Monday, April 6, 2009

Help Me Keep My Sanity

This is a blog about boys -- about raising them, educating them and learning with them. With four boys of my own, I've learned that:
  1. Boys and girls not *not* interchangeable kids
  2. Boys have specific intellectual and emotional needs
  3. Boy-knowledge is not innate. More often than not, it's hard won!
But that does *not* mean I know all there is to know about boys. Every now and then (OK, often!) I come across a situation that I just do not know how to handle.

So, dear readers, I'm begging you: Help me!

My youngest son, age 3, seems to be giving up his nap. It started with him constantly getting out of bed at naptime and now has progressed to the point where, if he does manage to nap, he's then up for hours at night. My 3-yr-old kept me company til midnight the other night.

This no-nap thing is incredibly new to me. For eleven years, nap time, a.k.a Quiet Time, has been an essential part of our daily routine. We have lunch, read and then have Quiet Time; the younger kids nap, the older kids have some quiet time to read, work on a project, etc., and MOM HAS SOME ALONE TIME. -- to work, to respond to and send emails, and yes, to blog.

Well, my 3-yr-old is way too active, interested, persistent and young to get the idea of Quiet Time. He'll stay in his room for 5 min., tops, before wandering out to see what else is going on. (Which, of course, disrupts Quiet Time for everyone else.)

I never had this problem before. All of my other kids were 5 or 6 before they finally gave up naps, and by that time, they understand the idea of Quiet Time and were willing and able to play quietly by themselves for 30 min. or so.

But what do you do with a highly active 3-yr-old? Parents, please help me -- how do I handle my son's obvious need for exploration and activity with my need for some quiet, alone time during the day?


  1. I can empathize with you. I lost the nap battle when my daughter was mid-4 yrs old. It ended up being a 2 hour ordeal, with her fussing and doing everything NOT to fall asleep. Now I just send her to her room for private playtime and that is my new quiet time :)

  2. Quiet time??? I have no idea what that is, nor have I had much in the past 8 years (sorry)! I blog in between activities (I have run to the tub twice since starting this response)! Sorry to be of no help, except I think you are so fortunate to have had so many years of quiet time! I felt so much freedom post-naps. We can be out all day, not plan around the naps, and usually the bedtime was easier, as the boys were exhausted.

  3. Padawan Learner was 18 months old when he gave up the napping ghost. Despite being a seriously turbo-charged boy, he was able to learn how to play quietly by himself for 30 minutes in his room but it took some doing and about a month of solid reminders and redirection (in a very pleasant but matter of fact manner) without any caving on my part.

    We had some "quiet time only" toys for him to focus on while I recharged (and got the laundry and dishes done). We went to the store, he got to pick them out, and we put them on a high shelf in his room so that he always knew they were there waiting to play with him. Wicki-sticks would be a great creative outlet because they stick to walls, doors and windows without making mess or leaving marks.

    Good luck. I feel for you!

  4. All 3 of my kids stopped at age 3. So for me, that's normal. As far as quiet time, I don't know that we had a set time, but at least once during the day, I turned on school videos(this was before we used DVD') and they watched that for 30 min. Sometimes I would allow 3 videos.

  5. Can you match him up with another boy that can play with him for awhile? Take turns with #1 and #2, so they get to share their quiet time with #4, and then you still get your time? GOOD LUCK!!