For almost 20 years, we have had a daily nap time at our house. This was a hard and fast rule. No negotiating. For one hour each day, rain or shine, everyone was to go to a quiet place for a nap or quiet contemplation for the older set.
Did you notice I use the past tense in that last sentence?
When we had a major construction project going on at our house a little over a year ago, there was sawing and hammering going on while construction workers shouted to one another over the music blaring from their boom box. (I'll never forget the day the kids learned the words to "Black Betty." Good times.) One end of our house was completely open to the elements for weeks, except for a piece of black plastic sheeting stapled to the ceiling and walls.
That's when our almost 20 year habit of nap time flew out the window. Or out the open end of our house. Whatever. Nap time was gone.
So, you can imagine the resistance I received recently from my 3 year old when I tried to reestablish our old nap time routine. She revolted! She could not even remember the time when this was a routine. Or even a one time event.
I explained to everyone that we were starting our daily nap or quiet contemplation routine again. Everyone would need to find a book, a notebook, and a pencil and go to a solitary place for one hour. They would know when the hour was up when the music stopped.
Everyone complied. Except the 3 year old. She cried, fussed, and/or screamed for the entire hour.
Fortunately for me and unfortunately for her, I am more determined than she is, so she stayed in her bed for the duration. I can't say it was altogether restful or relaxing for me, but I have set my mind to reestablishing this good habit.
Past experience tells me that she may very well keep up her resistance for a few days, but if I stand firm, all will be peaceful soon.
Moms, if you have let a good habit fall by the wayside, there's no time like today to reestablish it. Here are a few tips for doing that.
- Explain to the family that everyone is going to be doing (_fill in the blank_) again.
- Remind them of the procedures for above routine.
- Don't be taken by surprise by resistance.
- Establish consequences for disobedience.
- Stand firm in your expectations.
- Keep up the routine, regardless of resistance.