend gym class, things that were much more difficult when we had to work around napping children. The break from our everyday routine is a nice change of pace, but can also leave the kids (and their mama!) a little cranky.  When we return home, we try to carve out at least a few minutes of our special brand of Quiet before diving into the chaos of late afternoon dog walking, dinner and dishes. Those few minutes of refreshing before the rush set the tone for the rest of the day.

My How Do You...? series is back for a limited time.  I'm in need of some fun ideas for topics.  What do you want to know? Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page

In the meantime, you can browse the archived index of past topics.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you found a solution that works for you and your kids. I'll admit that sometimes I wish all the kids still napped and other times I wish they were all done napping so we could run errands in the afternoon.

    I do make the three older kids have a "quiet time" of sorts for at least an hour every afternoon. Usually they listen to an audio book, a couple Adventures in Odyssey episodes, or I squeeze in the audio recording of our science text. After this hour block they each get a 10-15 minute turn playing educational iPad games (if they haven't lost their turn that day). So usually, we have about 1 1/2 to 2 hours that are relatively calm even though they aren't technically quiet :)


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