I always said that my children would nap until they were able to read a book for an hour during nap time…how much of parenting starts with “I always thought or said…” but ends up much different? This nap strategy worked until Rebekah needed to give up her nap, but due to her struggles with reading she was not ready to read to herself and at the same time a very young Michael was staying awake until after 10pm if he slept at nap time. And, that was the end of the quiet rest time I thought we’d have forever. Life got busy and for many reasons I was glad to have that afternoon hour with the big kids for extra cleaning, unfinished schoolwork, or non-baby friendly crafts and games.
However, this summer has been different. I’ve noticed crankiness, bickering and tiredness in the children (and I must admit, me too) by dinnertime most evenings.
During the school year our mornings are occupied by schoolwork, which for the most part is quiet, structured, and individual activity so, it is often after lunch before the children get to really play. Playing hard from early morning until night is not agreeing with the kids and their attitudes show it.
This week I reinstated mandatory afternoon rest time for everyone. It has made such a difference already. All the kids, except Peyton, actually look forward to the quiet time. The big kids get to read and look at books while Peyton takes a short nap. On rare perfectly timed days Emily is also napping and I rest or get some work done. I think nap time has rescued our summer; everyone is happier, nicer and rested in the evenings.