“After story time, Josiah had to take his nap, and I set the timer for half an hour and played on the computer. My big brother let me play his World War II game. It’s really fun.” “Jonathan’s Journal”
The other preschool area that this excerpt alludes to is that of nap time. We were blessed early in our child rearing years to have families a little bit older than we leading the path in baby, toddler, and preschool parenting. We learned so many things from them, including having Bible time, training little ones to obey, reading stories before naps, enforcing nap times and bed times, and much more. (Never underestimate the power you have to model/influence others through your parenting.) Little did I know, when we just had Joshua, how crucial it would be in my mothering (and my sanity!) to have well-established routines and schedules—especially that of nap times.
I will enumerate some nap time tips today and tomorrow that I have learned through my twenty-seven years of parenting:
1. Naps are for Mom just as much as they are for the little ones. Smile…
2. Children were given to parents to protect and care for them. Part of this is discerning when and what your child needs to eat, how much sleep (and when) he requires, what is safe for a child at various ages, etc. In other words, you need to be the one to determine your child’s bed time, rising time, and nap time—based on his needs and your family dynamics.
3. Naps, just like anything else you want your little ones to do, are learned behaviors. If you religiously lay all children down in the afternoon every day at 1:00 (or whenever) in the same way that you buckle them in the car, it WILL BE just like buckling them in the car. There will not be a daily struggle to put kids down for naps anymore than there is a twenty minute fight when getting in the car.
4. If you have not implemented nap schedules but allowed kids to fall asleep or not fall asleep while watching cartoons (and consequently, be grouchy later in the day because they needed sleep they did not get), it will not be easy to start daily naps. However, the long term benefits far outweigh any small inconvenience and struggle it may be to make naps a daily habit. If your children do not nap but are irritable from four until six every afternoon, it is probably because they need naps. (Come to think of it, if you are irritable every day from four to six, it is probably because you need naps too! Smile…)
Nap tips continued tomorrow….