When Caroline doesn’t want to take a nap…she goes to her door, takes off her pants, and slides them under the door into the hallway…as some sort of signal to me, I guess? I’m just thankful it’s only the pants.
–Miss Jenni, Mom and Kindermusik Educator.
Nap time. Quiet time. Rest time. Book time. Whatever you call it. Kids need it! Parents need them to do it!
Who needs a nap time or at least a rest time?
- Toddlers generally require 10 to 13 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours.
- Preschoolers average about 10 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap.
- School-age kids need about 10 to 12 hours at night.
- Moms need enough time to have a cup or two of tea, listen to the quiet, scratch out a grocery list, and check a few emails–times and tasks may vary.
Ideas for making nap time or rest time successful
Routine, routine, routine. Now, this doesn’t mean that you’re a slave to a schedule, it simply means that when you repeat an order of events, it helps their little brains to anticipate: next is the story, next is the kiss, next is the music, next is the promise of sweet dreams, and next is the rest of our day together! And the beauty of this routine is that during the transition from “a napper” to “a rester,” you can easily adjust the routine by saying, “Even if you don’t need to sleep, you can lay there quietly and look at books” or “You don’t have to sleep, but you do need to stay in your room and play with quiet toys.”
Miss Jenni (Mommy to two little ones and Kindermusik Educator) says this, “We are right in the middle of this transition from nap time to quiet time. I am still trying to figure it all out (and mourn the loss of her beloved NAP time!) but I will say that CONSISTENCY is big big big. Young children are creatures of habit and if you do something out of place or out of step — it can be the end of the world as they know it! I will still read her a book and sing our songs (our normal nap time routine) and then leave her alone for her quiet time. For us, we’re noticing that she is not tired at all at the normal nap time so we’re playing around with this “quiet” time where she has to stay in her room with the lights low. She is free to move around the room, read books, play with toys, etc. I strategically choose which toys end up in her room right before quiet time and remove some that aren’t quite quiet time-appropriate.”
Is your toddler an expert negotiator when he or she knows nap time is imminent? Use a song like May There Always be Sunshine that you both can sing that helps them to initiate and cooperate with the routine of nap time or rest time. If you haven’t already, you might think about having a play list set up on a MP3 player that might include some Kindermusik lullabies, or even some Kindermusik stories that they can listen to.
We all need those times where we break from the pace of the day and take time to cultivate the quiet. It’s especially true for our child’s developing brain, but it’s a good practice for our adult brains, too.
This post brought to you by Jenny Leggett, who remembers many the time of laying on the bed with her toddler, listening for the slow, steady breathing of her sleeping toddler, and then ever-so carefully sliding off the bed herself and making her escape out of the bedroom and into the one and half to two hours of “me-time.”