03 April 2008

Singing Those Nap Time Blues

You wait all day for that magical time of day- Nap Time, and when you finally out your bundle of joy in the crib and sneak out of the room for your glorious "Parent Retreat," you hear WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Parenting can be fun, can't it?? Well, I have to tell you that this has happened to me as well and I discovered a way to make nap time quiet time again.

When our first child became old enough to stand in the crib, I soon became acquainted with the Nap Time Blues. After making sure she was fed, burped, and changed, I would place her in the crib and say "nappy time, sleep well." I would then creep out of the room and go into our bedroom. As soon as a stepped out of her sight, the crying would begin. I would sigh and go out to see what was wrong, and miraculously, the crying would stop and a smile would appear on her face.

Well, remember this was my first child and I was learning here, so I would make sure everything was "high and dry" put her back in the crib and leave the room. Sure enough, the crying started all over again. Question: what to do?? She is fed, she is burped, she is clean (fresh diaper). I decided to try an experiment: The next day I set-up a small mirror in our hallway so I could see her from the bedroom, but she wouldn't be able to see me. I made sure that the baby monitor was working and then I was set to go.

The next day after lunch and playtime, it was soon time for her nap. I again, made sure that she was burped and changed and then I placed her in the crib, went through the usual routine and left the room. Sure enough, the crying started as soon as I was out of sight. However, this time I did something different: I didn't go out. I stayed in the room and watched what she was doing. Do you know what?? She was standing at the head of the crib and staring at our bedroom door and crying. Then she would stop and wait. When I didn't come out, she would cry again for a few minutes....all the time staring at our door.

I have to tell you that this is one of the hardest things I had to do. I waited for 15 minutes before I went out and checked on her. I knew everything was fine; she just wanted me out there with her. After 15 minutes, I went out and checked to make sure everything was fine, and then went back to my room......the process repeated, but this time after about 10 minutes, she stopped crying and started playing in her crib. About 10 minutes later, she was sleeping.

This cycle went on for about a week, and then she would just fuss a little, then play, and then fall asleep. As far as I can imagine, and I am no physchologist, this was just a sort of control issue. She was trying to establish control over me. If she knew that EVERYTIME she cried, I would come running, think of the power she held!

Now, I am not saying you should ignore your child when she cries. I am saying that when you have conditions such as the ones I have just described, you should not let the child control you. Remember, YOU are the parent. YOU are the one in control, NOT the other way around. You need to teach your child that you will respond when they need help, but you will not be at their beck-and-call. It's like the Cry Wolf syndrome. Teaching and instructing children starts from day one. They are not stupid. As you can see, from 3 months, my daughter was trying to see how much power she had. She was TESTING me. At 3 months!

Now, if you are having nap time problems such as I have described, then try what I did. It only took me a week to settle the issue. For others, it may take a little longer. Yes, I know it is a very difficult thing to have to stand there and listen to your child cry like that, But if you KNOW that there is nothing wrong, you should try and stick it out for NO MORE THAN 15 minutes, before checking. Then repeat the procedure.

Hopefully you too can turn Nap Time into Quiet Time. Both you and your child will get the rest they need.

Next time: some recipes

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