How to handle baby's naps with older children in the house? Possible to be TV/Movie free? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-20-2012, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I wear ds3 most of the time, but do occasionally like to lay him down for naps (and take a nap myself!)  During these times the older two have been watching movies.  So, they have been watching 2-3 hours of movies a day since ds3 was born (he is 2 months old).  If we were to go without screen time then what can the older boys do for about 30 min while I nurse the baby down?  Also, do others in this situation even feel that their older kids (mine are 3 and 6) can be trusted alone out there for that long?  Also, I think it would be nice to stop so much movie watching, but the baby sleeps badly and I am tired.  I'm not sure I want to give up my naps!  Any thoughts?  I feel they have been watching a lot......


Just curious what others think about this time of life with a little babe....

Jessica, wife to Mark, homeschooling mama to Micah (2006), Noah (2009), Owen (2012) and another on the way this August (20014)
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#2 of 8 Old 03-30-2012, 11:44 PM
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What about having a quiet time in their own rooms to play, look at books, do whatever while you put the baby down/rest yourself?


I have a 4, 3 and 1 year old, and I love my naps too! I'm a pretty good napper, so I've always tried to catch a nap during the day when the kids are sleeping, and I can totally relate to your desire to do so b/c you're not getting a good night's rest. My 3 yr old and 1 yr old still nap but the 4 yo will only occasionally. She is really good at staying in her room during that time though. I just began that when she started to drop her nap. I'd tell her she didn't need to sleep, but needed some quiet time in her room (did 1 hr). Sometimes she will still take a nap.  

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#3 of 8 Old 04-25-2012, 08:26 PM
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There are plenty things your kids can do in the meantime. But none of them will be as attractive as watching TV for sure. I am affraid you will need to give up your naps at least for some time till YOU TEACH THEM to spend that time different way. They can play together whatever they want, read books, do some crafts etc. It is on you to decide wether they can stay alone or not but be prepared they will be going "to visit" you regularly until they get used to keep themselves busy. Good luck!

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#4 of 8 Old 01-29-2013, 03:45 PM
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I am in a similar situation, but in the process of weaning the almost-4 year old off of expecting screen time every time little sister (almost 2) takes a nap.


From when she stopped napping around 2 1/2, I would always put a video on for her while I got the baby to sleep. If I knew I was going to sleep too, I would make it a longer video. This has become an expectation and an entitlement. I also realized that older DD still needs occasional naps, though she would much rather watch a video.


I started out using different things to entice older DD to lie down, when she was 3 1/2. I got her cute kiddie earphones, and let her listen to a CD while she laid down. She was allowed to lie on the couch with her blanket, so it felt like a fun thing to do. The first few times I did this she actually fell asleep. But then she got wise- she didn't want to do it anymore, because she really didn't want to sleep. She was back to demanding videos. And I had to convince her, I couldn't just say "no" and leave it at that, because she would come into the room where I was trying to get little sister to nap (and she's a light sleeper). Actually this was only really an issue with me on the weekends- I was working full time by this time, so we had an au pair taking care of the kids. And for some reason older DD was much more willing to sit around and read books in the living room while the au pair put the baby to sleep (which sometimes took a long time). But I got the au pair in on trying to get DD to nap when she needed it.


The next thing we did was use something fun happening in the late afternoon as an enticement for rest time. I would tell DD that she had ballet class, but she needed to lie down for 45 minutes if she wanted to go. I would make up stuff we were going to do- playground outings, baking cookies, visiting a friend, going out to dinner, ANYTHING that I thought would work.


And now we're at the point where I can basically insist that she lie down, no video, and she will fuss and maybe throw a mini-fit at first but as long as I calmly hold to my guns she will do it. Usually. It is a problem when my husband is around, because he has a harder time sticking wtih no and she knows it, so it has become a vicious cycle where she will not take no from him because she knows he eventually gives in. So he usually puts a video on for her when I'm napping wtih the baby, unless he has time to engage her in something else. One time I napped with the baby and woke to find that DH took older DD out with him grocery shopping. Awesome :).


We have a new au pair now, and I neglected to give her the password for my laptop the first week. But I saw that she let DD use her netbook to watch a video when she was with younger DD around naptime. Bah. We'll have to have a talk about that.


The funny thing is, both of my kids are great at entertaining themselves usually, it's just when they have the expectation of getting to watch a video they suddenly forget how to play with their toys. I think that's the insidious thing about screen time.

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#5 of 8 Old 02-14-2013, 09:06 AM
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you could try books on tape while they lie quietly in bed, or color.

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#6 of 8 Old 05-05-2014, 05:01 AM
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I do think they can be trusted, but you have to know your own children. If they tend toward mischief, some gentle discipline will be in order. A well set up playroom is essential for any family with young children. I would say this is especially true of TV free families, but then again, TV watching families will need a play space as an antidote to all that screen time.
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#7 of 8 Old 05-05-2014, 10:31 AM
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A couple more thoughts, one cultural and one practical:

- What a sign of the times it is that some of us are wondering if there is something else kids can do without adult help other than watch TV! I wonder if this is related to the "over-scheduling" problem that so many people talk about. In previous generations, children had free play time, more than just a half hour, every day.

- A solution many people have for times when an adult wants to make sure s/he is not hovered over by a child is to have a special container of toys and books that are only brought out during this special time. When you come down from nursing the baby, you put the box away. They will be glad if they didn't waste their play time standing at the bottom of the stairs and yelling, "Hey, Ma!"
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#8 of 8 Old 07-13-2014, 10:44 AM
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My sister always limited certain desirable toys and activities to baby nap time ostensibly because they were too old for the baby to be around i.e. playmobil, lego, more delicate things but mostly to keep the kids occupied.

With my oldest I could promise him mom time if he allowed me to get the baby down peacefully. It worked really well and then I would come out and read to him for 40+ minutes. That was really important time to him and sacrificing "me time" or household task was really worth it. It made for many peaceful days.
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