Saturday, August 6, 2011

Nap time blues

There is so much happening in my head right now; so much I want to get in writing before the words start to escape me.  But, to take it back to my Stephen Covey roots, first things first.

Mama needs help.

If you've been following our Facebook family page, you know that Ethan spent the first night in his new bed this past Thursday. (And did very well, might I add.)

You also know that nap-time yesterday, however, was a total disaster.  At the very least, it made me question everything I thought I knew about parenting Ethan.  At worst, it sent me into a frustrated puddle of tears with a helpless Jeramie on the other end of the phone.

Actually, frustrated doesn't even describe it.

I spent an hour and fifteen minutes standing outside of Ethan's door, listening for him to get out of bed, then firmly yet gently putting him back in bed when he did.  An hour and sixteen minutes in, I lost it.  My patience was gone and I found myself growing more angry with Ethan by the second.  That's when I took a breather to call Jeramie, and all I could do at that point was to cry.

I left Ethan in his room, roaming as free as a Corolla wild horse, then waved the white flag shortly after hanging up with Jeramie.  It was awful.

I spent the better portion of last night still worked up about the whole situation and managed to convince myself that Ethan would never sleep again.  Of course, due to the lack of the afternoon nap, he slept beautifully last night, which gave me false hope that nap-time today would be a breeze.

Yeah, not so much.

Thanks to a child-proof doorknob, he actually stayed in his room today.  But, when Jeramie found him on top of the changing table, playing with the CD player on the nearby dresser, it confirmed that this isn't going to be easy.  The changing table is now in the hallway, the closet doors are locked, and all that remains in his room is the dresser (the drawers of which may be locked soon) and the bed itself.

So, back to my original request.  I need help.  Lots and lots of help.  Advice.  Stories.  Straight-up help.  I would love to wake up in the morning to many, many comments from those of you who have gone before me in this.  While I know that different things work for different children, I would not be disappointed to have an arsenal of ideas at the ready.

Given that Ethan always took a while to fall asleep at nap time in his crib, do we allow him to view his room as one big crib, assuming he'll crawl in bed when he's ready to sleep? Or do we require that he actually stays in his bed? Could it be that this transition is coming alongside him giving up his nap altogether?

I just don't know.

What I do know is, after a day like yesterday, I'm thankful that God's mercies are new every morning.  And that I wasn't responsible for nap time today.

Good night, friends. And, please.  Help a mama out.


Shannon Smith said...

We had trouble with Palmer taking a nap for awhile. Granted, we only deal with this two days per week, but a lot of times when we absolutely wanted him to go to sleep, I would lay in the floor while he laid in the bed. I completely ignored him and usually cried, but then gave up and went to sleep. If I didn't fall asleep, I'll get up after he did.

This is probably not a viable long-term solution, but it may get you through the first couple of days. The bonus is that you get to take a nap, too.

Carolina Carters said...

Oh, Joye! I really wish I had some advice for you!! Does Ethan's bed have rails? If not, maybe that would help?? Derrick has had the "extra long, extra tall" rails on his bed since we took him out of his crib and he's never gotten out. I think he thinks he can't (although I know he knows he can b/c he does when we walk in the room, I don't know). Anyway, I don't know if that would help, and if you already have rails, then I definitely have no advice. I really hope someone is able to help you out!

And bless your heart, I hope he's not giving up nap time! That's what keeps me sane! ;)

Good luck friend!

Mandie Hamrick said...

Hi Joye,

My 3 y.o. is the exact same way. He absolutely refuses to nap in his room. The ONLY way I get him to is nap with him. We usually nap in my bed because he shares a room with his little brother. I like it that way for two reasons; 1.) It's more comfortable for me. 2.) He's not being tempted into playing with his toys. I turn everything off; phone(s), computer, T.V., radio, whatever and hold him just tight enough where he can't go anywhere, but not tight enough where he's freaking out that he can't move.

That's my advice. I hope that helps. I know your pain. Also he might be going through a phase. My 3 y.o. goes in spurts of not wanting to nap to NEEDING a nap. It might be his way of deal with the change of his new bed.

Good luck!

mossfamily said...

Ok, so here is my two cents....
I found that the transition is the hardest part. He doesn't know what is expected in this new bed, so with anything else, he has to learn. I wouldn't necessarily let his whole room become a crib because then it may become play hour (this is what my kids would do anyhow!). But I would give him a few acceptable things to do if he doesn't fall asleep quickly at nap time. My go-to thing is books. My kids are only allowed books in their beds. Eli especially will read for a long time and then just eventually konks out. He also likes a routine at nap and on the days that he really doesn't want to go, he will beg me to read a few books to him while laying in the bed with him. Then when it is over, he has calmed down & will roll over & go to sleep. If you find that he is perfectly content to read books and chat to himself for 2 hours instead of sleep then you can also consider 2 options: 1) He is "resting" and staying in his bed at least. Eventually he will learn this routine and the chatting will lessen and the sleeping will come faster. 2) Consider setting a timer in his room and when the timer is up, he has to give up the books and try to sleep. At least the time with the books would serve as a calming time to transition him into sleep readiness (is that even a term?)
I also found that if i moved nap time back a little later, (not too much- don't want to risk over tired boys!) then it would help with going to sleep faster.
I also agree with the above comment that you can lay on the floor or sit in the room with him and read a book to yourself quietly so he knows he is being monitored and feels a sense of security. I don't think it would be feasible long term for you or him, but could get you through the hump and let him learn his new nap routine.
Sorry it has been so rough & I hope it gets better soon! :)

Kelly said...

Every time we have transitioned a kid into a big bed we have had nap issues. They would still sleep ok at night but the nap suffered for about 3 weeks - for all three of them. It would either be shorter than usual or they wouldn't sleep at all. The only advise I can give is to keep trying every day. I don't think it is necessarily a sign that he is ready to give it up, I think he is just testing out the waters with his new found freedom. Eventually, he will settle back into a good napping routine.
Thinking of you...
Kelly (Jack's mom)

Jen F. said...

I say that during naptime, sleeping is optional but quiet rest time is not. Give him nothing to do but a few books and a couple of stuffed animals. He'll tire of exploring the room quickly if there's nothing else to explore.

We also made a "cozy corner" for Jay, which is essentially a giant pile of pillows. He sometimes prefers his nap there, and we're okay with that.

The other thing I wonder about is the timing of nap. I know E takes a later nap (2-4ish?) but most kids I know nap right after lunch. I know I'm threatening to muck up your entire schedule, but maybe if he's way overtired by the time you put him down for nap, he plays harder to fight sleep?

Hoping for good things today!

Jen said...

Napping was always a struggle with Andrew! I can totally relate! I have been in tears over naps as well, many times. So you are not alone! The transition from the crib to the bed was hard. Getting them to stay in bed is very difficult. We ended up having to lay with him at nap time, until he fell asleep, then we'd leave (or I'd be tired enough to just sleep too! Ha!) However, I was firm on only laying with him at nap time, NOT bedtime. I tried to explain it to him, and I think he got it. He has always gone to bed at night like a champ, and that is my "me" time alone with my hubby so I didn't want to start a bad habit. It seemed to work with naps. We would lay with him and he'd usually fall asleep pretty well (there were days he wasn't as tired... the key was to lay him down at the right time, not too early or when he was overly tired). Eventually, he stayed by himself, but honestly, by the time he got to this point, it was about time for naptime to be over anyway. We finally ended up giving up the naps. He sleeps sometimes now only if we are in the car.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you got some good recommendations and it sounds like Ethan is no different than any other toddler transitioning from the crib to a bed, it is all so new. He will eventually learn his boundries when it comes to nap time.

I think I agree with the Moss family, that his whole room is not his 'new crib'.

It seems that he has to some how learn that when it is nap time, he must stay in his bed just like he stayed in his crib.

I know you & Jeramie will figure how best to handle for Ethan, as all children respond differently to any approach.

But reading the responses, looks like you have some good things to try.

Love always,
Grandm A.

Jennifer said...

We had (and still do today) have problems with Brayden napping. He often decides that he would rather nap under his bed for whatever reason & we decided that was fine for us. I have found that if he is over tired, napping doesn't go so well. I do require at least 2 hours of "quite time" just because I need a break/time to get stuff done around the house. I am sure that the "novelty" of a big boy bed will wear off soon enough & Ethan will be back to napping again! In the meantime, try to be calm & patient with him. Good Luck!


daniel, alinna, and ruby. said...

joye! (i'll preface by saying i didn't read any of the comments before, so if i repeat things i'm sorry). i feel your pain! ever since transitioning ruby to a "big girl bed", it's been a struggle. you might ask why we did it if it's hard and not just leave her in the crib, but she was climbing out of that. for safety's sake, we figured climbing out of bed was a better bed. so, here's my advice. try putting him in bed and telling him you're going to be right by (inside) his door until he falls asleep.. and if he tries to talk/interact with you tell him "i'm not in here to talk to you, please go to sleep".. or something to that effect. we tried that with ruby, and granted, it was at night, so she couldn't see us standing there, but it still seemed to help. then, after a few successful nights, we started saying that we'd stand outside the door. if she got out of bed, we'd just keep putting her in without talking to her each time. we have also made a sticker chart that she gets to put one on each time she has a successful night's sleep in the bed. seems to be a good little perk to talk about when we're lying her down.. "after you stay in here and sleep like a obedient, big girl you can get a sticker on your chart!" bribery/positive reinforcement is just fine in my book at times. :) i WILL NOT pretend that nap and night time are smooth sailing for us yet, but i feel MUCH less frustrated (most nights) than i did at first. i completely know where you're coming from on just getting to your breaking point.. don't feel bad at all about that! you're a great mom, and if you ask me, this is completely normal for him. oh, and also, we found that keeping the same schedule (bath, book, song, prayer) each night helped.. then we could repeat all that we had done with her leading up to her going to bed, reminding her why it was now time to go to sleep. i'm sure you could try the same kind of a thing with a naptime routine. ok.. i'm done! :)

Anonymous said...

spank him if he gets out of bed, he will soon understand that this is not ok. he is not obeying you and this will soon become a struggle of his will(which is pretty strong) and yours and it will only get worse the older he gets. you do need to pick your battles, but some things are more character issues than battles. he is not too young. train him, teach him and when he disobeys, discipline him.

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