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July 4, 2010 / MrsH

Blessed Moments: Rest Hour

I LOVE rest hour!  And now that the little one is consolidating her naps into once a day, I’m frequently able to take a break and unwind during my days.  The little one goes down for her nap around 11 or 11:30 and will usually sleep for a couple of hours.  If I time things right, I can get the big kids their lunch, read a story with them, and get them settled into their rest hours and still have about 30 minutes for myself.  It’s not fool proof, but what truly is when it comes to kids?

In Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne describes many ways to help us slow down our lives and provide our children with enough “pressure valves” to help manage the daily tensions.  It’s helped me feel confident that an hour alone is helpful to each of us (not just me!).  It’s often the only time of day that our eldest spends time in free play.  Recently it’s been school.  She reads books to her class, has them line up to go to gym, and practices math with them.  Since it’s summer, she seems to thrive on her authority with her “class.”  The middle one has some specific rest hour toys that he messes around with: a peg board, a puzzle made of cars and a magnetic towtruck, a set of colorform stickers, and a small box filled with random odds and ends.  Some days he observes the comings and goings of our neighbors, listens to music, or lies on his bed looking at books.  Occasionally he takes all of his sister’s belongings, those days aren’t so great.  We do have a video monitor which helps keep him safe, and while I don’t stare at it for the full hour, glancing a peek gives me a decent enough sense of what’s going on.

I’ve also noticed that the kids are far more cooperative with the idea of rest hour on the days that they’ve had some exercise in the morning, and when they’ve received my attention that morning.  I’m still developing my ideas about how much to play with them, but this morning, the big one has been off with dad helping him with errands, while the middle one spent time with me watering the garden, preparing food for tonight, and finally playing a game of Cootie.  He was ok with rest hour, and is currently up there dancing “tootie tah.”

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