Naps and rest time are a big issue for parents, especially parents with small children. How do you get your children to calm down and rest? How much sleep does your baby need? How do I ensure that all my kids sleep at the same time so that I get the quiet time in the afternoon that I deserve? (Well no one really asks that, but we’ve all thought it, right?)
This week the 4 Moms of 35 Kids (unless one of us is secretly expecting, which is completely possible seeing our babies are all nearing or just passing their first birthday) are talking about naps and rest time.
One of the hallmarks of parenting is lack of sleep and there have been more mornings than I can count when all I can think about is making it through until nap time. Nap/rest/quiet time has changed over the years in our home, but it’s still an important, although less regular part of our day.
Here are some tips for nap time:
Keep it regular.
Our bodies function best when there is a regular rhythm. If we rest at the same time each afternoon our body anticipates that rest period and slows down making it easier to sleep. Our whole house quiets down and rests around 2 o’clock each day.
Having a regular bedtime and regular wake times also help promote regular nap times. There are some children who sleep LESS when they are overly tired.
Separate children if possible.
Each child needs a different amount of sleep and we’ve found that even though our children have always shared bedrooms, everyone is happier if we separate them for nap time, this allows those who need more sleep to get more sleep rather than being woken by their less-sleep-needed sibling.
Hold nap time loosely.
There were many times when our children were all young and I was in desperate need of some quiet or some extra sleep that events would conspire to prevent that from happening. Someone would fall asleep early and wake just as the others were going down. The phone would ring or someone would drop by. If you have children you probably know what I’m talking about.
I think giving up my plans for nap time was an important part of me learning to be a little less selfish. So let go. Realize that you don’t deserve a break from the children, a little extra sleep or an hour of peace and quiet, that’s just a bonus if everything goes as planned.
Don’t give up nap time too early.
All children are different, but simply because a child turns 5 doesn’t mean he/she no longer needs a nap. When our children seem to be ready to give up that nap, I put them down as usual and set the timer for a half hour. They are required to be still and quiet for 30 minutes and if at the end of that time they are still awake, they read books quietly in bed until rest time is over.
Most of our children have stopped sleeping during the day sometime between their 6th and 7th birthday, but a couple have given it up much sooner and some have given it up later.
Give them time to wake up.
We’ve found that some children greatly benefit from some quiet time after they wake up from a nap. When our little ones wake I give them a hug, a drink of water (they love having a sippy cup in bed with them) and a small stack of books and they sit in their bed looking at books quietly until they are ready to face the world again, usually 5-20 minutes.
Keep quiet time.
Even when our children stop sleeping during nap time, they still have an hour of quiet reading each afternoon. This keeps things semi-quiet for those who are sleeping and gives the older ones (and their mommy) a chance for some rest.
Have a nap time routine.
In our home the children spend an hour playing outside before nap time. So when they come in we have a routine to get them in the mood for sleep. Of course that routine includes snuggling with mom and reading books and praying. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
Now it’s your turn. Post about your favorite nap time (or bedtime) book(s) and link up here. When you link up on one of the 4 Moms sites, you will be featured on all 4 of them.
Please remember the rules:
- You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
- Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms blogs.
- The post you link to must be completely family friendly.
If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.
You may read what the other moms of many have to say about quiet time.
I know I just scratched the surface on this post, do you have more questions about nap/rest time?
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.