A Good Nap…Spoiled

If golf is a good walk spoiled, then a short snooze in the car is a good nap spoiled.

There are many days where I’m out with my kids, we’ve eaten lunch and are heading home for a nap when the worst happens- they doze off in the car. Even if for just three or four minutes, that seems to be enough to spoil any chance for a nap at home. Suddenly when you pull in the garage they perk up and that’s it. No nap today. No dad time. No “Happy Hour.”

After a few failed attempts to put my children down for nap in this situation, I had to come up with a plan. My plan was to keep them awake in the car by any means necessary.

I have a list of things to do that help keep my sleepy kids awake in the car. First, I talk to them. “Wasn’t that a fun morning?” “Tell me about your favorite part of what we just did!”

Once the conversation dies down, I move on to the next logical step. I crank up the radio, not NPR! NPR is like toddler Ambien and will knock a kid right out. I learned that if I played kid music they would get into it and stay awake. If that doesn’t work, I just start handing out toys. I reach behind my seat onto the floorboard and toss toy after toy into the back seat. Books, toy men, talking cars, balls, dolls, any stray toy I can find I try to pawn off to my sleepy little ones.

If these strategies fail, it is time to up the ante and roll down the windows. This has always been one of my favorite parenting tricks. Nothing wakes up a sleepy toddler quite like a face full of wind. This is even more effective if it’s really cold or raining. Haha!

If this doesn’t work, you can always feed your children junk food. Our kids don’t get junk food often, but when they do it is a BIG deal! I can usually find a snack in the bottom of the diaper bag or in the console of my car. Even if it’s just a crusty, old half-full pack of animal crackers and lint medley, I give it to them.

The last technique is to be used only under the most dire of circumstances. If you have tried all of the above methods and nothing has worked, then you need to hit the brakes. I do not mean slamming on your brakes in the middle of the highway just to keep your children awake. I’m talking about making a definitive stop at a stop sign. Make the kind of stop that would maybe knock over your coffee in the cup holder, but nothing more than that.

At this point some of you are judging me, and that’s fine. You may even prefer to let you children take a cat nap in the car instead fussing with it. That’s fine too. But, I want you to know the next time you find yourself with a carload of kids and nap time is approaching, that you will think about what you just read and maybe, just maybe, you will crack that back window down just a bit.

Happy Parenting!


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