12 September 2008

Quiet Time

Let me preface this by saying this is not another rant post about my daughter. I love her, cherish her and and am so grateful for her. She's the only one I've got, you know?

In the afternoon I get tired. About 1 or 2 it hits. I get the yawns and just don't want to do anything. Sometimes I get so tired I cannot physically keep my eyes open and need to take a nap. It doesn't happen very often, maybe every other week. I think it stems from my walks in the morning. I know exercise is supposed to give you more energy but for the last year or so it has been zapping mine. Sometimes I just need a power nap to make it through the day.

When Boogers was napping it was no big deal. I would just lay down for a few minutes and then be re-energized. Then when she stopped napping I implemented quiet time. She hated that so much. I would tell her she needed to play in her room for a few minutes and I would come get her when it was time to get out. Most of the time she wouldn't play she would just fall asleep. She would rather take a nap then spend an hour alone in her room.

Lately quiet time has been movie afternoon time. I still need down time--whether to rest or just catch up on the computer--and so does she. Instead of forcing her to play in her room I just put a movie on. If I make her take a nap she won't go to bed until really late and that's no good for anyone. In an effort to decrease the amount of TV that she watches I've had to be a little more creative.

Today I got really tired. I knew that while we were playing together that I was going to fall asleep. I could not keep my eyes open. I told Boogers that I was just going to lay on the floor for a few minutes and could she not bug me but play for a little bit until I woke up. I swear it wasn't more than two minutes and she was in my face asking for something. I told her that Mommy was sleeping and could she do that herself. The crying ensued. It's like I tore a part of her heart out. This went on 3 or 4 more times in a half hour. So here we come to the root of the post:

Boogers is incapable of playing by herself.

I've known this for a while and have tried little things to help her learn this all important skill. I give her opportunities to play by herself and it won't last more than a couple minutes.

Today it got to the point where I was done with my little power nap but I pretended sleeping just so I could see what she would do. She spent most of the time on her little chair about 7 feet away from me. She would whisper little things to me. She was unable to not say words or leave me alone for more than 5 minutes. Like I said I love her dearly, but every Mama needs a break.

Three and four year olds are supposed to play by themselves, right? Am I way off? Are my expectations too high? I read a book last year that said that this age group should be able to spend at least an hour by themselves. That has never happened in my house.

Right now she gave up on quiet time and just went to sleep. What kid would rather take a nap instead of just playing for half an hour by herself.

What do your kids do? I know this is part of her personality and I will never get her to do things that other kids do, but I'm hoping that I can help her with this skill.


Blog Stalker said...

I definitely know what your talking about, as far as that run down feeling. I call them the 2 o'clock blahs. (they can come on at any time)

Dont know if there is any template for how a 3-4 yr old should be. Had several, they are all different. Just need to find something that is their thing and support that , hobby, interest, whatever. Think of it as a compliment, that 'boogers' want to be with mom. And remember, before too long, they may not want to do anything with you. That does not feel great either.

Good luck!

Emily said...

i never noticed the "terrible twos" only the "terrible fours"!!

as for the 1-2 pm lull.... here are my options only IF there is no caffeine in the house....

a. make playdough (it occupies any of my kids for at least an hour)

b. dub your quiet time, their quiet time too. they don't have to go to sleep, but they DO need to play quietly in their room, be strict on this. what helped me on this one was i have a special "quiet time" bin of toys with coloring stuff(color wonder is great because they cant draw on the walls!) hand held video games, and a littly lego set... set a timer so they know not to come out until they hear the beeping, be positive about quiet time, say it's for HER not for you... so she doesn't feel like she's getting punished.

c. trade kids with neighbor for a few hours (the only problem is that everytime i do this i come home and clean INSTEAD of taking that much needed nap!!!)

d. a special tv show... with my boys we have a set of movies that are only whipped out on special occasions, in this set is "the goonies" "monster house" "the princess bride" "home alone" "transformers" of course you need to decide what the "zone out" movies are for your kids!

anyway, hope the ideas help you to keep your sanity!!!

hang in there!

Leslie said...

I know what you are talking about. Last year my little girl (then 4) was ready to stop napping, but we still needed quiet time for me to rest and for Baby Brother to sleep. I made the bottom drawer in her night-stand a place with several things that I thought might hold her attention for about 5 minutes each. On the days when I needed a nap, I told her that I needed to take a short nap and that she could not come and wake me up. Sometimes when I woke up, she would just be sitting next to me looking at books. She has always had a hard time playing alone too, but I just kept working on telling her that she needed the quiet time and eventually, she did a little better. Good luck!

kjehansen said...

I am no help again. Emma doesn't like to play by herself either. Although, the last little bit has been better. She will color or pretend to write in her journal or fill up the bathroom sink and play with her polly pockets (it makes a HUGE mess, but at least she is playing with something that she likes). I hear ya though!

Lisa M. said...

While I have no words of wisdom for you, I thought I would say. I understand your plight.

In my case, the children eventually "got" it. But, it took some time.

Cheryl said...

I'm not really sure; because when my kids need "quiet" time, that means we turn on the TV. *hangs head in shame*

But my current 4 year old likes to play by himself occasionally. And so did his older sisters. I owe this to the fact that I'm a crappy mom. I don't have time to do things like bake cookies and play Candyland. I'm too busy...blogging. And hating baking and small boardgames. *head hanging in shame again*

But hey! It fostered independence! So, there you go!

Sorry, I'm no help. :(

Matt & Brooke said...

I so feel your pain! I don't think it's as much an age thing as a personality thing. Carson is right there with Rachel following me EVERYWHERE...questions and all. and Brynlee seems more independent even though she's only one. I do make Carson have 1-2 hrs. of quiet time, and it only works because he's locked in his room by a child's lock on the door. It sounds harsh, but really is my sanity. He HATED it for the first couple days, but it's been that way for over 8 months and now he doesn't even think twice...he knows he has his time alone!

bythelbs said...

I get the every 2 minutes interrupting nap thing at my house, too. My kids seem to play by themselves just fine as long as I'm "available", but the minute they think I'm "unavailable" like on the phone or trying to rest or in the bathroom, then suddenly they NEED me. Yeah, it's annoying. But it's also nice to feel needed, right?