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Monday, March 15, 2010

My Magic Timer (Nap Time)

Though my daughter, M, may be three years old, she needs a lengthy daily nap.  Until recently she was sleeping for a solid 3-4 hours in the afternoon and needing every minute.

Recently we noticed that she doesn't seem to need quite as much sleep, which is fine (and normal).  We're putting her down for her nap a bit later.  Sometimes she still tells us she isn't tired (and she is).  Here is where my magic timer comes in handy.

M is already familiar with how timers are used in the kitchen.  However, they become MOM'S BEST FRIEND, and quite magical, for nap time!

When M tells me she wants to come downstairs or isn't tired, I explain to her that I will come and get her when the timer rings.  This also works if she wakes up two hours early (or never really went to sleep).  I was amazed at how quickly she understood this concept...and she does not complain one bit!  This has been effective right at the beginning of nap time (after the fight getting her to the bedroom) and mid-nap.

This also works when it is 6 a.m. and not time for me to be out of bed yet, but my little girl is wide awake.

Now I don't actually set a timer, but every day Derek or I go to her room to wake her up at 5 o'clock.  If she happens to wake up a few minutes before, we do get her up, but most days she sleeps until right about five.  Am I deceiving my daughter?  A bit.  She thinks I go down to the kitchen and turn on the timer.  But is there a timer?  Yes, but it is just a clock on the wall.  So it is a bit magical.  Derek and I are okay with that.

Just the other day, Derek reminded M that it wasn't time yet.  He was amazed at how she immediately put her head on her pillow (and not because she is the ever-obedient child, trust me).

How do you use timers with your children?  I'd love to hear!

Edited: Please be sure to read the comments below, especially Sharon's.  She speaks about children needing to obey the parent, not the timer.  I hadn't thought of it before, but by choosing your words carefully, they will be obeying you.


Christy said...

We have used timers in this way too, and it is always effective. Reagan doesn't nap consistently anymore but we still have rest time and the timer works wonders.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Very clever! All my children nap, or have a quiet reading time in the afternoon, so the timer for my three year old, is the sound of the others' footsteps coming up the stairs.

The Activity Mom said...

We did something similar with a nightlight on a timer in B's room. He knows it's time to wake up once it goes off and time for bed once it goes on. It doesn't help us with nap time though.

Ticia said...

I love the magic nap timer. I also use a CD of music playing, and that works too.

Miller Moments said...

We use timers for sharing toys. If the boys are fighting over a toy I let one play and set the timer, when the time is up then the other child gets to play. It prevents a lot of screaming because they know that they will each get a turn. We also use timers for what I call room time each day. The boys play in their rooms alone for 15-20 minutes (depending on how much time mommy needs!) and when the timer goes off they know they can come out and play with each other again. I think it's good for them to learn to play alone and also play together. I think your idea is brilliant. I may have to try it with my two year old....

evanwick said...

We do this too! I used to have to do it a lot at bathtime. Rose would want to play and I'd want to wash her hair first. So I'd tell her I'd set a timer and she'd have x amount of minutes and then we'd wash her hair.

Now that she is getting older we are trying to teach her a loose interpretation of telling time -- especially for bedtime, getting up, etc. The time is ______ when the clock says a certain number (for the digital clock) or if the hand is in a certain spot (on the kitchen clock).

I love hearing about every day life at your house!!

The Activity Mom said...

After reading your post I went timer crazy! =)
Instead of B saying "Can I do it now?" 800 times, I told him he could do it when the timer goes off. I also did "Naptime when the timer goes off". =) thanks!

Karen S. said...

At the age of 12, Emily is taking her own showers. We found that she likes to play, sing, etc. in the shower rather than actually washing. (Which of course uses more water and runs the water heater longer). Our bathroom exhaust fan is on a timer, so she will set the fan for 10 minutes. Then she will shampoo and wash first. If the fan is still running, she has time to "play". If the fan goes off, she knows she has to get out. So far it has been working good in developing a little more independence from mom and dad.

Sharon said...

I kinda disagree with you on this one. I think you should tell her what to do and she needs to obey. Part of learning obedience is doing what you don't want to do but doing it anyway out of respect for your parents... or authority.
It seems as though you are passing the buck and giving it to the 'timer.' You don't really need to do this. Just tell her 'the clock doesn't say it is time yet, go back to sleep.'
She needs to learn to do what YOU say not what the timer says.

Said with utmost kindness.

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