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Old 08-29-2012, 01:38 PM   #1
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Naptime Woes - Need Creative Advice

Hey, mamas. I'm at my wits end with naps. It's so ugly most days that I really just want to toss my kid in bed, close the door, and walk away. My son is 3, and, yes, he still needs a nap - especially the days he wakes up at 4:30am... We have had the same nap time routine for ages. 5-10 minute warning, potty, books, music on, back pats, hugs & kisses, and most recently he likes to be watched from the doorway for a little bit. We've gone through phases where nap time was bad, but we can't seem to shake it this time.

DS gets really hyper at bed times for some reason, no matter when I put him down - day and night - and almost always has. He wiggles, bounces, kicks, rolls, and just seems to get worked up. It's hard to get him to listen and do what I'm asking. We have a rule that if ds doesn't cooperate after a warning (usually this means he simply won't calm down enough to pick out books, listen to books, kicks his legs or turns flips during back pats, etc.) then he loses whatever part of the routine we're on. Also, if he hits, pinches, kicks me, or is otherwise aggressive, routine stops, I lay him in bed with a hug and kiss, and I leave.

Here lately, he's ended up going straight to bed, usually because he's being aggressive. I even try to catch him ahead of time (often in mid-swing) and remind him of the consequences of that behavior and the consequence of making a better choice. He gives me his evil eye and does it anyway every.single.time. As soon as I leave, he screams that he's sorry and wants me to come back. So, I've tried various things over time from ignoring the aggressive behavior and continuing with routine, to leaving and ignoring him until he falls asleep, to going back in once he calms down, and even letting him cry for 2-3 minutes and going in. Anytime I go back in, the cycle repeats: he hits/pinches/scratches, I leave, he screams. The other day I scooped him up and gave him a huge bear hug, which usually calms him down in other circumstances... this time he wailed on me.

I feel like there is something I'm not doing that he needs. Part of the problem, I know, is that ds2 is often with me. I do my best to make nap time one-on-one for ds1, but often that is simply impossible. Even when it's just the 2 of us, he fights me. So I need some thoughts from outsiders (you all) because this has to change. I walk away from nap time every day either ready to pull my hair out. I feel awful because I'm not getting it right. Do you all have any creative ideas?? Thank you

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Old 08-30-2012, 07:36 AM   #2
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Re: Naptime Woes - Need Creative Advice

To save myself from really getting angry and becoming to physical in my response, I would first talk to him about how he's making people feel when he hurts them. I have a 2 year old (turning 3 in a month) that I take care of who occasionally bites/hits/pinches her siblings and usually we just talk about how it made that person feel (hurt, sad, like she doesn't love them and like they can't trust her. I know those last two may sound like big ideas for a small child, but they really can understand when you explain it in a calm sad voice rather than yelling or being firm and angry) and have a time out to represent the lost time with that person when we're mean to them (because people don't want to play with you when you hurt them). I wouldn't take away your time together during nap time in this case, but take maybe a 1-2 minute pause in your time and then come in with something to the effect of "I missed you! Let's only use our arms for hugs!"

Also, really encourage him to use his words. I watch 3 children and they all get physical with each other when they aren't communicating or the person they're talking to isn't listening. Try getting down on your knees so you're at his level and ask him what's bothering him, why doesn't he want to take a nap, why does he want to hit mommy? He loves you, he's trying to communicate something, encourage him to use his words instead.

Another one, at that age they're very much trying to test their boundaries and use their independence. Say you know you want to put him down for a nap at 1pm, at 12:30 ask him "Do you want to go take a nap now, or in 30 minutes?" Of course he'll probably say 30 minutes! So you let him stay up 30 minutes and hopefully that allows him to 'make his own decision' and there won't be a power struggle.

And you may have tried all that and if you did then all I have is a BIG HUG for you. Good luck mama!
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Naptime Woes - Need Creative Advice

Thanks for your input You're right about the power struggle... and I feel like ds is totally "winning" right now. Sadly, the rest of our day can be perfect and wonderful, yet nap time will still be a bear. I've been making the conscious choice every day to be calm and patient with ds, especially during nap. Just after ds2 was born I was really edgy and impatient with 3 year old antics. I still am, I guess, but I don't yell at him or anything like that. If I get fed up, I just walk away, which might not always be the best solution. DS is a very smart guy. He understands things that surprise us all the time. That being said, trying to talk to him about stuff like feelings, behavior, etc. is nearly impossible (we even tried puppets - lol). He doesn't want to talk/listen unless we're playing in his imaginary world. When I'm trying to tell him something, I ask him to look at my eyes so I know he's listening, and he literally rolls his eyes around in circles looking at everything BUT me (it's kind of funny, actually). He constantly interrupts with "mommy, what is this speck on the wall?" "mommy, my train goes choo-choo allllllll around my bed," or "zizzer, zazzer, zuzz!" Really, if it's more than maybe 5-6 words, he totally tunes us out and doesn't come back. Even talking during dinner or other times just doesn't seem to work right now. Le sigh... I guess we'll just have to keep at it knowing he won't be napping forever - haha
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