The Thing About a Nap (or quiet time) for Kids



There have probably been research studies about the benefits of taking a nap. I don’t need to read about those studies though because I had my own laboratory in our house for quite a few years. There were days when my kids needed a nap because they were tired. There were other days when they had to take a nap, not because they really needed one, but because needed the quiet and the repose from the noise and commotion in the house.

Sometimes I even told them, “You might not think you need a nap, but I need you to take a nap!”

Even when the older kids were too old for naps, we had a quiet time. I learned  that a “quiet time” would provide healing and relaxation for our family.

When there had been conflict and tension among the kids or when they were ” I-won’t-admit-it-tired”, it was time for a break. When kids have been going strong all day long, whether it’s in play or in work, it’s a good idea to have a short siesta. Everybody wins – especially the mom.


Here are a few of my rules:

Everybody had to find a spot in the living room [so I could monitor their           behavior].

Everyone had to be quiet for a minimum of thirty minutes. I didn’t care if  they read or drew, wrote notes or made faces at the ceiling, but silence had to prevail. No whispering, motioning, or paper-wad throwing were allowed.

Everybody had to be quiet.


Those thirty minutes were magical for several reasons.

  • The baby  (who was sometimes in another room) usually went to sleep.
  • The toddler totally relaxed and usually slept.
  • Younger kids cozied up into a book and relaxed their minds as well as their bodies.
  • Older kids calmed down from outdoor play and conflicts.
  • I could close my eyes or read my Bible in the quietness.
  • Most of the kids who were old enough to read got lost in a book – often one they would never  have taken time to read during the day.
  • Sometimes, surprisingly, one or all of them fell asleep!
  • When they were old enough to enjoy a continued story, I read to them, making certain I stopped at a place where they’d beg for more – but I’d make them wait until tomorrow.
  • It was a win-win


Time after time, I was amazed at how that respite in the afternoon brought tranquility to our house. Bodies relaxed and tensions evaporated. Minds were renewed and muscles rejuvenated.

I required that the older kids had to be quiet until the ones who needed a nap went to sleep. They learned early on that the longer it took them to quit rustling papers, the longer quiet time would be because their noise kept the baby or toddler from going to sleep.

It was a win-win situation. The list of things I intended to accomplish didn’t seem as important. I got to do some reading on my own without anyone clamoring for my attention. The older kids got to do some reading and the younger ones got their much-needed nap.


There was time to think and to contemplate, time to plan the playtime for the rest of the day, and time to let go of troubled spirits. As the mom, I enjoyed watching the I’m-not-tired!!-kids completely relax. I enjoyed watching calmness settle over my kids and my house. Not only did our bodies get a rest, our spirits did as well.  What a wonderful antidote to schedules, tensions, and pressures.  It was a wonderful,magical antidote. That’s the wonderful thing about a nap!





Airline Oxygen: Taking One for Yourself

Most of us don’t pay attention to the stewardess giving instructions prior to take-off on an airplane flight – if we’ve traveled a lot. We’ve heard it all so often that we think we’ve nothing else to learn.

A few weeks ago, Dave and I did a lot of flying to visit two of our sons in the western states. During that time, we flew thousands of miles – taking off and landing five different times in four different states.

Each time, instructions were given on what to do in the event of an emergency. Each time, the instructions were coupled with demonstrations of how to follow the instructions. I rarely listen closely because it makes me nervous, and I figure Dave will tell me what to do if anything happens.

In the event of loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will be released from a compartment above. In that event, we are told, you take care of yourself first and then help children or elderly people around you. Selfish as it may seem, it makes sense. It’s not selfish.

We need oxygen to breathe and to live. Lack of oxygen causes confusion, memory loss, and shortness of breath. I can’t help someone else if I’m deficient myself. I can’t help someone find the way if I’m confused myself. I certainly can’t pick someone up and carry him if I’m gasping for air.

That’s why I need to take care of myself first – so that I can help others. It seems backward, but it isn’t.

Jesus spent time alone – so that He could give to others. After healing people and preaching and teaching, He had to get away – so He could find restoration and refreshment. He even told His disciples after one long day,  “Come yourselves apart – and rest awhile.”  Scripture says that they were so busy they hardly had time to eat.

When you think you don’t have time to take care of yourself, remember that. If you’re a mom of little ones or a caregiver of elders, remember that.  If you teach kids or adults in church or assist your spouse in ministry, remember that. You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.That’s not just taking care of yourself physically, but also spiritually.

It’s a lesson we all need to learn – and re-learn over and over again.

When that oxygen mask drops down in front of you, put it on your face first and then turn around and help someone else. It’s the only way to do ministry – whether it’s in your home, your community, your family, or your church. [It’s too bad we don’t have a visual signal like a mask dropping in front of our faces to remind us that we are depleted spiritually, isn’t it?]

Our time with God is the most important time of our day – and it’s so easy to let it slip away. Oh, how well I know. I’ve also experienced the sustenance that comes from taking that time, each day with Jesus. Reading His Word, then listening to Him speak to me from those words – that’s where I find my strength.  You can your strength there, too.

When the cabin pressure decreases, you can endure if you’ve spent time taking care of yourself first. When you hit unexpected turbulence, you will be prepared if you’re continually taking care of yourself by taking time with Jesus. When you encounter unexpected turbulence in your day and your plane has to take a sudden descent, you can be confident because you’re equipped and prepared.

Remember the lessons from the airlines: take care of yourself first, and you’ll be able to take care of others. Remember the lesson from Jesus, Who modeled that Himself. He calls us all to “come apart – and rest awhile.”

When was the last time you took the time to come apart and rest . . . awhile?