Today I want to talk a little bit about playing in the cot. If you are a veteran of the BabyWinkz Sleep Sense program, this might sound like something you’ve experienced. If you’re not, this might sound like the craziest thing ever. If you’ve got a child who’s not sleeping well, the idea that they might be playing in their cot is probably pretty crazy to you, but it happens. If you’ve got a child who can sleep well, can sleep independently, feel great about their cot, is happy to go there when it’s sleep time, you will find that there will be periods in your child’s life where they’re having a party in that cot all by themselves.
I can remember going through it with all of my children, specifically, around nap time. I’d put them down for their nap, they’d have a party in there, for an hour or more, before they finally would fall asleep. I get asked that question, “What should I do? She’s in there playing and supposed to be napping, or she’s supposed to be going to sleep at night. I don’t know what to do? Should I tell her off for it? Shouldn’t I?”
My advice is to definitely not to tell them off about it. It’s often a developmental phase that you’re child’s going through. It often happens around the eighteenth to two year mark. It has a lot to do with language acquisition. They’re learning so much at such a rapid pace, they need time to process that.
A Change is a Good as a Rest
They often do it by babbling or singing, or talking, and that’s part of the process of just organising all this new information. Try not to panic about it. If your child’s in there for an hour, hour and a half, shouting, and singing, and having fun, yes, they didn’t sleep, but it was still a break. You got a break. They got a break. It’s still a rest because there’s limited chances of running around and moving in one’s cot. You can just call it nap time. Go in, get your child out, and proceed with your day.
If she doesn’t nap you may need to move bedtime a little earlier to try and compensate for that, but try not to panic. It usually fades out in a week or two, and then they go back to napping well. Same thing with bedtime. It could just be, developmentally, that your child needs some time to play, and talk, and do all this stuff. Give it a week or two and see if it goes away on its own. If it doesn’t, then you may need to look at eliminating the daytime nap.
Need to Give Up Daytime Naps?
I find that most toddlers will happily take a nap, but then at bedtime wanted to a have party until 9:00 at night. If that’s happening, into the third, fourth week, it’s time to look at the nap. Otherwise, I want you to just let it go. It boils down to what I say often, is that you can’t force someone to sleep.
Inhale and Exhale…
You could go in there and scream the house down if you want to, but if she’s not going to sleep, she’s not going to sleep. You just remind yourself that you’re giving him ample opportunity to take a great nap, get to bed on time, sleep a perfect night. You’ve given them all the skills she needs to be an excellent sleeper, and the rest is up to him. If she wants to play for an hour before she passes out, fine. If she wants to play through the whole nap, “Oh well.” It’s not going to last forever. It’s an important part of their development.