Tuesday, May 24, 2011

10 Things to Do When Your Kids Refuse to Nap

So, today has been "one of those days!" My baby was up before six and my oldest not long thereafter, and, to top it off, neither are taking their afternoon naps like they normally do.

Let's face it, moms. Naptime = Mommy Time. For this Mommy, it's my time to write, read, clip coupons, call a friend or even take a shower. So, when the kids don't sleep, Mommy doesn't get the break she needs. And that makes this Mommy very frustrated.

But, instead of venting and taking my frustrations out on my children, I have decided to be proactive.

Here are 10 thing you might do on days when your kids don't nap:

1. Pray. On days like today, if I'm not in constant prayer, then I tend to blow up. Repeatedly.
2. Go somewhere. When I know the afternoon is going to drag by because the two hours my kids usually spend napping is now an open time slot, we pack up and head out. Otherwise, the day seems to never end. We might go to the library, the playground, or a park. Anywhere for the change of scenery. Note: You probably don't want to go the grocery store with tired kiddos.

3. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie. Now this won't work very well with my infant, but for my toddler, watching some Veggie Tales and snacking on freshly popped popcorn is akin to chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Plus, a good video will help the time pass by and may even induce sleepiness (??).

4. Call a friend and have a play date. If you have a friend with kids who also refuse naps occasionally and who understands your frustrations, call her up and arrange a play date.

5. Get creative, and make a card for someone.
We have an art box filled with various supplies [think pipe cleaners and googly eyes, markers and colored pencils, stickers and paints] that we pull out in desperate times. I'm not a "craftsy" person, but my two-year-old loves to decorate with stickers. So, when I need a time-filler, I run (not walk) to the art box, fold some construction paper into a card, and let my daughter decorate it. Later, she can give it to the person as her service project for the week. Everyone wins!

6. Wash the car. If the weather is nice--like it is today--grab a bucket, some dish soap and a few rags, and head outside. Your kids will LOVE helping Mommy wash the car, especially if it means playing in the suds and spraying the water hose. My daughter will be absolutely soaked and filthy when we're finished, but she has had fun and worked a little in the process.

7. Try not to panic. On days when I don't get nap time to clean my kitchen, do laundry or prep for dinner, I can get a little panicky wondering if I can get it all done. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are only human. What you don't get done today will still be there tomorrow.
8. Take a trip.
Some kids will sleep in the car, some will not. My oldest will but the baby usually will not. However, if I'm desperate, we will take a road trip to a nearby town in hopes someone will sleep at least for a little bit.
9. Love on your kids.
When I'm frustrated with my children, my natural inclination is not to love on them. But it should be. Those are the times when my kids are in most need of my affection, and spending special time hugging and kissing them helps me to remember where my priorities lie.

10. Pray some more! That is certainly what I will be doing!

Dear Lord, Help me get through the rest of this day. Help me to be patient and loving to my girls. Help me to show them compassion rather than irritation. Thank You for blessing me with two healthy children. Amen.

This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at Oh Amanda!


  1. Oh - you are so right! I've three kids and they all are bad sleepers. They didn't nap long, often they didn't nap at all and when they turned two napping time was over!

    Greetings from Germany!

  2. Hi, Stephanie! My oldest has never been a good sleeper but the youngest is much much better about napping. Thankfully! Thanks for your comment.

  3. Great ideas! And I love how they focus on positive, quality time together. Nice to meet you from Top Ten Tuesday!