Monday, April 16, 2012

Nap Time & Sometimes Not (A To Z Challenge)

We've reached that age where nap time sometimes isn't just a nap anymore. Evie no longer sees the need to take a nap if we haven't sufficiently "worn her out". So we've come up with some alternatives to the traditional nap. Here is a few of our favorites to keep your toddlers busy even when they should be sleeping :)

1. Quiet Time Buckets 
These are easy to make. Purchase 5 Tupperware buckets with lids all the same size. (or use shoe boxes if you can). Then label them Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We put the following items in our buckets, but be sure to customize yours to your child.

Monday: 2 hardboard books, 2 Melissa & Doug Chunk puzzles, a Polly Pocket doll and a few extra outfits, a stuffed animal, and view finder. 
Tuesday: A box of 24 crayons, 2 coloring books, a set of headphones and an mp3 player (which has the volume pre-set, and is loaded with classical music), and a set of site word flash cards. 
Wednesday: A magnetic drawing board, a set of number site words, 2 Chunk Puzzles, a small tea set with 2 cups, 2 plates, hard crumpets, and a tea pot and a small stuffed animal to share her tea party with. 
Thursday: A package of stickers (you'll need to re-fill these), a small stack of blank paper, a package of colored pencils, a set of color cards with extended colors such as turquoise and chartreuse, 
Friday: A set of shape cards,  a set of lacing beads and several hard sticks to lace them on, 2 jigsaw puzzles, a set of Discovery Channel dinosaur figures, and a book all about dinosaurs. 

We don't use these everyday but they are great to have on hand when you need them! You don't even have to use them on the correct day if you can see your child would do best with a particular one over another. Some-days we do have a nap and other days we use other quiet time options. 

2. Digging In The Sun 
Since our younger daughter always takes a nap (for now) from time to time I will reward our older daughter with allowing her to come garden with me while her sister naps. She has to meet certain criteria to get to do this. Such as not having had any whining spells, fits, or slip ups with her manners. She get's a gardening trowel, and a small gardening bucket and has a corner of the yard she's allowed to dig in. During this time we talk just like we are friends out gardening together. She can tell me about anything she wants to and I'll listen. I ask her a lot of questions about her toys, her favorite things, and we just chat. It's really a special time for us. You can customize your special time with things like sewing, scrap booking, cooking, or even just cleaning house together. 

3. TV Special
On very special days such as her birthday, holidays, or Saturdays, she can sometimes pick a movie or TV show to watch during her rest time. She get's her stuffed animal, blanket, and a bowel of popcorn. the TV shows and movies are limited to educational and/or uplifting quiet shows only. No The Wiggles, or Wow Wow Wubbzy. We only watch shows such as LeapFrog Letters, or Reading Rainbow. 

4. Doing My Own Homework
Another option for quiet time is to print off an extra packet of 'homework' sheets such as find the missing letters, tracing, simple addition etc. And allow your child to do the entire packet by them self. they have to sit down at the table or on the floor and work on their homework with out any help, not asking questions and being very quiet. Then grade their homework afterwards (be sure to reward anything done correctly with smiley faces)! This exercise is wonderful to see where they are, and how they are doing. 

5. Special Reading Time
Okay I admit part of this one is an excuse for me to forget the housework for a few hours and lay down with my princess. But that doesn't make it any less of a wonderful quiet time. Special reading time is when we pop a bowel of popcorn, and go lay on mom's bed her with her book, me with mine. She can read it to herself very quietly (she usually reads a dozen or more books) while I read mine. this does several things, she sees me reading, and although she's most likely not reading her books word for word she knows how a lot of them go and she tells herself the story. This is again one on one time that's irreplaceable. 

PS I have pictures for the past few posts coming  for some reason blogger is having a hard time with pictures this week. Please be sure to check back, and if you have a moment like Pirate School on Facebook. 

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