What "Rest Time" Looks Like at Our House

We gradually and very naturally transitioned from naptime to rest-time here at our house, as the children got older and changed from needing a daily nap, to not needing a daily nap.

I am not over exaggerating when I say this:  I do NOT know what I would do without our daily rest time.

I have many friends who do daily rest times with their children...and many friends who do not do rest times.  I simply don't know how moms who don't do them function in the late afternoons and evenings.  Anytime we do need to skip rest time for some reason, I feel absolutely fried by about 5 or 6 p.m.  I am - at heart - an introvert...so maybe that explains why I feel such a need for that quiet time.  I need that time to be quiet and be still and recharge before we head into the last part of our afternoon and evening.

A dear friend recently sent me a question about rest time via e-mail.  She has recently adopted two younger children, and she was wondering what rest time looked like here at our house. I thought I would share my answer here too (along with some pictures I snapped of the children during rest time):


"Our rest time is always 1 1/2 hours.  Sometimes I read of families who have 2 hours...sometimes I read of families that have 1 hour.  I think this is a happy medium for us.  Long enough...but not too long.  

We used to call it "naptime" when the children actually napped.  And at that point, it lasted as long as they were asleep...over 1 1/2 hours if they were still asleep.  But since they've started not needing naps, we set a timer so they know when it's over.  And we now call it "rest time" instead of "naptime".  

I was more consistent about what time it started when the children were younger, but now they are totally flexible and that is helpful.  So, one day they may not start rest time until 3...and the next day (if we have other plans/appts outside the house), they may start rest time at 1:30...or even 12:30.  The children are extremely flexible and that is wonderful.  

And a few months ago we switched from just laying down reading books the whole time to now they read books for the first 45 minutes, and then a timer goes off and they switch to doing a quiet activity for the last 45 minutes.  They are in different rooms.  They get to pick where they want to be everyday.  We use every room in the house: bedrooms, dining room, family room, hallway, kitchen...even my room with me (if they promise to be quiet and not TALK!).  They have to have everything they need for their quiet activity when we start rest time, no roaming around.  (It only takes them one time of not being ready to make sure they're ready from now on!  Aaaaah, the joys of natural consequences.)  Quiet activities: legos (of course!), cars, coloring, puzzles, craft at dining room table, etc.  As soon as the timer signals that rest time is over, they are supposed to clean everything up (put away books, clean up activity) before they come to the kitchen for snack time.  

I fully believe this time is very good for the children...helps them to realize it's ok to be quiet and by themselves and entertain themselves for a while.  (It's not normally quiet around here...and we have to institute this time for any of us to have "alone" time!)  I believe this time is good for them to recharge for the afternoon and evening ahead...and I KNOW this time is good (and much needed) for me.  I need to be quiet and not have to talk (or listen to anyone else) for a while.  I might do a little work (a very little bit) during rest time...but normally I just work on the computer (e-mail, blog, read blogs, etc.) or read...and sometimes (more frequently in the past 8 months) I will nap for part of the time.  

I know I don't have to tell you this, but if you want to start your kiddos having a rest time, you'll likely need to start with a much shorter time (maybe even just 10 or 15 minutes) and work up to whatever your goal is.  But, OH...it will be worth it, friend!

I pray wisdom for you as you look at the schedules and routines at your house and school.  He knows exactly what it's supposed to look like at {your} house and He will guide you!


Those may just look like blocks...but let me assure you, with Daniel's imagination they were not "just" blocks

And sometimes...they actually do sleep:

And sometimes, it is in very unusual places:

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh, the joy of rest time! I don't know what we'd do without it. Interesting.....nap/rest time at our house looks almost exactly like yours!



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