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Sometimes she reads books the way Daddy watches TV

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I think we’ve reached the stage where we could totally go without naps. And, by “we,” I mean my three-year old, Claire. And, by “totally go without,” I mean she still needs them but I’m not fighting it anymore. And, by “not fighting it anymore,” I mean I’ve resorted to trickery.

Actually, truth be told, I’ve been doing this for a while now. Trickery, that is. As any parent of a preschooler will tell you, there’s a fine line between trickery and clever parenting. And, I’m okay with both descriptions if the results are favorable to both parties.

Claire was always a good sleeper as a baby, so I really can’t complain. Overall, she was a great napper as a toddler, so I realize we’re lucky. It’s just been up until recently that the nap-times have really started to fade. Of course, my tactics change when they become obsolete, morphing into the next trick up my sleeve.

Still, life for everyone is much more pleasant when the preschooler takes her nap, so I still try to push her, ever so gently, in that direction, whenever I can.

“Oh, no!” I’ll tell her. “You don’t have to take a nap. Why don’t you just snuggle under your blankets and read books? Which books do you want to read?”

I read books to her throughout the day, but she also likes to “read” them to herself or her baby or stuffed animals.

She requests her favorite books, and I get her all situated in her bed. Fluffed pillow? Check. Soft blankets? Check. Books to read? Check. Babydoll Daisy, Puppy and any other StoryTime participants? Check. Keeping my giddiness in check over a possible nap-time? Check.

I try not to smile too widely as I tiptoe for the door. I try not to sound too excited as I wish her a happy book reading time. A nap? No, there are no naps here. I’m careful not to mention anything about naps from this point on. Naps are for little kids who need to sleep, and not for little kids who want to read books in bed.

“Okay, Claire,” I say quietly. “Have fun reading to Daisy and Puppy!”

As I get things straightened up in my office, I can hear her reading her Busy Book to the creatures in her bed. It’s one of her favorites. A few moments pass, and by the time I get settled down to start on my own To Do List, I realize that her room is quiet. So, I sneak down the hallway and peek in.

A quiet calmness has descended. My “Just read books in your bed; you don’t have to sleep” tactic has taken another napless preschooler off guard. Luckily, I know the secret. Sometimes she reads books the way Daddy watches TV. And, how is that? Let’s just say there are closed eyelids involved.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson April 23, 2009

    BRILLIANT! Why didn’t I think of that during the no-nap battle?!

    Darling picture of Claire. 🙂

  • comment avatar Kagey April 23, 2009

    Hmmm, my preschooler who still needs naps thinks something is up anytime we go anywhere near her bedroom. Maybe her reading time should take place in the guest room?

  • comment avatar XUP April 23, 2009

    I stopped fighting the nap thing early on because the bonus was that she went to bed so much earlier then, giving me a nice long free evening!

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 23, 2009

    Thanks, Amber!

    Katey, I think you’re right! Reading in the guest room may lead to an unexpected nap, too! 🙂

    See, that’s the thing, XUP…Claire’s bedtime is what it is and doesn’t change. I *wish* it could be earlier if she didn’t get a nap, but the way our schedules are, that just won’t work! I’m glad it worked for you, though!!

  • comment avatar Laurel LaFlamme April 23, 2009

    That’s a great story. Your daughter is beautiful. (My two girls were always their most gorgeous when they were sleeping, I mean “reading” like Angels).

    I wish someone would allow me a hour or two each day for special “reading” time. lol

    Thank you for sharing your brilliant strategy.

  • comment avatar La Petite Chic, www.lapetitechic.com April 23, 2009

    What a genious idea! I will have to remember this for my future kids!

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 23, 2009

    Thanks, Laurel!

    Isn’t it funny how we fight naps when we’re younger. (I remember fighting them tooth and nail. I thought naps were boring.) And, now that we’ve reached this stage, what we wouldn’t give for a nap! Or, a little “reading” time. LOL!

  • comment avatar Cori Keeton Pope April 23, 2009

    Lucky you. When I read the headline of your blog, I thought you were going to say she reads books like daddy watches t.v. – by flipping through them then tossing them aside like she’s channel surfing because she can’t find just the right one. Now that I could relate to!

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 23, 2009

    Cori, that’s funny! I hadn’t even thought of that. We have TiVO around here, which has pretty much cured us of all channel surfing.

    I can’t say that’s a bad thing. That used to drive me crazy! 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori in Denver April 23, 2009

    Sometimes the best stories are the ones that take place behind your eyelids.

    You are both very clever!

  • comment avatar Joyce Peak April 23, 2009

    Your cleverness will end too, and you will have to find another way to “trick” her. At some point
    you just have to realize that the mom needs naps more than kids at a certain stage.

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 23, 2009

    Thanks, La Petite Chic!

    Lori, I agree about the best stories taking place behind your eyelids.

    Joyce, that’s so true! It’s an ever-changing dance, with us both learning new steps all the time!

  • comment avatar Catherine @ onthebanksoftheriogrande.blogspot.com April 23, 2009

    Yes, you are very clever indeed!! My problem is that my two little girls are a year apart and, without fail, one will invariably make sure that the other one doesn’t dare succumb to the evil machinations of THE NAP MONSTER.

  • comment avatar Terra April 23, 2009

    When Hailey naps there is no bedtime. Or should I say bedtime becomes becomes a naughty word in my brain. My first daughter never napped after 6 weeks. I was lucky to get 20 minutes from her, Hailey didn’t nap more than 40 minutes until she was almost 2. Now if she falls asleep for even 10 minutes – she is up later than us – SO no nappys for us. none, notta – zip.

  • comment avatar Lora & Julia Chicken http://advice-with-dr-julia.com April 23, 2009

    Time is indeed running out on that tactic! LOL
    (provided she gets a good night’s sleep).

    Don’t worry, though, nap time will be replaced with time that she spends on her own. So you’ll still get your “break”.

    See ya round!

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 23, 2009

    That’s true, Catherine! I’m lucky that I only have one child to trick into taking a nap!

    Terra, I’m so sorry for you! I’m not sure what I would have done without naptimes when she was younger!

    Lora & Julia Chicken, I’m planning to use this as long as I can! I am glad that Claire still gets her good-night’s sleep AND a nap. I’m hoping the “just read and play in your room” stage will be a relatively easy transition for us when the time comes!

    Thanks for all your comments!!

  • comment avatar Jenna Hallock April 24, 2009

    My kids never fell for the “just rest with some books in your room” trick. I do still insist on a “quiet resting time” in their rooms every afternoon with very few exceptions.

    It wears on me though. My six-year-old (who attends a.m. kindergarten) still asks me almost everyday, “Why do we have to rest mommy? Can’t we just play together in our rooms?!?” To which I usually reply gently with some version of, “Because it’s good to rest your body and enjoy quiet time that is just for you. We all need a break some times.”

    In my less patient moments it sounds more like, “Seriously?!? We’ve been doing this since the day you were born and you are STILL going to argue with me about rest time?!? I can’t force you to sleep, but for heavens sake just go to your room! Mommy needs a nap!” 🙂 You can tuck that away in the file “THINGS NOT TO SAY TO YOUR CHILDREN EVEN IF YOU ARE EXASPERATED.”

  • comment avatar Annette April 24, 2009

    JoAnn:
    This is a great idea. When Elsie gets to that point I use the trickery.

  • comment avatar JoAnn, The Casual Perfectionist http://thecasualperfectionist.com April 28, 2009

    Jenna & Annette, thanks for your comments!

    Jenna, I already have a file started. LOL!

    Annette, I hope this idea works for you when the time comes!

    🙂

  • comment avatar Ratna April 24, 2011

    Love it– thanks for the timely advice… I need to implement the same but candy will need to be involved… hmmm… I hope she can read/hang out alone. that is always the challenge. My little one does what Claire does but now the trick is to get the older one to follow suit.

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