Thursday, February 28, 2008

Naptime, or lack thereof...

Something has happened to nap time at our house ever since Emily and Rachel started sharing a room. We thought we were making progress when a friend suggested putting Rachel down first and then Emily down a bit later. This was working great. Until the past couple of weeks.

Rachel falls asleep within minutes of being put down for her nap. Emily stays up with me and has her own play time, quiet time and then we practice her Bible verses and I read to her before she goes down.

I fear that Emily has the same trouble I had for YEARS where I struggled to fall asleep - I would lay there and lay there and lay there some more. Oh my, it took me so long - even until I was in my 20's! So, I can empathize with her when she says she could not fall asleep. Because of this, I have allowed her to lay in her bed and look at books if she does it quietly. She will lay in her bed and look at books quietly IF Rachel stays asleep.

Sometimes Emily has admitted to waking Rachel up and sometimes I know Rachel probably wakes on her own. Either way, once she wakes up - that nap time is pretty much shot for the day. They get so wound up and no amount of me going in and settling them down or even spanking has made a difference.

I am absolutely unwilling to give up nap time or some kind of quiet time in our home. But, here is where I struggle - is it worth all of this frustration, all of this feeling disrespected by two small children, all of this effort for them to take a rest?

I'd be willing to consider Emily moving out of their room to have her quiet time on our bed let's say, but I know truthfully that it would just create a new problem. How to keep her on the bed? How to keep her quiet? On and on and on. Is it worth all of the frustration that would create?

Some of you will conclude that I am not in control of my children if I can't enforce this - but how many spankings and reprimands can one mother give that go totally unheeded? Emily knows what she is to do and she often does it, but I know if I concede on this it will be the undoing of quiet time in our home.

I struggle with feeling disrespected by an 18 month old and a 3 year old. I thought that wouldn't come until they were a lot older! But, they lay quietly in their beds JUST when they know I'm checking on them - as soon as I close the door and quickly reopen it - there they are back in disobedience. So, clearly, my words mean little to them.

Yesterday afternoon when I went in to let them get up - Emily was sound asleep and Rachel was, well - here is one view of what I saw and this happens frequently:

I don't know what my purpose is in posting this other than to get this frustration out...I don't know if I am asking for advice or correction. I am afraid of some of the feedback I might get. But, if you truly have something to share - I'm open to hearing it. But, I'm not open to screaming matches between two little ladies all afternoon every afternoon!

I have been praying about this and will continue to pray that God will give me wisdom and understanding to know the best way to handle this for our home.


Mary Ann said...

I'm praying that God will give you wisdom in this!

Megan said...

Oh, Monica.... I struggle with the same thing (I have a 2 1/2 yr. old and a 1 yr. old). Currently, My 1 yr old takes naps on my bed (she has cerebral palsey & some other brain based issues ~ she's not walking or crawling yet)
Anyway, I don't have advice to give... just wanted to give you a virtual hug. Parenting is hard and no one should be a critic.
I can't wait to see what others have to say!

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I can understand how frustrating this is. I know how much I value my rest time. I really need it so I can recharge and be a better wife & mother in the afternoon and evening.

Have you thought of a reward system for Emily? It is hard for me to even suggest this because I would want my daugter to stay in her bed for quiet time and do what I am asking just because I am the mother and I am saying this is how it is, but we know just because you are the mother doesn't always make it so! Anyway, maybe a sticker or stamp system where she can earn a sticker/stamp for obeying the quiet time rules and if she earns x number of stickers she gets a reward. Simple things... a walk down the street with just Emily and Daddy, a hour at the library on Saturday with just Mommy.

Another thought was using an alarm clock. Make a chart that shows Emily what the time looks like at the start of quiet time and what the wake up time looks like. Set the alarm for wake up time and let her know that she may not get off of the bed until the alarm clock rings. Then if she falls asleep you can just turn off the alarm if you want her to sleep longer.

As for Rachel, I don't know. I know why she is no longer in the crib and I just have to say Yikes! Megan is 19 mos and I can only imagine the damage she would do if the crib did not contain her!

Best of luck and I am curious to see how this works out for you. I am sure this will be coming up in my home sooner then I am wanting. I will be praying that you find a solution for a restful quiet time!

Leanne said...

First, I can empathize with feeling disrespected by an 18month old and a 3 year old...
My 18 month old would be the energizer bunny and never nap. However, that doesnt' work because he acts horribly if he doesn't get some amount of sleep.
Here is what I came up with:
There are 2 hours of quiet time in our house. My oldest child sleeps in my bedroom and my youngest sleeps/ or stays in his crib...
We don't care if you sleep, but they must be quiet (I use books on days that the sleeping doesn't seem to happen)
Second, we are really trying to teach the boys that our actions affect ALL OF US as a FAMILY....if they do not do what Mommy asks, then it makes it hard for Mommy to do the things they want. I often tell them Mommy needs her "nap" time, too...if they can't be quiet for Mommy, then things they want to do, may not happen.
Finally,I decided last week, my goal was not to get them to respect me, love me, or do what I want them to goal is to teach them to be be respectful, loving, and godly young men... I need to keep my temper in check (which I was having a hard time with) and model that behavior for them.
Now, with disobedience, a firm consequence comes... My two like to do what yours did with all of that stuff on the floor... the consequence would be they had to pick it all up, put it away, and have a few favorite toys put away also, until they could show Mommy how to respectfully treat their things and all the hard work that Mommy does to keep things presentable...
In some ways, this is more work, however...I have stayed a much more calm Mommy.
Keep up updated!

Edi said...

My kids are 8.5 and almost 6 and I still insist on a "quiet time" for about an hour a day. Not so much for their sanity, but for mine.

It hasn't always been easy. When my dd stopped napping, the rule was she was to stay in bed and read quietly - they were sharing a room at the time. I'm thinking I may have had my dd in our bedroom while brother slept in their room.

It is worth the effort to enforce it now - if not sleeping at least being quiet and in their own beds. There are many years ahead where you will appreciate the peace that it brings.

But I do know the feeling of how much more discipline can you give one child over a situation. My dd was like that. Someone else mentioned rewards - and that did work on my dd. Not saying to never discipline - but sometimes that will make the difference in one particular situation.

Did Rachel just come out of the crib when the new baby was born? Is it possible if during rest time she could be back in the crib (baby in a porta-crib or something else just for that time)?

Reflections. said...

I've been dealing with this with our two year old during naptime lately and trying to get him to stay in bed. He is not yet sharing a room for naptime but will be in the future. He knows that he doesn't have to nap, but it is rest time.

I try to do things in slow transitions. Would it be an option to put the one that sleeps well down somewhere else and work with the other to stay in bed for rest time? I try to explain my expectations and the consequences of being disobedient up front. If he gets out of bed or is loud I take him back in and nicely say it's rest time you need to say in bed. The next time I say firmer that he needs to stay in bed. After that I just take him back and put him in bed without speaking to him. This has worked pretty well so far, with each day getting better. I'm hoping to have him knowing what rest time is and being obedient during rest time before I transition to sharing bedroom for naptime. This is all in theory though :)

I totally understand the disrespect issue and feel your frustration. We've been trying to explain disrespect to him but it's very frustrating.

I loved what Leanne said about the goal is to help them to become respectful, loving and godly kids.

Anonymous said...

I think your children are blessed to have you as a Mother!!!
I think your bed for Emily's nap might work better. (or somewhere else besides her bedroom) My three year old naps on my bed everyday. We have lunch and I allow her to watch Dora for a few minutes... when I turn off the t.v., she knows it is time to sleep. I am NOT saying use the t.v. :o) Be like a duck, let some stuff roll off your back. Don't be so hard on yourself!! My children are...20, 14 and 3 years old...they are all dfferent. Parenting is hard work!!! So rewarding!! Hope naptime gets easier!! :o)

Fe said...

I know _exactly_ what you mean! Quiet time (Puggle at 3.75 has pretty much done with naps) has been a struggle for us, and I am planning to move Bilby out of the cot in our room in the next couple of months—I have a certain amount of anxiety about that!

I know that my biggest struggles with Puggle and nap time occurred while I was pregnant with Bilby (and _most_ needing my own naps!) But we persevered, and he is now pretty good. Part of the solution was just time and reassurance, but I think the 'active' big thing was doing a lot of pointing at numbers on the clock in his room (and using 'room locations as well'... half past is the big hand pointing at the floor, quarter past is the big hand pointing at the window) and he is now able to stay there for about two hours. We still have days that are a bit of a struggle, but they're not the same _battles_ that we have had. He knows that he has to lie in the 'dark' for 'ten' minutes (he doesn't really know how long ten minutes is... it's just a slightly longer than comfortable time), then he may pull up his blind and 'read' or use his magnadoodle or play with soft toys—as long as he's on the bed (I am very much looking forward to him reading properly, as I think this will be a big help, but I don't expect it soon...)

I did wonder whether this has become more of an issue since the new baby? I know we had a lot more acting up here when Bilby arrived, in ways that hadn't necessarily been an issue previously.

I guess I don't really have much to contribute, but it _is_ worth persevering, and it _will_ pass!

stephanie@{Olive Tree} said...

Monica, you have good thoughts here from other women. I have three little girls - a just turned 4 year old, just turned 2 and a 9 month old. The 4 year old naps/rests in our bedroom, and the two little ones sleep in their cribs. (All three girls share a room). I decided to pull out my oldest because she doesn't nap anymore and the other two really do want to sleep. Yes, sometimes they bounce in their cribs and giggle, but they are little enough they are contained and will settle down after a few mintues to sleep.

With my four year old, I did this (and it was something a friend suggested to me when I was sharing with her my own naptime woes!): I set a timer in our bedroom and very clearly told her that if she got off the bed at all or if she called out for me, then she would be disciplined. (The one exception was bathroom needs). :) Then I made sure she understood ... she repeated it back to me ... and it has worked really well for her. She knows that she is to stay on that bed and look at her books until it buzzes - after that she may play with her naptime toy (whether I give her something or she colors), but we set the timer again, and she has to play quietly on the bed until it buzzes a 2nd time.

This is a season - mine are close together like yours and I know that naptime is just as important for mama as it is for the kids (maybe more) right now and it's is so frustrating when you can't get a little breather.

Simple Family Supper lady said...

Monica.. thank you for sharing this from your heart... you keep it "real" here! I have 4 children.. the youngest 2 are 19 months apart and share a room. Nap time in the same room has NEVER worked. My solution: one goes in his own bed, the other, mine. I did have to lay down with the one on my bed at first (to make sure he stayed put and went to sleep) but now he has no trouble. To be honest, it helped me to get rest too! I needed the nap and it forced me to lay down... if I fell asleep YEAH! If not, I guess I didn't need it. You NEED a time of QUIET in your home!!!!! You NEED rest as much as they do! Do not give up... you will find what works for your family!!!!!!!!!!!

Jammie said...

This is quite a tough thing to deal with in mothering. Especially with a new baby in the house, you need the quiet time as much as the girls. When mine were that age, I paid attention to how they behaved at the arsenic hour(you know when dad is about to walk in the door and your trying to cook dinner and the kids are in a tizzy?) If she is not too grumpy by this time of day she may not need a nap. However, you should train her to have a quiet time. At first you will have to sit with her the whole time training as necessary what she can and cannot do. This means you will not get a quiet time for a while. All of my kids quit napping between 2 and 3 years old. When they stopped napping, I then moved their bedtime up a bit. That has really worked well for us. My just turned 4 year old goes to be about half an hour before her siblings since she doesn't take a nap. And sometimes, I will still have one fall asleep during quiet time. If you haven't seen the godly tomatoes site, I suggest it. There are lots of articles on how to train children. I found it very encouraging and practical.
God Bless,

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

Hmm, this is a tough one, and advice only goes so far because all children are so different-what works really well for one child won't necessarily work for another.

Just a few quick thoughts:

#1-About the disrespect issue. I know how you feel, but my mom and MIL, both nurses, used to point out that young children have low impulse control. Although they might KNOW that they aren't supposed to do something, that doesn't mean they have the impulse control to stop themselves from doing it. This doesn't mean you should let them do whatever they want-you continue to correct and discipline. But it does mean that a mom should cut herself and the kids a break when it comes to expectations. They probably aren't deliberately trying to be disrespectful.

#2-If Rachel falls asleep easily and stays asleep, is there some way you could put her down to sleep in your room, maybe on a mat or a blow up mattress or something (I'm assuming your bed is too high). Then Emily can be in her room (with it's familiarity and familiar rule of what you can and can't touch) and dealt with separately?

Good luck-I know you will pray and figure this out.

Mrs. C said...

Oh, Monica, I have been in your shoes! My children are now 10, 8, 6, and 4. Three of my kiddos gave up sleeping at naptime by the age of two. We still have Quiet Time every afternoon.

I would plan on spending several days training your oldest to do exactly what you want her to do during Quiet Time. This will mean that you won't get QT yourself.:( In the long run, though, the time spent training will be well worth the effort.

I would suggest a spot for her where she is within your eyesight--maybe even in the same room with you. One of my kids uses the couch; another uses the floor in my bedroom. Give her specific instructions on what she may/may not do during QT. If she disobeys, immediate action is required on your part--according the the guidelines you have in your home for correction. Return her to her QT spot and continue to watch her. As soon as the disobedience begins, it's your turn to immediately intervene.

This may seem like going 'round and 'round, but consistency is the key. Mom has to be the victor in this battle! :)

If you know for a fact that she won't fall asleep, perhaps you can create a special box of QT activities for her. My non-nappers have a selection of books, puzzle, and other "QT" activities that do not require supervision and that are reserved for use during QT. They are free to use these items under two conditions: they must stay quiet and they must stay in their assigned spot. If they choose to disobey, they know the consequences.

These are just my humble suggestions. Most importantly, keep this as a matter of prayer and don't give up!

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica ~ I'm glad to see the comments you have received so far are all supportive and non-critical! :) There are some good suggestions, too. When I read the ones about using a clock, it reminded me of when you were a little girl. It didn't involve naptime, but was related to staying in bed in the morning. You were supposed to stay in bed until the big hand was on the 12 and the little hand was on the 6 (or 7, I can't remember!). Anyway, more than once, we got up to find you watching the clock until it was time to get up!

As some have suggested, maybe for naptime it would be better to put Rachel in the crib and Emily in their room. Rachel would be contained, and they would be separated. I know when you tried this the other day, Emily wasn't happy about it ~ but you could explain that it is because they were not resting as they were supposed to when they were in the same room.

As someone else has pointed out in these comments, parenting is hard! I am also sending you a hug, and will be praying that you will find what works for your family. Love you lots, Mom

Tracy said...

My oldest would nap like a dream. And he stayed in bed at night. Then came the next one. She would scream when I put her to bed, laying in front of the door, trying to look under the crack.

They can reason at this age. And they are being sinful in their disobedience. Perhaps, offer a small reward IF they nap properly. A story, or a special toy that can only be played with after a successful nap/quiet time.

Stick to it! If you give up, it's gone forever! Mine napped until they were five.

Rebecca said...

You are NOT a are simply a mother of 3 young children :-) I had this same problem with my 3rd child. No matter what we did, he would NOT stay in his bed...and without a nap, he was in a terrible state of mind all afternoon. Finally, I had do some of what you're doing with your daughter, but we, together laid down on my bed. I told him stories and we sang and he would drift off. This may not work for you but my main point here was to let you know that you are not, by any means, failing your children. This will be the first of many struggles to come :o) And before you know it, this little daughter will be 20!!!!!

Marianna said...

I am sorry that you're going through this, and I will be praying for the Lord to give you wisdom! Nap time is so important to me too, and I am sure that I will go through something similar down the road since my Samuel is strong willed even at 22 months old. There is no easy fix, but here is a suggestion... Maybe Samuel could nap in your room in a pack n play (or bassinet) and Rachel could take his crib. That would allow you to sneak a nap in the room with Samuel since he's little and wouldn't know the difference. If Rachel won't go back into a crib, maybe borrow an extra pack n play and put both of them in pack n plays- one in Samuel's room and one in your room.

I will be praying, and I hope to meet your Samuel soon.

Tracy said...

I've got nothin' for you...just wanted to tell you that I'm with you! The boys got bunkbeds and every night I bang my head on the wall and ask myself what I was thinking!

I'm eagerly devouring the responses of the other women- thanks Monica!

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

Sorry for your frustration Monica, I have been there. The only advice I can give is to keep working towards your goal of a rest/ nap time. Every child goes through seasons of not napping or adjusting to a new nap area. I have four girls and an in home day care and I only have 3 bedrooms, including my own. And I have learn if you just keep persisting with lots and lots of prayer to keep putting your little ones down for a nap it will end up working:) Praying for you!...hopefully this makes sense since I don't have time to proof read:)

Katy said...

Oh gosh...been there...still there!! I totally relate and understand what you are going through!!! My boys shared a room...till finally we decided to make our storage room into X's bedroom....them being in the same room is NOT a good thing. (for us)We were having the same problems as you!

Respect is a huge thing for me as well and i often feel as though my kids totally disrespect me...but then I try and remind myself how i was when i was i felt...what i i reasoned etc. But...oh how hard it is!!!

Madelyn goes to school so it is just the boys at home with me during the day. Jaxson (my 2 yr old) naps easily for me and i have no problems with him. Xavier (who is 4) is another story...sometimes he will fall asleep, sometimes he finds EVERY reason to get out of bed...drives me bonkers. Sometimes, I will let him lay down on the couch and watch the cooking channel...LOL. He always ends up falling asleep that way!

I wish you the best of luck...and know many of us are going through this with you!! xoxo

Megan said...

Hey Friend,

I haven't read through all of these, so I may be repeating something in here. When this began happening in our family (and you know we had our kids about as closely together as you), I finally realized I was making an idol out of my ALONE time. For me, I was really more concerned about being alone for a couple of hours than I was about my kids sleeping (though they *did* need to sleep too).

I made sure everyone had their own space for naptime. Baby in crib (or pack and play in living room), #2 in her normal bed, and the oldest (then 3 at the time) would get in my bed with me. We would read books together for a bit and then I would simply say it was time for her to take a nap. I would either also take a nap right there with her, or stay in bed with her and read a different book by myself, but regardless, we were both resting. We were just resting together.

Often she would fall asleep then and then I would get up and have my "alone" time around the house I wanted so badly. But often *I* would fall asleep and get a much needed nap.

I have no idea if this would work in your situation, but it might be something to try. :)

Janel said...

My oldest 3 are boys and my youngest is a girl. Girls are really different, so I'm not sure I have a lot to add.

The only suggestion I can add would be to NOT close the door. If they know that you can hear them, they might be more willing to obey and be quiet. Take the next week and show up at the door whenever you hear the slightest noise with an "Excuse me, you are supposed to be napping." We don't close doors and have never really had a problem. Granted though, there were some afternoons... Everyone, even my 13yo, still takes a Sunday afternoon nap.

{hugs} Being a Mom is tough sometimes.

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

I know exactly where you are coming from...only I just have one child, and he's only 8 months!! He refuses to take a nap during the day (I leave him in his crib, regardless, for over an hour, during his "nap time" so he knows he won't get out soon). He is cranky during the evening if he doesn't sleep during the day (sometimes, thank goodness, he falls asleep). This has only been going on for about 2 weeks and it has been torture! One NEEDS that time! I know I can't do this to an 8 month old, but you could do it for your older child, maybe take away a privledge like a weekend trip to the park? The whole family goes and she has to stay at home with a sitter? Something similar that she likes to do at home, she can't unless she is obedient to you? Hope it helps.

Marva said...

Hi Monica! I don't have much to add after reading the others comments. I can sympatize though. I have twin boys, that will be two next month. They ar still in their cribs though. WE have a 2 hour quiet time each afternoon. Usually they fall asleep, if they don't that's okay. BUT, they stay in their cribs. I totally agree with you and think you are a wondeful Christian Mother.

April said...


Just wanted to delurk and thank you for your honesty. Sometimes it is so scary to ask for advice!

We have dealt, deal and will be dealing with this. My 3 year old does not nap and most days, I'm ok with that. Sometimes I'm not.

The clock has helped us on days when she needs to do quiet time. The other thing that helps occasionally is a trick I learned from my sister. She used to tell her son, "You don't have to sleep long. All you have to do is be asleep for five minutes..." :)

Thank you again. These answers have really helped me.

RT said...

My 3 year old has completely given up naps, which means she starts getting ready for bed around 7:30pm. We do have an hour of quiet time everyday where my only requirement is that she *stays in her room*. I can't make her sleep and I also can't make her stay on her bed. We face enough challenges in our day that I don't sweat this one (as long as she stays in her room). It took several weeks, it not months, for us to see Liv obey our quiet time rules. Persevere, my friend! Don't feel defeated.

Prairie Chick said...

2 to 3 hours is an eternity to a small child. Some of my kids gladly slept 2-3 hours and had to be waken, others by the age of 3 no longer needed naps, and survived happily without them...I not so happily.

My 18 month old naps 2 hours, my 4,6 and 8 year olds are required to spend 30 minutes SILENT, positively resting (they can read or look at books, but not play) in their beds, and then 30 minutes of quiet play either in their rooms or in the play room. Their bedrooms and the playroom are all upstairs, the 18 month old naps downstairs on the couch (I lay down him, he falls asleep within one minute, I rest for a bit and then get up and do my own quiet time stuff). After that the older kids have one hour of outside time doing animal chores and playing. (we live on a farm, I don't need to be out with them so this keeps them occupied while the baby finishes his nap).

My advice would not expect a small child to keep themselves quiet for more than half an hour in the same location, doing the same thing. Try to mix it up. It's still "quiet time" but it breaks up the time for them. I get two hours of peace, and baby gets 2 hours of nap, but the "wakeful" ones are not required to suffer in silence for what seems like an eternity to them.

Just Jenny said...

As a mother of 5, I have been right where your at. I will tell you it is OK to feel the way you are. It is certainly a "streching moment".

I have to say that at 3 years mine would do just what Emily is doing. They seem to still need the nap but just stop napping. I actually found that having the current 3 year old lay down with a favorite blanket and books on the couch seemed to allow the younger child they shared a room with a chance to get their nap. Allowed me to get done what ever I was trying to get done. And on occasion they would fall asleep. Which was just an added bounus to our quiet time. I would set the timer so she knows when she can get up off the couch. We alway's set it for an hour. Keep doing all the wonderful things you are doing with her. I know you will make it through this moment your a good mother. With a good heart.

*carrie* said...

Oh, Monica. I hope you get some helpful ideas and some encouragement. You are a wonderful mom!!

I'm so glad I'm coming and can't wait to spend time with you!

Kellie said...

I can understand that your routine is disrupted and it is a difficult adjustment.

I do think you should separate them. I also think the comment about a sticker/reward chart is a good one. And you might even consider that your 3-year old might not need a nap -- I know this may sound crazy to you, but I know many, many, many children who stopped napping at 3 and just went to bed earlier at night. Their total sleep time during the day was the same as another child who might have napped.

Also, I don't think your children are "disrespecting" you. I also rule my roost with firm discipline, but they are young children. I don't think they are purposely disobeying you. I think they have a new situation, with a new sibling and new sleeping arrangements and they don't know how to handle it just yet.

My advice would be to let the little one nap in her bed, since she does it well, then just let the older one have "quiet" time in your room with "quiet" toys and books. If she falls asleep, she falls asleep. If she doesn't so be it. Just give her a sticker to being quiet and staying in the room for 30 minutes and put her to bed a little earlier.

Susan P. said...

What if you found some kind of kid friendly timer for Emily. You could put it in the room and set it for however long you want her to rest. Tell her that she needs to be quiet (read books, stay on her bed) until the timer goes off. (you probably want to come to the room right before if goes off so it doesn't wake Rachel;o) If she doesn't stay on her bed quietly for the allotted time then you can tell her you will add even more minutes. I think sometimes it really helps for children to have a visual reminder. Maybe at the end of the week if she hasn't had to have any time added you could have a special treat of some kind for her. You will find something that works, Monica, I promise! Just keep trying different things and eventually you will find what works for you and your family. Sending big hugs to you, sweetie:o)

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I don't have any advice, just support. Kids are frustrating! And even the best of parents can't control their kids all the time. In fact, if we don't teach kids to make their own choices, they will run wild when they are too old for us to "make" them do things anymore.

I think you're doing a great job and you must be exhausted with two active girls and a new baby in the house. Keep up the good work and just do your best.

Karen said...

Sorry you are struggling with this right now, Monica. As a new mommy (again) you need your rest - and they need theirs too.

All three of our girls (6, 3, 1) sleep in the same room because we live in a tiny, tiny house. The baby still takes an occasional morning nap but all three take an afternoon nap, which is after lunch. (Sometimes our routine gets altered and I can tell that it bothers the girls for the rest of the day!)

Good classic books on tape or c.d. have saved our nap / quiet time. Naptime is one hour so I look for c.d.s or tapes made in 1 hour segments. The oldest rarely falls asleep but she does lay on her bed quietly and listen to the story. The youngest two fall asleep 4-5 times a week.

After one hour, when the story is over, they can get up. If the other two are sleeping my oldest has learned to get up quietly. If they're all awake, they all get up. Sometimes the baby has to go back down after getting up, having a snack (nursing) and playing a bit.

Sorry to write a book but this has really worked well for us. I don't know what I would do without my hour of quiet time.

Donnamarie said...

Monica, I only have one little boy right now (21 months). There are times I put him in for his nap between 12 and 12:30 pm and he'll fall right asleep. Other times, he will babble, scream out loud, bang the rails of the crib (to the point that I was answering the door -- thinking someone was knocking -- that's how loud it was! I would rush in there and be stern and say, "that's enough! It's naptime!". He would sometimes go to sleep -- other times it would go on and on. I've learned to not "feed" the situation by going back and forth and correcting. My thoughts are, if the kids are tired, they will sleep, if not, they won't. Simple as that. Think of it this way, if they don't sleep, then they'll sleep well at night and eventually that "need" for a nap will overcome them and they will get back onto a schedule. Another tip: I would definitely separate the two of them at naptime or just in general. ALso, for your older daughter, I'd just say to her, "if you wake your sister up or thrash around, then after naptime (fill in the blank here) -- in other words take something away that she enjoys, a treat, a toy, watching a certain show -- until she gets the message that you are not messing around. Sometimes just you running back and forth into the room is entertainment for them! Hope this helps and sorry it is so long.

Tami said...

This is our house right now. With a 4 yr, 2 yr and 7 month old, our nap time used to be rather hectic. We did end up separating the 2 boys, the older two. The 4 yr goes in our room for quiet time while the 2 yr naps in their room. It took us months of trying to get them to settle down for naptime and bedtime before we finally separated them and it has been a lifesaver for us.

rohanknitter said...

Wow, you have gotten many good suggestions. To echo several people, I would:
1. Separate them
2. Use a time/clock
3. Allow the 3 yr old to read, play legos, puzzles, anything quiet and on the bed
4. set up a carrot & stick system
(clearly defined reward and discipline)
5. Just try to stay calm and consistent

Just to let you know you are not alone, I will tell you a little story. We were visiting dh's aunt and uncle, along with dh's brother and family. The brother's daughter took a little fall and broke her arm, so the brother & his wife took her to the hospital, the uncle went with. That left us and the aunt alone with the brother's little boy, our 3 yr old nephew. We had him take a nap in a guest room, and we couldn't believe what a nice long nap he was taking. Finally I went into the room to check on him and OH MY. Quiet as a mouse, he had demolished the room. Pictures were off the wall, books off the shelves, he had taken out boxes of slides and strewn them around the room along with a bunch of potpourri. What a disaster!!! It was so bad it was funny. And in another persons's home, no less.
Anyway, as some wise relatives always told me when my kids were little, "This too shall pass."
: )

melissa said...

Oh, my dear, I almost didn't leave a comment seeing you already have 36, but here goes. When I had 3younger blessings (as you do), two toddlers and one baby, we only had two bedrooms at that time. To assure the younger ones slept I had to place my oldest(3) in my bed to rest quietly, he did not sleep easily either. Thus, assuring that at least my younger two had the sleep they need. Regardless of any advice anyone gives you, you will figure out what works best so that all of you can get that much needed afternoon rest time. It may just mean some quiet time for your oldest for a shorter time, say 45 minutes to an hour, then she can get up and have some quiet play time with special toys until her sister wakes up. Some thing to look forward to but that still gives you a little time to rest or take care of things while she is resting.
Have a wonderful day.

Anonymous said...

My 5 boys share rooms...I have been there! Your post brought back tons of memories...bad ones. I did exactly what you are trying to do. The only thing that worked was to put one in my room. I actually never had a problem with them staying there or not touching anything. We play audio books and that generally helps them rest more than regular books. Forget the one hour! Try for two:-) My three years olds always battled naptime...they finally gave in and still occasionally fall asleep at 5 yrs.

Annikke said...

I don't know if it would work, but we went through a phase of this too when our boys were younger (of the nap-taking age) and shared a room.
I came up with a "system"... although it was work on my end. I told them they had to lay there with their eyes closed for 20 minutes. If they opened their eyes at any point, or played at any point, the 20 mintues started over. This would eventually lead to one or both falling asleep.

Anonymous said...

What a hard thing...I was there too! Very frusterating to say the least. I think your kids are not disrespecting they generally obey other times? Probably. So, the problem may be you are provoking them to wrath. It may be something they simply can not handle. A weakness at their little age:-) Protect them from themselves and their sins and seperate them. As they grow you will learn there will be many times you need to protect them from their weaknesses. God's Word is all we need!

Birdlady said...

Hi, Monica. I feel your pain, although my children are older now (9 & 12), I learned something from the lady who cared for my children while I worked. I haven't read all the comments on here, so forgive me if this has been already suggested. My daycare lady used to put an "Adventures in Odyssey" tape or CD on at nap time. The kids were NOT allowed to leave their beds. Usually by the time the story was over, the little ones were sound asleep. Worked here at home, too!
Good luck!
~ Audrey ~

Rachel said...

I haven't taken the time to read all the comments so far, but wanted to encourage you. You are not the only one in this situation and sometimes just knowing others face the same thing is a comfort. Our boys (5 years and 20 months) share a room, but are never in the room together for quiet time. I put the 20 month in our bedroom in the pack and play for naps and the 5 year old has time to quietly play and read in their room. We also have an almost 4 year old girl and we continue to guard afternoon quiet time, for the sake of everyone. Even if the older two don't sleep, the time alone does them good. Hang in there! God is using these challenges in mothering for his glory and your good, and the good of your children. (I have to remind myself of this daily.)

~Babychaser~ said...

Yuck! I'm so not looking forward to that whole thing. When DD is born (hopefully this next week) she will be in our room in a basinet. But as soon as she outgrows that, DS (almost 15 months) will be out of the crib and into a bed. Keeping him in the bed will be one thing (I'm really scared!), but having them in the same room could be interesting. Ugggh! :)

Hope things get smoother!

Jenny said...

Good luck reading all these comments! I just wanted to say you seem like such a great mother and wife. I'm sure 3 children are a handful, but even with your struggles you make it look so much easier than it is. Thank you for being an inspiration to all mothers.

Milehimama said...

Monica, I didn't read all 43 previous comments, so I apologize if I am repeating others' wisdom. I had this problem too.

First, help Emily develop an attitude of servanthood for her sister. Rachel needs her rest, so what can Emily do to love her sister and help her get her rest?

I've had a couple of non-sleepers, but I do enforce quiet time. Sometimes at the dining room table even, or on the couch. Even if she has no need for naps, it is important for preschoolers to learn appropriate behavior and to concentrate.
You cannot make a child sleep, but you CAN require them to stay in one area and read quietly, etc.

One of my boys gave up his nap early. His choices during quiet time were things like puzzles, coloring, etc. He's a chatty little thing, but I would just remind him "It's quiet time. I'll talk when quiet time is over."

Our children share rooms - three to a room - and sleeping on Mom's bed is a great privilege. I do often have to split them up - one sleeping on the couch, one on their own bed, one in the playpen, etc. Otherwise it's just like one big slumber party!

Some general guidelines for discipline - spanking will not make a child be quiet - just the opposite, LOL!


Young children require lots of discipline and training. The older they get, the fewer spankings they should get.

Liz said...

We dealt with this too and I haven't read through all of the comments but my 5 yo was the main offender, she would "accidently" forget and call for me at the top of her voice and wake 2 yo from her nap and once again nap time was gone so 5yo now stays with me during naptime. If I'm laying down she must lay down too if I'm busy getting things done then she can be in the same room as me but must have her stack of books and NO TALKING - much of the time she is on the couch and I can keep an eye on her. It took about 2 weeks of training that quiet time was QUIET! Anyway now we are in a pretty good routine. Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time lurker, however, I had to de-lurk in response to this post;) I have three girls and the first two are 18 mo. apart.
When we moved from the nap to quiet-time phase, I nearly lost my mind as well. I decided to create the "quiet-time" box. I took a shoebox size clear container and filled it with new crayons, coloring book, a couple of new picture books, lacing cards, and animal flashcards. The girls were only allowed to use and look at their quiet-time goodies during quiet-time. If they got down off of their beds or were noisy, I took the box and goodies away. Being able to only play with these things during that time made them special.
Congratulations on your newest addition! Remember not to be so hard on yourself. You are still adjusting to your new role as mother of three.
Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and inspiration packed into your blog.
Blessings, Dawn

Emma said...

I second the idea of using books on tape (or c.d.). I used to do this every afternoon with the children in my first grade class and they loved it! The library near us had tons of different audio books, so yours may too. I bet that Emily can even learn how to change the tape or c.d. when one is finished and she needs a new one. The key is to not allow books on tape to be used at other times during the day... then they will be special.

Kellie said...

You're putting so much pressure on yourself. You are NOT a bad mom just because you can't enforce an impossible rule. I could never nap when I was small either. Kids get all the sleep they need. If not their bodies just shut down.

Pick your battles, I say. Plus, hey, your girls are getting along?!?!?!? Who's that lucky, anyway? You must be FANTASTIC at your mommy job!

valwhite4 said...

You know what I thought when I saw the picture??? What a great story to tell your kids when they get older, especially when they are moms and are struggling. They aren't this young forever -- and you're gonna a have a great story for them -- with pictures even.

jen said...

Wow! You got lots of comments on this one!

I have twin girls, so I feel your pain. God WILL give you wisdom in this area, just as He does in all other matters of mommyhood.

This stage will be over before you know it! :)

Judy in TX said...

A friend with several children posted on her blog a while back about this:
I think you will find it helpful!

Anonymous said...

Monica, one more thought...have you ever done books on tape? As a child, my grandparents would record a special greeting before a story that they sent to us on tape - it was so special. Just thought maybe your oldest might enjoy books on tape.

You're doing a great job!

Stacey said...



Please know that I am praying for you in this. I have been there. And I find, at times I still am.

My advice is simply this: keep your goal in mind, be flexible about what achieving that goal may look like.

For us, it has been very fluid. Our kids share a room as well and we don't typically have any issues at night. But naptime, oh my! We went through a phase of having one of the children in the basement on the guest bed with some books, or on a couch, or our bed. It sometimes still fluctuates from day to day, depending on circumstances and who all is here. BUT, one thing is for sure, our goal is simply 2 hours of quiet time. So do I care if they actually sleep? Not usually (unless I know we are going to have a late night for some reason). But for us, the only thing that works for quiet time is having them in seperate rooms - and it doesn't create a whole set of new problems like you mentioned it might.

SO, I guess what I am trying to say is that I support you 100% in keeping quiet time a firm part of your routine.

The respect is a different issue altogether. If they are not respecting your word at naptime, chances are it is not happening at other times. Perhaps a candid conversation with your husband about this topic would be in order. (Not the quiet time as I see that as more of a manifestation than an actual root problem, you know?)
But talk about respect and how to practice it in all the areas of your interaction with them & hopefully it will improve your quiet time difficulties.

I hope this does not come across as a critique. I just really wanted to help you clarify and process that these are two different issues and to encourage you to work on both of them with your sweet husband's help!

Christy said...

You've gotten so many wonderful comments, Monica. I'm not sure I can add anything to what's been said. Our two little ones have been a challenge in this area, too. After crying out to God for help, I picked up this book and it has been incredible: Boundaries with Kids, by Dr. Henry Cloud. It's a quick and easy read ... but I think the implementation will take some time (for my husband and me).

When I get a chance, I'll try to post some helpful things I've learned from the book on my blog.

Jody Connolly said...

What is your reasoning for posting this? To let other mothers (like me) know they are not the only ones!

I have 5 children and the two younger ones are 2 1/2 year old boy and 4 year old girl. They share a room downstairs right off the front room. I have struggled with nap times and bed times in much of the same ways you have. If I send my daughter to bed first she would go to sleep instantly. But as soon as our son went to bed he would lay in there and laugh or get into stuff until it woke her up.

One of the things we tried for a while was leaving the door open and that worked for a while. But then they got to be a little braver and didn't care if the door was open or not.

Everyday is a new adventure.

I NEED nap time!! If anything for my sanity. It's the only time in the day where I get some peace and quiet and can do something for myself. I am not willing to give it up so easily.

Besides that, the babies need to take a nap also (whether they think so or not) when they don't have a nap around 6 o'clock at night they start getting very grumpy. Mom didn't get her quiet time - babies didn't get there nap time - makes for a very grumpy night.

Don't give up!

Senkyoshi said...

My oldest is in college now, so it has been awhile since I went through this same thing. I read your blog often, so I know you recently had another baby. When I had number three, number two was becoming a little terror. I really do think they get jealous of the new baby. They have to work through this, but we can help. I had lots of people tell me I was not disciplining her enough. One day, I was at my wits end, so I laid down in her bed with her. Within 5-10 minutes, she was asleep and I had a second wind. That begin our daily routine. At nap time, she had mommy until she went to sleep and then I got up to do whatever I needed to do. I have never regretted that I did that.

Chrissy said...



Oh, I remember those days all too well! I'll be praying for you in this along with everyone else. Stay the course. God is faithful to hear and answer our prayers and I know you'll come upon the solution that works for your family. Keep us posted.