Mamas of more than one--what do the older kids do while you get the baby down for a nap? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 03-25-2008, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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My second is just 6 weeks old, so this isn't a big deal yet, but I see it looming on the horizon. DD #1 is pretty old (4) so it's easier than it might be, but I still don't see her quietly entertainingly herself for 40 minutes, and I remember it often taking at least that long to put an older baby down for a nap. This is my one TV temptation, so talk me down and tell me how you handle it.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#2 of 6 Old 03-25-2008, 08:43 PM
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Umm, she plays by herself , sometimes during the nap I join in for a little bit, or read next to her, or she helps me bake cookies...its partly her personality, partly not being raised with TV, but she can play by herself for hours if I participate for a few minutes every 20 minutes or so (if I seem into it).

A few times out of jealousy she has tried to wake the baby up as I was putting her to sleep, but I've explained that if the baby doesn't sleep, mommy is way less fun...also, the "baby" got used to falling asleep in the sling, with alot of noise around, pretty quickly...
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#3 of 6 Old 03-26-2008, 01:57 AM
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When my DS was born we were living in a two story house. Till he was 4 or so months old, he was pretty much just in the sling all the time. I would read books to DD (just over 2 y.o.) or she would play on whatever floor I was on.

For 'nap time' we would go upstairs after lunch. Half the time the baby was already asleep in my arms and I would get the boppy and hold him and read to her till she fell asleep. But then at about 2 months or so I finally figured out how to get DS to nurse laying down and then I told her she could choose to lay down in our room with us or in her room but I was going to put the baby down in our room first. She almost always chose to come into our room. I would then give her the choice to lay in our recliner chair or the bed. It was about 50/50 if she would choose the bed or the chair. I would nurse the baby till he was asleep and then read to her till she was asleep and then take a nap myself.

Now DS is 6 months and DD is 2 3/4 y.o. and we moved to a one bedroom 600 sf place. Now, I nurse DS in the bed and she plays in the front room most of the time if I think DS is going to nurse to sleep. Sometimes she comes in and lays down and reads a book to herself in the bed. At nap time I nurse DS to sleep and she just rests or looks at a book and then I roll over and read to her till she falls asleep. Except now I get up and say a prayer that they will both be asleep for a long time together.

She has pretty much learned that nursing baby = quite play time. And she is 'rewarded' that mommy will play with her all by herself if she does not disturb the baby while he falls asleep.

Go Green I don't vax either, why mess with perfect?
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#4 of 6 Old 03-26-2008, 10:23 PM
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We wrestled with this for a long, long time. DD1 was 2 1/2 when the twins came, and accustomed to my attention 24/7. It took awhile, and we had a lot of really tough days where I was trying to get the babies to sleep and she'd be crying and demanding my attention, and keeping the babies awake. But over time, we've worked out a routine where I give her a snack right before I bring the babies up, and leave her in the childproofed living room, and she entertains herself, with the understanding that as soon as the babies are soundly asleep I will play with her. I make that time her undivided attention, where we play anything she likes, and that helps reinforce the necessity of being quiet while I'm upstairs.

It helps that she has never had TV, and that she's always been used to me being busy will adult things while she played. She's used to entertaining herself. It also helps that the babies fall asleep quicker, stay asleep more reliably, and sleep longer, now that they are older. When they were younger it was often a three-ring circus in my house.

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#5 of 6 Old 03-26-2008, 10:41 PM
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I've got 2 older ones and then twins (who just turned 2). My older 2 typically play by themselves, look at books, color, paint, do PlayDoh. I like to leave music they like on for them during that time. It's often just my younger dd (she's 4) playing alone when I'm getting the twins down for a nap since my older dd is in school. This works well for them.

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#6 of 6 Old 03-27-2008, 11:28 PM
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If I don't put them down together (they're 2 and 1, so they often nap together), then Adam does:

-lacing beads
-lacing cards (shaped like tools! he "fixes" things around the house after)
-M&D pizza and sandwich boxes
-reads books
-sorts manipulatives by color at the table
-sits at the table to "write" with pens/pencils, etc.

...that's mostly it. Anything he does during his "quiet time" while I'm putting Sarah down has to be a mom-approved quiet activity. He's on a bed or the couch to do any of these things and has to stay there until I come back from Sarah. None of these activities (except reading!) are available without my assistance (they're on top shelves) -- so to get to do them....well, he's never not stayed in one place to do them while I'm with Sarah!

But he is pnly two - that is very different than an older child who can be trusted to safely use different toys/activities when you are not physically present on the same floor of the house.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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