For the first 18 months or so, it seems every time we settled on a comfortable schedule for my baby daughter, it was already time for a new one. But then for the last 2 years (she is almost 3.5 now), she was pretty much on the same schedule and so I forgot that I should just create a new schedule instead of doing everything to unsuccessfully try to get her to stick to the old one when her needs change. Unless of course someone can give me a sure fire way to get her to nap 😉
When she started to randomly skip her nap, the days became a scramble because everything after the skipped nap was completely ineffective; she was tired and clingy and poised for hysterics when she was normally a pretty awesome kid. And did I say clingy already? Cooking dinner was a challenge again because instead of being my little kitchen helper, she might be a clingy zombie one minute, then a clingy Godzilla the next. She was so clingy that even attempting TV magic didn’t work. Everything was suddenly ‘scary’.
Bedtime might be suddenly shifted earlier (or she might even pass out at the dinner table) and then the next day is in a jumble as well, as the next morning she might either wake early, or sleep in, or she might nap for an extra long time and then refuse to sleep at her usual bedtime.
So after my realization that it’s time for me to readjust our schedule to account for potentially skipped naps, I have been shifting all high priority errands and activities to the mornings.
We’re still figuring out what will work best but I’m thinking I need to add some high-energy activities, like her current favorites: crazy dance party, or laundry basket pulling race, to before lunch, to maybe tire her out more, so she will be more likely to nap in the late afternoon.
I’ve also started to gather some engaging yet quick and easy, and quiet or low-energy activity ideas for the extra hours we suddenly have on hand the days she won’t nap. Any ideas or suggestions would be much appreciated! She is starting to suggest some too, like this star lamp.
She saw a star lamp on TV recently so yesterday, instead of napping, we went around the house gathering supplies.
Star Lamp Supplies
- Clear Jar
- Hole Punch
- String/ rope for handle (if Jar doesn’t have one)
Star Lamp DIY Steps
- Measure and cut paper to inner size of jar
- Punch holes into paper and insert inside jar
- Tie string around top of jar for handle
- Place light source into jar
- Close lid
- Turn off room lights to enjoy star pattern on ceiling and walls
This was one of those times where nothing went right yet everything still fell into place. The star lamp is not even remotely near Pinterest-worthy quality, but we ended up having lots of fun making it and she loves it.
How our Steps Really Went Down
She wanted to use blue paper, no surprise there, but we were all out of blue, except for a small scrap that wasn’t big enough to go around the jar, and so we used purple instead. She wasn’t too happy about that but as soon as I showed her how to punch a star into the paper, she was too excited to start and forgot about her disappointment.
However, when she set out to punch stars and swirls and small holes into the construction paper, it turned out her little hands weren’t big or strong enough to do it. It won’t do if she had to just sit and watch me punch paper so luckily she was content with (the added but unnecessary step of) cutting the construction paper into several strips.
As she was cutting the paper, I kept searching for the missing jar lid but after a few minutes, and despite her protesting, made the executive decision to stop looking and just use paper for the lid. The scrap of blue we had left was big enough for the ad hoc lid so she was happy about the color again.
Then it turned out our trusty led lamp was dead. In fact, all our flashlights were either dead or too big for the plastic jar, but as we were discussing putting the activity on hold for another day after the lamp recharges, we suddenly both had the idea of trying the flashlight app on my phone and it actually did the trick.
As she sat quietly on my lap in the darken room inside her tee-pee, gazing up at the star patterns, I struggled to keep from falling asleep and don’t know how she has so much determination to stay awake.
The lamp is surprisingly like the Tranquil Turtle I had (unsuccessfully) used to try to get her to sleep as a baby, and like the turtle, the lamp seem to only stimulate her more than relax her. I really miss my afternoon break while she was napping everyday but this was fun and I do look forward to all the extra activities we can do now.
What is your 3 to 4 year old’s typical schedule? Is it notably different than when 2?