Quiet time is the new nap
We are closing in on the third birthday and now find ourselves in that weird space of will-she/won’t-she nap. It’s been my experience with all other nap-drops that The End is Nigh when I have to work to get her down. When a nap is still part of the Golden Age of Sleep, it happens without much input from me, but the more rocking/bouncing/dancing/etc. I have to do, the sooner I have to throw it a going-away party.
A day with no nap is a long day for the parent and for the child. However, in lieu of naps, we are having an hour or so of “quiet time.” This involves E in her room, in her crib, lights off, curtains drawn, noise machine on (all the trappings of sleep, should she feel so inspired). She used to have books, but I think the Seattle Public Library would thank us not to do that anymore, given her propensity for seeing what happens when she tears the pages (many a Franken-book have I guiltily returned to the library; I should seek a second career as a book surgeon). Now she just has her “guys”–a motley crew of animal friends who engage in various adventures with her during this time. She talks to them and sings and basically processes her day; it’s actually pretty entertaining to listen to.
Do I feel funny about sticking her in her room all by herself? No, and here’s why. Kids need space, quiet space, free from a lot of stimulation and distraction, to work on developing an inner life. Here, in this space, they learn to think. They begin to play with and over time master language—and the more words they have the more ideas they can work with and build on. This leads to their developing creativity and a sense of self, the latter of which encompasses things like who they are, what they like, how they learn, and how to process, sort, and react to the barrage of information constantly coming in. And with these things, they learn to trust and value themselves as creators, thinkers, and all-round competent, confident kids. (DeGaetano 2004)
Not a bad yield for a little quiet time.
DeGaetano, G. (2004). Parenting Well in a Media Age. Fawnskin, CA: Personhood Press.