The other day I made my daughter cry on purpose. That sounds horrible, I know. Here’s what happened.
Z has a naptime every day. Many of those days, she doesn’t sleep. For the first while (ranging between a half an hour and an hour, depending on the day) she has to try to fall asleep, although that often consists of very little actual trying and a lot of singing and storytelling. Once that time is over, she can have toys and books to play with- still on her bed. Through all of this, she’s supposed to stay on her bed.
For a couple days running, when I went into her room to give her some books and toys, it was obvious that she’d gotten off of her bed and gotten some toys. I struggled with how to deal with this, because she really needs to nap, and I needed to find a way to help her do that. What I knew was that her getting out of bed for toys wasn’t helping. So I warned her that if she did it again, I was going to take all of the toys she could get to in her room (there’s a bunch in her closet she can’t get to- but plenty near her bed) and box them all up and put them where she couldn’t get to them. (During her nap. I’d give them back afterward. The giving her toys away threat is saved for the times when she won’t pick them up.)
The next day, a day when she particularly desperately NEEDED a nap (seriously, SO WHINY!!), I heard her get out of her bed, and went in just as she was climbing back in. So I very calmly took the toy away from her, went out and got some bins, and started putting all of her toys in them. The whole time I was doing it, she kept saying, “Don’t take my animals!”. So I asked her which animals, and she told me she meant the stuffed animals on her bed. Because, as she said, “They are here for me to play with. I mean, sleep with.”
So what did I do? I told her she could keep her Mimi Lion (he keeps her safe from all scary things) and boxed up the rest of them. Because taking everything else didn’t phase her. And she screamed and screamed and screamed for 15 minutes. And then she fell asleep. And she’s stayed on her bed everyday after that, and even slept for a number of them.
Like I said in the post title, I feel like there’s an object lesson in there somewhere.