Tuesday, July 20, 2010

nap alternative...quiet listening

For those of you that have been reading along, you know that I have been lamenting over our lost naptime.  Jude gave up naps a year ago.  I tried so many tricks, I woke him up early.  I let him stay up later.  I walked like a thousand miles with him strapped to my back and finally in a stroller.  I even drove, for no reason other than to encourage a nap (I cringe reading that, I do.).  There has been a theme of letting go in mothering that has surfaced this week among our tribe.  But I have to admit, I really struggled with letting go of naps. 

And the real problem is not just about me getting some down time.  The problem is Jude really needs a nap.  He seems so sleep deprived most of the time.  He will have days of crazy behavior and finally crash.  Like he did this morning sleeping until 10:15am.  These cycles are hard on all of us.  Oh the late sleep in is great, but the days leading up to it make me feel like one out of control mama.  And yeah, that too is just letting go of expectations that I have about how my child should be, but it is also about a lack of balance that helps our family cohabitate our home in peaceful manner.

So over the last few months I have been on a mission to institute a quiet hour.  We have taken walks in the woods.  We have picked berries.  And we swam in natural water at a cool mountain lake.  Today with really high temperatures and a threat of thunderstorms in the forecast, we listened to an audiobook that we picked out from the library.  I wasn't sure he would be content to listen to a story without pictures, but he did for an hour.  It was heaven.  I was listening with him for the first half.  He seemed so into it that I decided I could sneak away and do a few things on my own.  Ah...a successful nap alternative indeed.

I'd love to hear about any nap alternative tricks you have up your sleeve....


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  1. i can really relate here elizabeth. my son gave up naps at age 2 and a half. but, at the same time he began (yes just began) sleeping through the night. but, lately, i've had that same out of control mama feeling you speak of, because ezra has been shifting his sleep schedule to staying up late and sleeping in late. we are used to a 7:30 bedtime and a 6:30 a.m. wake up time and he's been going to sleep around 10:00 and waking up around 9:00. tonight he didn't fall asleep until 11:00! i had to do some serious letting go tonight. thankfully, i don't have a job, but it can get stressful with michael studying in the other room and dealing with a wild thing not going to bed! i love the audio book quiet time. i don't think ezra is ready quite yet, but i will try soon. i have a copy of "peter and the wolf" that may just be the right one to try first. when we need quiet time here, i usually bring out the water color paints. that always seems to hone in some quiet focus. maybe jude is going through a growth spurt right now. that's what i'm saying about ezra's shifting sleep habits. we just got him his first bike! and he grew a half an inch in the last month alone!

  2. We've been havign major sleep issues too. As I type here, Bella is flip flopping uncomfortablly in her bed upstairs. We've also partaken in nap and bedtime rides in the car. Yes, cringe. There is so something in the air these days...of change and letting go, of a lot of things. We love audio books. Maybe I need to go tot he library tomorrow. I think I just may.


  3. Car trips, yes we have done them, even if it is just planning a trip for something errand-ish further away, like a trip to the feed store so the littlest can nap. My youngest is nearing 5, and naps happen only occasionally now. Our tricky thing is that the youngest (who is still needing the most sleep) is the early bird, and is up with his dad at 6:30 or 7:00, and the older, 8 year old is like me and sleeps later. So the younger boy peters out in the afternoon, and if he doesn't nap, we ride the crazies from dinner til bedtime, when he gets a wired/tense second wind. Have you read the book "Sleepless in America" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, who wrote "raising your Spirited Child" (also a fantastic book!)? Her take on things is great and I have found it helpful at points in supporting our children on their sleep journey and for ideas about bedtimes, naps, transitions etc. Her writing is very attachment parenting friendly, too. No sleep training even discussed!

    Audio books are loved dearly by both of my boys, Charlotte's Web has been a favourite, and many, many others. We began them around age 4. Anything with rhymes or rhythm in the story/poetry has been helpful for mine for relaxing and unwinding. We also love Winnie the Pooh, as recorded by a group of British actors including Judy Densch....amazing to listen to for adults too. It's like audio theatre!

    Hoping you find a balance and rhythm that brings peace soon. :-)

  4. enjoy summer , love your blogheader

  5. At my house we now call naptime "quiet time." My boy (2.5 yo) has been good about sleeping lately, but for a while he would just hang out in his crib and babble for 45 minutes. He's allowed to bring a book in to the crib and he always has music on, so he can entertain himself when he can't fall asleep.

    We were recently on vacation across the country for 3 weeks, and some days due to travel we just completely missed his nap. On those days I had him cuddle with me on the couch and watch My Neighbor Totoro--if you allow your little one to watch movies, Hayao Miyazaki's movies are great--very calming.

  6. I know just what you mean, especially about it not being about you needing that time (although it can be refreshing), but that it is dealing with a tired child.... I cringe when Abraham wakes up after a too short nap, knowing the remainder of the day may be more challenging. Then, I just take the day a bit easier. Your idea of an audio book is a very good one.

  7. I am certain most mammas can relate to this in some form. My daughter napped long and consistently. Then the binky went away and poof! so did naps, despite her not being ready for them to go. I instituted quiet time. She could play, read, listen to music, but quietly in her room. That disappeared, too, sometime in the past year, but she occasionally still does them. It is like a reset. My son is a bit more like Jude. Super tired wired, but cannot settle.
    Dealing with a tired child is hard and even harder with not break. My son has been struggling with naps AND bed/sleep time. I believe sleep begets sleep, so some lost sleep can lead to lots of lost sleep, so we have had some 24 hour periods with only 8 hours sleep and lots of tears from both of us!
    Warm hugs and good luck!

  8. word. we've been in and out of many phases like this. you are reminding me of how nice a quiet hour would be. maybe i can incorporate some family meditating in there too. i've really been wanting to do that. even if the kids just sit for 2 minutes, it's a start!!! we love audio books too. isn't the library amazing for them!! there's a lot on line you can download for free i've noticed too....

  9. We are still big nappers around here. Even my five year old. He seems to really need it and I lay down with both kids until the eyes flutter shut. On days that i think Col can handle not napping I let him have quiet time instead, which to him feels like a big treat. It means he stays in his room and plays quietly. Of course he comes out about ten times with some need or another and I just direct him back to his room. Sometimes he's resistant and othertimes he gets really into his quiet play.
    *I just remembered that my 1st choice name for a boy with my 2nd was Jude! (but I had a girl)

  10. I have great night time sleepers but pretty awful nappers. We have "quiet time" at our house as well. My daughter's room is pretty bare bones, just books and her dolls, so during her quiet time she has to stay in her room. She can get out of bed to look at books or play with her dolls but she has to stay quiet and stay in her room. This has worked pretty well for us; sometimes she will calm herself down enough that she falls asleep on her own.
    She still desperately needs sleep too, so over tired all the time even though she sleeps 10+ hours at night, so I pray everyday that quiet time turns into a nap.
    This is a difficult struggle. Good luck!

  11. We have quiet time each day...and I've made playlists for my iPod of audio stories. Sometimes it's a short story or two, and sometimes it's a couple chapters from a longer book. I put a piece of quiet music at the front to give everyone a chance to settle in, and then 2 songs at the end for just quiet relaxation. I get the audios from the library, podcasts, and simplyaudiobooks.com My youngest, 3 yo, generally falls asleep, and my oldest two (5 & 8) LOVE quiet time. And I, now pregnant and in my first trimester, get to take a much needed nap as well. Oh...I started with 20 minutes long total, and just one song at the end, and increased it to about 30-35" of story, and a total of 10-15" of quiet music.


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