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 I 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!