Those little newborns sleep so much, it seems like all they do is eat, poop, and sleep. Then as they grow that all changes, they sleep long at night, but their day time rest gets shorter and shorter and shorter, until it seems like they are up all day and with you all day, and no one gets any rest!
Ahh… rest, so important, yet it seems so evasive. God showed us the importance of rest by setting an example of taking rest in Genesis, during the creation of the world. He even commanded that his people take rest. God, being our creator, new the importance of rest. Rest is so important for our bodies and our minds. Here we are going to be talking about day time rest, rest from one another, and rest from labor (play for little ones).
Have you ever been around someone all day, and all night, and all day the next day, and you start taking them for granted and they start to become annoying? A break from one another is good. It is good for siblings and good for parents. Rest went through many transitions at our house:
- Nap Time. Rest started out for the little ones as a routine, a schedule of naps through the day that eventually dwindled to 1 afternoon nap. We followed the Baby wise plan for this.
- Rest Time. When my little ones started occasionally skipping a nap, but usually still needed one. I allowed them to pick a certain number of toys and a few books to look at in bed. They were still required to stay in bed.
- Quiet Time. Once they skipped naps most days (did not sleep during rest time), we transitioned to quiet time.
Quiet time took a little more training than the rest time, because it had more freedoms. If the freedom was broken, freedom was taken away. When we transitioned to quiet time I allowed the child to get out of bed, but they must stay in their room. At the beginning of training, if they left their room they received a spanking, once we were settled into the routine, if they left their room or were not quiet, I would shut their door (which was a huge deal to them!). At the beginning of quiet time they get to pick a 2 toys from the quiet time toys, or they get a “quiet time toy bin”. I also talk them through what toys are in their room. At the beginning of learning quiet time expectations, we even made a plan for what they would play with during quiet time. This preparation helps get them excited about quiet time and prepares them to have a fun time.
Quiet Time Toys
The toys I set aside for quiet time are special toys that are not available at other times of the day. I rotate these toys out with others monthly or bi-monthly to keep them exciting. The rule at our house is that you must clean up ALL your toys after quiet time before coming down stairs. If quiet time toys are not put away, you will not get any the next day. Any other toys that are left out will be removed for a set period of time. When we are training for quiet time I help them clean up their room until they are able to do it without me.
When Is Quiet Time Over?
To avoid this question we use a quiet time clock. We use the OK to Wake Clock. At the time this was the cheapest and best option, now there are several options of comparable price. The OK to Wake Clock allows us to set it to “turn green” at the same time every morning, telling the kids they can get out of bed. It also has a “nap” button, which I can push and it counts down how long I set it to, when “nap” time is over it turns green. We do a 2 hour quiet time, you can set the clock to any given length of nap time. Since we went through the transition from nap to rest to quiet time, we have always done 2 hours and it works well for our family.
Since I do my “responsibilities” with the children quiet time is my time to catch up on my responsibilities as the family manager. It is also my time to rest. I usually spend 1 hour working on some responsibilities, then I usually listen to a book while I do what I want/need to, or maybe even take a nap.