Tell me if this is familiar. Your child is playing a game, but it’s naptime. You tell them to get ready for a nap. You even give them a countdown to expect when it’s time to finish playing, but when it comes time for a nap, they throw a fit. “But I’m building my tower!” “I’m in the middle of my game!” My daughter is only 2 years old, but this is all too familiar in our house. I’d honestly never thought about this problem or how to fix it until we were watching a Daniel Tiger episode one night.
In this episode, Teacher Harriet is getting the class to lay down for quiet time. None of the kids wanted to because they were playing with their toys. Teacher Harriet explains to them that our bodies need time to rest so that we can play later. She reassures the children that their toys will be there when they get done with their naps or quiet time. This got me thinking about how we can apply this to our children’s daily lives. After some research, I’ve come up with a few ideas.
#1 LEAVE THE TOYS WHERE THEY ARE
One of the biggest issues we have with my daughter is that she wants all of her toys in the same place she left them in when she wakes up. Typically I use the times when she is napping to clean up around the house. This usually means I put up the toys that she has left out throughout the day. There are a few options if this is your struggle. The first option is to just simply leave the toys there. Is your child building blocks when nap time comes? Leave them exactly where they are. Assure your child that the blocks will be there as soon as they wake up. Playing a game on the tablet? Have your child pause the game and leave it in a specific place. Don’t touch it until they wake up.
It can be super upsetting to have been working so hard on something and find that someone messed up all your hard work while you were away. Imagine you’re doing a puzzle. Probably one of those 1000 piece ones (those are my favorite). While working on it, you have to go do something, maybe some laundry or take a bath. When you come back you find that your partner has put the whole thing back in the box so now you have to start back from the beginning. How upset would you be? I’d be absolutely furious. Our kids feel those same feelings when we clean up whatever they were working on.
It might take a few times of doing this before your child is ready to trust that you won’t