Give your child an afternoon rest time
Today I want you to consider giving your child an afternoon rest time as part of your daily rhythm.
When children give up their afternoon naps they still benefit from an afternoon quiet time every day. Some people need this chance to rest more than others. I’ve noticed in our family that one of my daughters has a much harder time than the other if we skip rest time and I know as an introverted mama I really need some time alone in the afternoon!
But I think an afternoon rest has many benefits for children of any temperament:
It’s an in-breath that anchors the daily rhythm.
It’s a necessary rest for introverted children.
It’s a chance for extraverted children to practice being quiet and alone.
It’s a much-needed mental health break for mama.
It develops everyone’s capacity for a healthy dose of solitude.
It instills a habit of resting and taking breaks.
It’s an opportunity to experience not being entertained all the time.
It’s a break from our very overstimulating culture.
It gives siblings a break from each other (very important for homeschoolers!).
It gives older children a chance to read quietly or use puzzles/manipulatives or other quiet solo games that sometimes gather dust on shelves.
It makes it easier to get younger siblings down for a nap.
Quiet time often leads to creative breakthroughs, beautiful art, and wonderful ideas.
How to give your child an afternoon rest time:
1. Decide what you want the parameters to be in your household. In some families this is a time to really just rest in bed, for other families there is more freedom to play quietly or read books. I think this can shift and change over time depending on everyone’s needs and the ages of your children. How much time is rest time? What noise level/volume is acceptable? What activities are allowed? Where is everyone located during this time?
2. When will rest time occur in your daily rhythm? How will you turn this time of day into a cozy ritual? Think about how you’ll lead into rest time and how you’ll transition out of it. Will you have songs or verses, tell or read a story, light a candle, or do anything else to mark the time in a comforting way?
3. If this is new for your family, how will you help your preschooler adjust? Would it help to tell a story about rest time, set a timer and increase the time slowly, set up a special cozy corner for this time, put together a basket of quiet time books and activities, or have something special planned for right after rest time? How will you support your preschooler and how will you hold the boundaries?
4. As with any part of your daily rhythm, remember that it will take a lot of consistent effort for this new activity to fall into place. It won’t be too long though before it’s something that you can all count on!
Does your preschooler have an afternoon rest time? What tips can you share with us about helping a child get used to this if it's new? What do you do yourself during quiet time?