Nap time routines evolve quickly. At least they do in our house. While I tend to keep things pretty traditional and predictable, moving from lunch to hygiene, hygiene to books, and books to bed, our daughter sporadically tests the limits in a typical toddler fashion. And by that, I mean, she tries to call the shots and skip out on her afternoon slumber.
So, what do I do?
I continue on with the standard routine, yet switch to an internal focus. In other words, I follow the daily steps it takes to get our girl in bed, but while doing so, I start to zero-in on what my brain and body need. Sounds selfish? I know. But, doing so might benefit the situation more than you think.
It’s easy to get upset when kids aren’t doing what you want them to do, especially when involving something as physically and emotionally restorative as sleeping. Remember, though, as a parent or caregiver, you are a model, and your child is learning from your behavior. When I catch myself starting to escalate in emotion during a tough transition to nap, I realize its time to turn the attention off from my toddler, and tune into my own needs.
For example, if she stays up playing and singing in her bed for more than a reasonable time, I return to her room, sit in her rocker and meditate, usually practicing alternate nostril breathing. As I relax my brain and body, I let go of built up stress and release tension from my muscles. My calm presence is just enough to get our girl to settle down and rest. It has worked on every attempt. Not only do I get a sleeping child out of the situation, but I feel refreshed and ready to move on in my day.
I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there who has put her needs before her child’s. Please share how your selfish ways have benefited your family during a tough time of the day.