I realized today that I forgot to update on our nap training process after day 1. Just 3 days later, we had a nap-trained toddler. All the process involved was consistency and sticking to my guns and not giving in for anything.
On day 2, she cried at the door of her bedroom for 10 minutes and then willingly came to bed where I read her one book. She fell asleep within another 10 minutes.
On day 3 she started out agreeable. Without tears, she laid down with me and tried to get comfy. I read her a book. She wanted another one, but I’ve set a one-book limit for nap times (consistency and sticking to your guns!). She tried singing to herself instead. Eventually she got frustrated at the fact that she hadn’t fallen asleep yet. She started to get irate. She got up and ran to her door, crying. I dragged her back to her bed and she tantrumed. She fell asleep on her floor as she was slithering out of bed, trying to escape. There she stayed.
Day 4 was my birthday, and nap time was her birthday gift to me. She came to bed with me, whimpered to herself momentarily, but then laid down and fell asleep while I recited the alphabet at her request (her version of counting sheep, I guess…). She was asleep – and I was back downstairs drinking birthday wine – within 15 minutes.
On day 5 she agreeably came to bed, flipped and flopped around for 10 minutes and sang every song she could think of, and then before I knew it she was snoring.
Every day since then has been equally successful.
This short and sweet success story comes from a kid who only ever nursed to sleep, or fell asleep in a moving stroller or car. She was impossible to transfer, so falling asleep in the car meant keeping her in the car, and falling asleep nursing meant keeping her on the boob! Impractical. After weaning, we went through a rough patch for a couple of weeks where trying to get her to nap in bed without nursing resulted in two hour tantrums and NO SLEEP. I resorted to driving her around, but she then started a power struggle with me and wouldn’t get in the stroller or car when she knew it was naptime. I needed to put my foot down, lay down the law, and get us into a lasting routine.
She did try a few tricky tactics to get out of nap time while we developed our new routine. If she asks for tv, toys, or even more books, I’m firm in my “no.” But she then tried telling me she’s hungry, which tugs at my heart strings because obviously you don’t want to send your child to sleep hungry. But she naps right after lunch, so I just have to remind myself that she just had a big meal and she’s just trying to trick me. The other request that got me this week was when she started pulling down her pants and asking to go to the potty. We’ve just had our first couple of successes with the potty and I didn’t want to confuse her by saying “no potty, go in your diaper instead,” but luckily I was able to think fast and instruct her that she can use her diaper when she’s sleeping, either at nap time or through the night. She’s trying to outsmart me already…