Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
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Quiet Time

There are few things in the life of a parent more tragic than when a child outgrows naps. Violet rarely naps now that she's a few months into 4-years old. Maybe once a week she crashes around 3:30 out of sheer exhaustion and then I am forced to wake her ninety minutes later or she'll never go to bed at night. Have you ever forced awake a 4-year-old? Maybe I should rephrase that. Are you familiar with the Chupacabra?

So, when she gets home from pre-school, while Henry naps, Violet goes into her room for what we call Quiet Time but which rarely displays the hushed hallmarks of noiselessness. Half the time I end up hanging out in her room with her while she gets up to all kinds of craziness. Last Friday we all ended up hanging out in her room so I snapped a few photos of Violet's "Quiet Time."

RIP nap time (is that redundant? isn't the very definition of nap time resting in peace?) Because Violet is certainly no longer resting in any peace during daylight hours. Got any strategies? Do you force a kid to wake from a late, unplanned nap or let them sleep?

Reader Comments (11)

I don't have kids yet, but when I was little my grandma used to make us lay on the bed with her. If after 30 minutes of laying there we weren't asleep we could get up. There was a lot of tossing and turning though. Poor Grandma.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharity

That's actually a great idea. I do that with Henry a lot and he always falls asleep within a short time but I haven't thought of it with Violet because she's old enough that I just tell her to go in her room for quiet time. But I really should just lay with her for a while to see if she'll conk out.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

I feel your pain! It was a horrible, horrible thing when our first stopped napping, but the second continued. I felt trapped by nap time all.the.time. It ruled our lives!!!

All I can say is that it's just something that you have to live through, I guess. But I tell you, it was such a freeing, exhilarating feeling when the whole household was free of naps. That sounds crazy to child-free people, I'm sure, but until you've had to live through naps, car seats, and diapers, you can never truly understand what it means to be free of them. ;)

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Sara - If I could get a double nap scenario that would be amazing. But, as it is, we can't go out because Henry's napping and Violet gets bored. If only spring would get here already, we could at least go play in the backyard for longer than five minutes.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

The upside of getting rid of the nap is earlier bedtimes! There is usually a difficult transition period but we worked hard to keep our daughter up so our evenings were more about us and not a long struggle to get the kid to bed.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChantal Sulkow

@chantal - How old are your kids and what time do they go to bed?

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

My kids nap later in the day on weekends all the time. Around 3 or so, maybe bit later. We wake them up for dinner. Usually, we just open their doors and let them wake on their own. We eat around 5:30 or so. Kids go to bed at 7. Sometimes my daughter, who is three, skips a nap and has quiet time. She is very good at quiet time and will "read" books or play dolls until we say quiet time is over. She can do this, alone, for over an hoir, maybe two, with no issues. I think this is probably usual and we are very lucky.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbridgitt

I am a mama of four and right around 2 to 2..5 I do everything in my power to can the nap. When it was two kids, I busted my ass trying to coordinate naps/, then overlap naps (even just a little bit) and it all ended in frustration for ALL of us. I agree about nap freedom. I'm finally there (now that my youngest just turned three) and it is so awesome. Mind you, we can't go on any long car rides or stroller rides or I'm pooched. As for late naps, we NEVER EVER EVER let a kid sleep past 3pm. We'd rather face Chupacabra (loved that) than have pint-sized company after 9 p.m.

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

i was trying to focus on Violet and her quiet time activities but my attention automatically defaults to the background, the color scheme, decorations and the guy sleeping in the bed. I always get a chuckle when there is someone sleeping in a picture. Funny. You know, I forget that you guys sleep. That you are not here just for our entertainment. Anyway, about the sleep. If she naps too long, I would, like you, wake her up. I don't know what a chupalupagus is, but it sounds like a rodent. I am too lazy and tired to look it up. SO ANYWAY...yeah, I would do that, wake her gently with a song, something she likes to sing along to. Or lure her awake with nice smell of popcorn or something. Movie time! Sure I would. No matter what. Awake and then in bed by 8 sharp. My sister used to let her kids stay up until whatever time they passed out. They always slept late in that house. Back to Vi...I would sing her the dinner time song. Time to make the doughnuts. Set the table. Or maybe set a nice alarm. Anything. I just spent 2 sleepless weeks in NJ, up every 2 hours checking on my poor dad who developed insomnia and gets out of bed and then sleeps during the day. Terrible thing to get your inner clock all screwed up. Nice pictures...beautiful room. Restful! Let's keep nap time alive and well! zzzz

March 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

@Gina - That would be Serge... Exhausted from being up since 4am (courtesy of Henry the early riser) but still trying to participate in Quiet Time fun.

March 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheGirlWho

I have an 8 month old and a 4 1/2 year old. My 4 year old takes naps 1-2 times a week, but she has to go to her bedroom every day. After lunch, she goes to her room for nap time. On the days she doesn't fall asleep she usually talks to herself in bed for about an hour and then asks if she can play in her bedroom, which she does for another hour or so. The monitor that is in her room works like a walkie talkie so we can talk back to her. It helps because then we don't have to go downstairs and she doesn't have a reason to keep coming upstairs. It is definitely more relaxing on the days that she takes a nap, but the fact that she spends about 2 hours on her own, with the occasional conversation through her monitor is still 100% worth it. If she doesn't take a nap, her bedtime is 7:00 to 7:15. If she does take a nap, her bedtime is 8:00 to 8:15.

I would wake Violet up from her unplanned nap if it was going too long. Any chance you can start putting her down after lunch?

April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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