It’s been so long since I’ve even thought about sleep training. Most of my friends are already on their 3-4th baby and I’ve already given them the Sleep Lady book. Remember to use room darkening or black out curtains. Find a Lovey or Blankey they love. Use a sound machine or a box fan. Sing the same songs/books before every sleep. Nap & bedtime both.
Of course, not all have taken my advice *cough* those of you who feeling cranky and look bedraggled *cough*.
My boys, Squish and Stretch are 4 years old now and beginning to drop their naps. Cue the sad violin and ugly crying. My mom and I were discussing sleep training yesterday, so I thought I’d update and talk about the stages of attempted nap dropping that toddlers go through.
18-20 MONTHS: my boys fought naps hard. This is the most common time that Parents give up on naps. Don’t do it! Keep working through it. Keep making attempts. Initiate Quiet Play (see below), or just keep going in an putting them back in bed. Unless your 18mo olds are still in cribs and don’t crawl out! Mine were sleeping on their crib mattresses on the floor by 18mo.
2.5 YEARS: Your children are still not ready to give up naps. See how cranky they are in the evening? Ugh, I feel your pain! Again, see above advice and below for Quiet Time.
3.5 YEARS: Again with the nap ditching. You may think they are old enough, but I can promise you there are still more months of napping ahead. Right around my boy’s 4th birthday, they still had days where they slept 3-3.5hrs for nap.
Two major things will be accomplished during the daily attempt to ditch naps. It’s your first opportunity to introduce “Quiet Play”, a true lifesaver on crazy days! On days that you can just tell that naps aren’t going to happen bring in special Quiet Play Toys. These are very special toys that aren’t played with except during Quiet Play. The genius behind this is that your children will BEG for the Quiet Playtime. Hum, let me think about that…YES! These toys are played with for NO LONGER THAN TWO HOURS. Normally Quiet Play lasts 1.5hrs, toys are picked up promptly after QP. They stay in their room, with the door closed, and play for that time. Your. Welcome.
These were our favorite Quiet Play Toys. They enjoyed these from 18mo and still play with them. With the exception of the Duplo blocks, we moved on to “big boy” Legos at 3.5yrs.
Magnformers – The slightly off brand of Magnatiles. Cheaper than Magnatiles and they work just as well. Between my sister and I, we’ve tested all the other magnet tile brands, and these are the only two that work properly. You can try the small set, but they are such an awesome toy that it’s worth it to buy the larger set.
Duplo Blocks – Legos are in your future, so get them started with the Duplo so they can’t swallow them. They don’t hurt nearly as much as the tiny ones that will plague your future self. The bigger the set or the more add-ons, the longer the Quiet Play lasts!
Melissa & Doug Wooden Trucks – Another high quality brand with a ton of toys to make your life easier. These little trucks are super sturdy and mine are still playing with them at 4yrs. *HINT* sometimes you’ll see a few of these at Marshalls & TJ Maxx
Melissa & Doug Wooden Dressup –
WOODEN Train Track Set – Now I say Thomas, but I don’t mean you need that brand of tracks. They are super overpriced. I will say, buy a brand and stick with it. They all say they are compatible, but they really aren’t. I probably have 5x the amount of trains and tracks shown here. It’s really nice to build them a giant track, one that covers entire floor of their room. Then they don’t have to be so close together, and it cuts down on the arguing.
Sometimes you can find them used. Just don’t attempt to order them from eBay, the shipping is outrageous, because of the weight.