Quiet Time

I want to share what I do with Atlas now that he doesn’t want to nap every day, but yet he still gets a bit tired mid-day. This way there is no more fighting at nap time!
I’m really happy with what Atlas and I have settled into when it comes to nap time. Our journey to this point started about six months ago when Atlas started fighting nap time with ALL OF HIS MIGHT. Well I got tired of this fight so decided that we would just stop nap time altogether. This was in my third trimester. So in my pregnantedness I tried filling that time with the least demanding to me activities for him, which ended up being TV…I know…I know. I tried to get him to watch documentaries as much as he would….(Mighty Machines, how things work, planet earth, wild china are some of our favorites). Anyways, then after Urban was born, and after the move, he suddenly started taking naps again for about a month. THEN all of a sudden it became a fight again…what?? So for the past few weeks we’ve finally found this system that we both seem to enjoy. It was not my idea, whoever came up with it was a genius, but I saw a lot of people online doing similar things. Quiet Time. Me and Atlas also call it relax time, as I explain to him – our bodies like to relax and it’s a part of the day where we play quiet in bed.
After lunch I give him plenty of notice that its almost quiet time, so he’s not surprised at all when its time to stop playing. Then when its time, he gets in bed, I play with him for about five minutes, or read stories, and then I set the timer for one hour and place it on his bed, where he can hear it ticking away. About 40% of the time he will fall asleep and then the timer will wake him up and he’s so excited that he gets to come out of bed! Or he will fall asleep and even sleep through the timer and then when he wakes up he thinks it silly that he slept through the timer. Other 60% of the time he is awake the whole time and is so proud of himself for how quietly and patiently he played the whole time (and expresses his enthusiasm that quiet time is over by yelling YAY!! as loudly as possible and running around the house to no particular destination). On the days he does not fall asleep, he just goes to bed a little bit earlier at night time, so it’s a win-win ;)
I want to note that the first time we did this was not easy. He would play for a few minutes then say “all done with quiet time mommy!” “atlas come out? pleeease!!!”. Or he would say “timer not working!”  But I knew that if he would just see that the timer was going to go off any minute then it would be good! So I let him fuss for like the last five minutes and then once it went off I rushed in and said yaaaay you were soo good for quiet time now you can come out and play quiet time is over!” And he was sooo happy. After that we haven’t had a problem! He is old enough to understand and remember that the timer WILL eventually go off.
I rotate the toys and books. But these have been some of his favorite quiet-time activities (I’m about to need some new ideas because I anticipate him starting to get bored with some of mine, so please share any you have!) :
  • reading/picture books
  • lacing (similar here)
  • quiet book (made by Bubba [what he calls my mom])
  • puzzles (one of our favorites here)
  • measuring things with a measuring tape
  • coloring (lots of times I will let him pick out a free coloring page on the internet that we print off specially for quiet time)
  • flash cards
Hopefully this is useful information for anyone else who is fighting with their toddler over nap time! I wish I had discovered this way 6 months ago :-)

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