• Reworking naptime

    Date: 2012.04.20 | Category: parenting | Tags: ,

    Naptime has become a bit of a challenge at our house. Kate still desperately needs a good two hours, and mama still desperately needs a good two hours, but James and JT aren’t always willing to cooperate. I’m working on training James (and coming along nicely, I think), but JT is a bit more challenging. Most days he doesn’t nap, which means he’s bored and looking to get into trouble. Now I don’t mind him demolishing his own room, but he also gets into the bathroom. We kept discovering that he had filled a garbage can with water to float his toys in, or used all of the little flossers for some game, or squirted out half of the soap onto the floor. So he lost his bathroom privileges. Which means he needs to ask us to supervise him in the bathroom during naps. And he quickly realized that it is much more fun to call for mommy to take him to go potty 8 times than to play by himself. Aside from the fact that he’s keeping me from napping or showering or interrupting my quiet time, he’s hollering right outside Kate’s door and often wakes her up before she’s ready to wake up cheerful. And the last thing I want is a short nap AND a grumpy girl for the rest of the day.

    Now I know some of you are thinking that its too much to ask a three year old to rest quietly for two hours, but I don’t buy it. For one, I think are kids are capable of much more than we regularly expect from them. Two, he can and has done it in the past. In fact he was doing it daily back when he was still in a diaper- it was the whole bathroom thing that did him in. Three, while some moms may not need as much down time as I do, I find that if I don’t have a few hours to myself I go a little crazy. It is much easier to parent when I am recharged. Four, when else am I going to sneak some chocolate into my diet? Those kids can hear a candy wrapper crinkle or the sound of a handful of m&ms several rooms away!

    Yesterday was the final straw. JT was standing in the bathroom as I was putting Kate down for nap and I asked if he needed to go potty. He said no. So I closed the bathroom door and the baby gate and walked downstairs to feed James. JT immediately started hollering that he had to go potty. I told him that he should have gone when he had the chance and proceeded to feed James. JT spent the next 15 minutes yelling with increasing panic that he had to go poop and wasn’t going to make it and I needed to hurry. I finally finished on the first side with James and went up to let JT in the bathroom. As he was going in he told me that I could go back to feeding James and that he didn’t need any help. So I went ahead and started to feed James on the other side only for JT to start hollering that he needed help wiping. Are you kidding me? Ri-dic-u-lous. I was ready to kill him.

    Anyway, I decided that I needed to come up with an incentive plan for a better nap time. A behavior chart or something. EVERY DAY I have to listen to him and deal with him waking up the other kids and needing to use the restroom every 5 minutes and I have had it.

    Here’s what I came up with-
    He starts nap with the potential to earn 20 cents. The first two times I have to interact with him he loses a dime each time. When he’s out of money he starts getting punished each time I need to deal with him. As soon as he earns a dollar we make a trip to the dollar store for a prize. If he can earn his dollar in just 5 days he gets the option to spend it on a treat at McDonald’s where he can play on the play structure.

    Today is day one. He lost both dimes in the last half hour which resulted in a tantrum. Maybe tomorrow. I have high hopes.