Why Rest Time Needs To Be A Part of Your Child’s Routine
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There comes a time in a toddler, and even a baby’s life when they refuse to nap. They play or whine or something in between, but they ‘re not sleeping.
So, what do you do?
Do you get them up? My answer is, no.
Because rest is a vital part of the day. So vital, that in our household, it is enforced, and here’s why:
What Rest Time Looks Like
We’re not yet fully into the stage of just rest time, as most days my toddler will still take a nap. However, on the days he doesn’t, rest time is still required.
What does that look like?
Well, for us it means an hour of lying on your bed quietly. You don’t HAVE to sleep, but you must at least try.
After that hour is up (and said toddler/child has not fallen asleep), we allow some quiet toys. They could be books or a puzzle, even colouring. However, it is still a quiet rest time.
This lasts another hour so we have two full hours of rest time every afternoon.
Rest time can look different for everyone.
Some are happy to let their child watch a show, while others prefer to keep it screen-free. I don’t think that there is a wrong or right way to do it as long as everyone is quiet and taking a proper break.
1) Everyone Needs A Break
Most mamas will probably start out by talking about how important it is for their children to get some rest. I’m not like most mamas.
You see, I’m home by myself all day Mon-Fri with my two children.
Currently, they are 3-years old and 18-months old. They are wonderful, and loud, and playful. They play hard and they fight hard.
Come 1 pm, we ALL need a break from one another.
Ever heard the phrase, “familiarity breeds contempt“? Yeah, well there’s a lot of truth to it. So rest time is primarily to give everyone a break from each other. I need it and my kids need it.
I’ve made a concerted effort to make it part of our daily routine. If you’re wondering how to do just that, then start with the following two posts:
2) Rest Is Undervalued In Today’s Society
Secondly, I firmly believe that rest is very much undervalued these days.
Society pressures us into believing that every moment of every day needs to be filled with something. Whether that’s scrolling your phone, working, watching a show, etc, etc. I know that for me personally it greatly impacts my mental load.
The same is true for kids.
There seems to be no shortage of scheduled activities available to sign up for. Ya know what?
Adults need rest.
I want my children to know and understand how important and valuable rest is for their holistic health. Just doing nothing else but resting is so good for the soul and body!
Introducing habits like this at a young age means that by the time they reach adulthood it isn’t such a foreign concept. It’s the same kind of attitude that I have about teaching my children to do chores and participate in the work that is involved in running a home.
3) They Learn To Be Okay By Themselves
I recently watched a vlogger on Youtube (The Michalaks – check ’em out!) who was talking about our addiction to social media. One of his theories was that people are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts and so feel the need to fill every moment with some other distraction.
It is just a theory, but I feel as though it has some merit.
I want my children to be comfortable with themselves. By God’s grace, I pray that one day they will have learnt to put enough value on quiet time that spending time with their Saviour is an easy thing to schedule into their day.
As is the case with Independent Playtime, allowing your child to be alone in a place that they feel safe can have great benefits. One of which is reducing separation anxiety.
It doesn’t mean that your child will never want and cry for you, but in general, they will be a lot more at ease in their own company because they’ve had some practice.
4) It Gives Them The Opportunity To Sleep
Toddlers and preschoolers are busy little beings. Often times they can be so busy that we can easily overlook their need for sleep.
Some days they need one, and others they don’t, but providing them with the opportunity is really important.
As I’m updating this post I’ve realised once again how important this point is.
Jack is now 3.5 years old and I had been under the impression that he was done with naps for good. He would take one maybe once a week if that.
So, we transitioned to rest time and we had been doing that for several weeks with great success. Then, one day he fell asleep during his rest time.
I figured he was just really tired and needed to catch up a bit. Except, he did it again the next day and the next. For the last 3 weeks, he has napped 1.5-2 hours almost every day.
Whether he’s going through a growth spurt I’m not sure, but whatever the reason is, he obviously needs the extra sleep. It hasn’t affected his night sleep at all.
I’m so glad we kept rest time and allowed him the opportunity to nap if he needed to. Otherwise, I could have potentially been depriving him of the rest he needs.
I’m a huge advocate of doing whatever works for your family. I really do believe that having a rest time during the day is very much beneficial, but I do understand that not one shoe fits all.
Do what works for you, and make rest time into something that works for your child.
Until next time!