Remember Jem!? My mom recently found my kindergarten lunchbox. It’s 26 (!) years old or so yet in great condition. I was debating giving it away when my mom suggested I use it to store some of Mazen’s smaller toys.
Mom is filled with good tips on parenting. She said she used to have a special basket of toys that I was only allowed to play with at naptime. It got her a good hour break for years – even after my naps were over and we had Quiet Time every afternoon. She would change out the toys and add new little trinkets to keep me excited about it.
We’ve been struggling a bit getting Mazen into his crib for naps. He’s obviously tired and once he’s down he’ll nap for 2+ hours, but it’s convincing him to settle down that’s the problem. Stories, singing, rocking – they all get him tired but he just wants to stay up for the fun when it’s time to get in.
Thus, the Lunchbox Surprise was born.
I’ve been filling the box with a mix of his smaller toys – Tegu blocks, big legos, wooden toys and new book. We’ve been at it for a week now, and so far it’s been a hit. When he sees it in his crib he gets excited to climb in, and I say goodnight and leave him playing. Within 10 minutes he’s sound asleep. The cutest part is that he packs everything back up before he finally goes to sleep! And now he asks for his “prize.”
Now before some of you go crazy for allowing him to have anything but a sheet in his crib, I wouldn’t do this if he were anywhere near the “putting everything in my mouth stage.” Mazen hasn’t put anything non-food in his mouth for about a year. So I feel comfortable. And I make sure the toys are big and sturdy. I also watch him like a hawk on the video monitor until he’s asleep since he’s getting to the age where he might try to climb out of the crib.
I’m sure this won’t last forever, but for now it’s been a fun and helpful change. And I’ve had fun planning the surprises!