Toddler Exercises Her Will at Naptime and A Child's Hospital Stay

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If you act anxious, your child will become anxious. Establish parental authority in a calm, cool, and collected manner.

Toddler exercises her will at naptime

Q: My 2 1/2 year-old is still sleeping in her crib. When we put her in for a nap, she begins jumping up and down, holding onto the side. (She was also doing this at night, but that has stopped.) We have tried spanking and taking away a favorite activity. Nothing seems to work! We feel like she still needs a nap because she acts tired when she doesn't take one. Please help!

I don't know whether to laugh or scream out loud. Please, take this personally: this is not a parenting problem; this is a parent problem. If the fact that at naptime your daughter takes the opportunity to exercise gross motor skills and have fun at the same time (they are, after all, virtually synonymous) is consuming this much of your emotional energy, you will both be candidates for the loony bin by the time she's 5.

If you simply put her in her crib and leave and let her do her jumping thing for as long as she likes, she might eventually fall asleep. And if she doesn't, so what? Leave her in there for a couple of hours anyway. And if she falls asleep at the 90-minute mark, leave her alone and put her to bed at her normal bedtime anyway. She will eventually self-adjust as long as you stay on schedule.

As it is, it sounds to me as if you're actually preventing this transition from occurring naturally by rushing back in there and threatening and yelling and spanking over something that merits a yawn.

Let the little girl dance!

A child's hospital stay

Q: My daughter, who is going to turn 3 next month, is going to have her tonsils and adenoids out in a few weeks. Because she is so young, they are admitting her to the hospital overnight. How should I prepare her for this? Should I explain at all prior to the event or say nothing? What would be age appropriate?

The more of a buildup you give this, the more anxiety you will generate. Your daughter will not understand any attempt on your part to explain what's going to happen, and it will scare her that she doesn't understand. Add in that she will sense your anxiety, and you will likely have a problem where none would have existed.

The morning of the procedure, say, "We're going to the doctor's today. He's in a new office, in the hospital." Remember, if you act anxious, your daughter will become anxious. She will wake up with a sore throat, and you can announce that she has won the "ice cream for a week" award for being such a good little girl for the doctor! Then you can explain what happened.

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