Ahhh naptime. One of the most looked forward to times of day for mom. When the kids go down and we can enjoy just a few minutes without their constant needs and wants. First, you have to make it there. We use a naptime routine to reduce stress and fussiness before naptime.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to stay home and care for my kids but that hour or so of peace and quiet in the afternoons when I can hear my own thoughts is wonderful!
However, with a 3-year-old sometimes naptime can be a challenge. My personal belief is that most kids need naps well past 3 years old. I have encountered plenty of moms who don’t feel this way, or because
of daycare situations do not get the option. However, if you are struggling with the behavior of your 3ish-year-old and they have given up naps, I highly encourage you to set up a time during the afternoon where they rest even if they just sit quietly and read books for an hour. You might be amazed at how their behavior changes with some quiet downtime.
Our Naptime Routine in 3 Easy Steps:
1. Lunch/pre-nap activities –
I consider lunch a part of our nap time routine because generally, we
head straight upstairs when we are done. Sometimes they play a few more minutes but I usually encourage them to play a more quiet game. If they still have tons of energy at lunch I will let them run around and burn some of it off. I use lunch as an assessment time for how tired they are. I determine our next steps based on how fussy or energetic they are for lunchtime.
2. Upstairs for potty and pullups –
When it’s time I let them know to head upstairs. Sometimes they complain and whine and it’s a whole thing to get them up the stairs. However, we have discovered the trick of racing them. Our oldest is already competitive and so racing gets him moving pretty fast. I send him straight to the bathroom unless I saw him pee within the last 10 mins. He needs an empty bladder to make it through naptime. I usually try and get my 2-year-old to pee as well because ideally, we will move him away from naptime pullups in the relatively near future. Then it’s a pullup for the younger one. If possible, I try and change Baby Girl into a clean diaper if needed for her nap while all this is going on. If not, I let the boys read on their beds while I change her.
3. Storytime –
This is one of our favorite parts of the day. We choose a book or two and snuggle in and read them together. This gives them a few mins before we actually lay down to calm their little bodies and get ready for sleep. Plus as they get older we practice letter recognition, problem-solving skills, and prediction skills. Plus of course, reading is just plain good for their brains.
Once they are smuggled in with kisses and “I love yous,” I sing our song, turn on the night light (ours has a nap timer!), and leave the door cracked.
Now, this is not to say I never have to go back in and tell them to settle down. On the contrary, at least once a week I stay because the boys are messing around and need a little extra attention to make sure they get to sleep.
I hear moms say all the time their kids won’t nap or they can’t do naps once kids are out of a crib. That’s when I want to ask them “who’s the parent? Who makes the rules?”
It’s not always easy but I can literally count on 1 hand the number of times that I just could not get them to go to sleep. (P
As my oldest gets close to turning 4 and we prepare to send him to preschool next year he might get the option to read quietly instead on occasion. But for now he naps.
What’s your naptime routine look like? Drop a comment below and let me know.