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Mourning the loss of the day time Sleep

Today I am raising the white flag. I am defeated. I have battled for two weeks and I am finally giving up.  For the last 18 months my little girl has gone down for a nap at 12.30 everyday after lunch.  She would skip it every now and again but we woud never go two consequtive days without a nap, until two weeks ago…

She started to fight it: to say I am not tired, to scream and shout until finally the day came that I have been dreading for months… she climbed out of her cot. I heard a big bang; then it went quiet; then came the tears. We were lucky that there was nothing broken but I made the decision to move her into a toddler bed to avoid any serious injury.

I was expecting a battle at night with her coming out of her room umptine times. Bizarrely the first few nights went without a hitch but on night four there were about ten escapes! This continued for a week so I bought a baby gate. She now just stands at the gate screaming: “MUMMY!” until she is worn out and I go in and sing her a lullaby.

However, it’s not so much the night time that gets to me as I know she will break eventually. But, I am mourning the loss of the lunchtime nap.

This is now week three with my toddler not sleeping in the day. I have been fighting it;  encouraging quiet time in her room; bribing her with sticker books in the hope she will just climb into bed and drift off. Not a chance, all she does is scream and scream at the gate. I have an 11 month old so I cannot risk him waking so today I have accepted it is over and I will have to learn to embrace it.

A different approach

Today I tried a new experiment. After lunch I encouraged her into her room with the lure of ‘let’s build a book den.” I let her choose three books and got a load of cushions and made a comfy book reading corner in her bed. She seemed to buy it at first and actually settled down enough to let me leave the room without screaming. I got about half an hour of quiet time which is a record.

In that time for myself today I came to revelation as to why it is so important for me for her to sleep during the day. It isn’t necessarily that she needs the sleep, it is more that I need the break. I also realised that I was willing her to sleep to get her out of the way so I can catch up on work. It’s a long day with two kids and no respite so I can safely assume I am no alone in this thinking. But today, I have decided to take a different outlook.

Ipad time equals mummy time

I keep reading how important ipads are for preschoolers, they are even introducing ipads at daycares.  So I am going to keep up the’ ‘reading den’, then if she does half an hour of quiet play in her room she can play on the ipad for an hour and she is not allowed to bug mummy.  Her ipad time can be my work hour (that’s if the baby is sleeping too!)

She is nearly approaching three, so I need to accept that my baby is growing up and things are going to change. I have also realised that we can spend some quality time together when the baby is sleeping, lie down and read books, bake, do craft and is it really a crime if I we curl up on the sofa and watch a film every now and again.

How do you entertain your preschooler all day?

 


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  1. Nic, March 28, 2013 4:51 pm - Mourning the loss of the day time Sleep

    Hi Dominique,

    Daily computer time can be a slippery slope, as it can morph into such an obsession with online games, etc., for the littlies. It does need to be a reward, as you’ve said, and time limited. For when your daughter is online, I’d recommend educational a site like Reading Eggs, as they have fun activities for kids from about age 3 & the games are educational.

    I remember grieving the loss of the daytime nap, and this is what I found helpful. On weekends, or downtime in the evening, grab 5 plastic containers, label one for each week day & fill with something new & different your littlie can do each day from the $2 shop.

    For example: playdough, plasticine, craft, a tory or picture book that hasn’t been seen for a few weeks or a new library book, safety scissors and glue with bright sequins or cardboard shapes, foam jigsaws, shoelaces & beads for threading. Seeds, bark and leaves from the garden make for exciting and free craft.

    You can print out colouring sheets, paper jigsaw puzzles, age appropriate mazes, cutting strips and line writing/ABC practice, etc. from sites like Activity Village UK or Enchanted Learning, ABC Teach, Print Activities, etc. that help develop fine motor skills, numeracy & literacy – and are fun to boot. A selection of guided reading DVDs with picture book, from the library, are a good occupier for 20-30 minutes. It sounds like a lot of work but, with practice, it becomes quicker and is quite fun to do.

    Your daughter can help fill her own daily activity boxes, to tailor it them to what she likes, most, and to help her look forward to what she’ll do that week! As she gets older, she can even be in charge of their preparation.

    When you’re knackered, need to work or to deal with your 11 month old, the pre-prepared daily activity boxes can be a lifesaver and may become your daughter’s favourite part of the day.

    All the best to you.

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