Monday, September 21, 2009

speaking of genius. some new systems I am loving.

nap time.

Nap time has been my sanity for five years.
I have used it for about 1,000 different reasons -
blogging ;-), exercising (before I started getting up at 5 am), my reading and praying time, some cleaning, projects, phone calls, etc....

And this past month I saw it slipping away.
2 1/2 to 3 hours was turning into 1 hr.


Did they not get the memo, nap time is at least TWO HOURS?
always has been, always will be girls!
(seriously, even when we're older, we are still taking scheduled breaks from each other everyday - I don't foresee any other way to get through puberty with everyone's limbs and hair in place!)

Lest those two hours slip out of my hands forever I regrouped and made a new plan.
I do love me a good plan!

here were the snags:
Samantha used to have her own room to rest or sleep in.
I have done away with the play room - all the toys are now stored in an extra linen closet (more on that later ;-).

Nora and Sophie are taking shorter naps.

New plan:

Lydia and Samantha in the same room.
1 hour is spent solely on their own bed.
No talking allowed (in case Samantha does need to sleep, this allows her to do so).
while listening to a Book on CD
each girl was given a picnic basket and allowed to fill it with toys they could only play with for that 1 hour of nap every day - we will switch these out about every two weeks, using the stashed toys from the closet.

Right now Lydia can draw for an hour easy and Samantha can play dress up for 3 hrs, easy ;-) so it's not taking much, but they have more in there, just in case.

hour 2 they are allowed to get off their beds and play quietly on the floor with each other and a new set of toys
They have been switching between their Only Hearts Club dolls, Mr. Potato heads and Paper Dolls
Only soft voices are allowed for this hour.

(I have an alarm set quietly in there that Lydia knows how to turn off, in case I am catching up on some sleep)

you can come out after hour 2, but only if all your toys are cleaned up, and back in their rightful baskets.

for the first week, I handed out suckers to everyone who obeyed...ALL THE WAY.
(Samantha only needed one day of seeing everyone else get a sucker - we've had no hiccups since)

Nora and Sophie sleep for as long as they need and then they have some special nap time toys I am cycling through for them to get out of bed and play quietly on the floor in their room.
They are not allowed out until I come and get them.

They want to be like Lydia and Samantha so bad and they truly enjoy being in just each other's company, no one else, that I actually feel they need this time everyday. Even if I didn't need that time, they would.



It's working.
My two hours, that were slipping into one hour chunks, are BAAAACKKK!
not only that - their rooms are pretty clean because of the toy control.
they are being so creative with the toys I put out.
Samantha gets a nap when she needs one...
and it's so peaceful before and during 4:30p we hit the fan until 6:30ish- dinner -
if only I could come up with a genius plan for this part of the day, we'd be golden.
apparently that needs to be my next project.

So, not only is it working but I have gone up to their rooms after 2 hours, several times, only to hear them all say, "we're not ready to come out yet"

rest on my sweet on.

the Toy Closet:

I needed the toy room in our other house.
I had two children under two that were left to their own devices for several hours a day while I fed two hungry and growing babies.
No brainer.

BUT. the last several months in our old house all I felt like I was doing was cleaning that stupid toy room, cleaning under beds and taking hoards of toys back to the toy room, reorganizing the toy room, gripping at the girls to clean the toy room, sorting through the toys in the toy get the picture.

So, when we moved I discovered an extra linen closet - a big one.
All toys were organized into containers and put in this closet.
1/2 of the books we own, in the closet.
All that is consistently OUT is:
Kitchen and kitchen stuff (and that is pared down considerably)
everyone has ONE baby doll, ONE outfit (except Lydia, because that's where she's at - she has three outfits for her baby out), ONE purse, ONE bottle for the baby and ONE toy cell phone each. Everyone has a little something on top of this, but it's ONE extra thing.
1/2 of our books, the nap time baskets (which get put up until nap time and put away directly after nap time),
and coloring stuff....which has it's own home downstairs in the school room.

all other toys come out only when requested or at strategic times
(I occasionally use this for that evening block that gets us everyday)
and then get put up after a few hours.

and they are too - which was a surprise to me.

my cleaning time, in general, has been sliced in 1/2 or even less.

ah. yes. I do love me a good plan.

(and I'll spare you all the other plans we have that just DON'T the laundry or bathroom cleaning schedule ;-)


Chip and Dani Brown said...

I'm taking notes : ) I love having someone who is a little further in the journey! Thanks for sharing your ideas....I can COMPLETELY relate to the importance of nap time for my sanity...and my twins aren't even here yet!! You give me hope that I will be able to keep at least a "quiet time" around for awhile......and it is a HUGE encouragement!!

Courtney said...

oh. i love you and your systems. it's like you're IN my head! :-)

Jill said...

Can you come to my house next? I am not good w/ plans. :)