My boys are 5, almost 4, and a year and a half. All three of them nap, or at least rest, every day. I had no idea that this wasn’t the norm. My kids have always been nappers, to the point where my family would tease me that my kids were always sleeping.
I’ve seen lately a lot of moms of toddlers and preschoolers giving up their nap, and I didn’t have any idea this happened! When my kids started to fight their naps, we just transitioned into a “rest time”. Realistically, young kids (and older kids) need some quiet time each day to rest and relax. Plus, if you have older kids and younger ones, you need a way to keep the older kids quiet so they don’t wake up the baby. Not to mention, mommies need a break. Or maybe that’s just me?
In my opinion, everyone needs some rest time, and since we are homeschooling, we’ll probably keep up rest time until our kids are teenagers! That’s not to say it’s easy, but here’s some tips and tricks to get started.
How We Keep Our Kids Napping
Set Your Boundaries
We have different boundaries for each of our kids for what is acceptable during rest time. For Mr. C, it means that he’s staying in his bed and genuinely trying to nap. After a while if he’s still awake, he gets a book or two to read quietly. For A-Man, he doesn’t quite “get it” yet. He starts in his bed, and he has a few quiet toys in his room to play with. He eventually finds his way to his bed and falls asleep. For Baby M? He is in his crib. Usually he falls asleep really quick, but occasionally he plays with A-Man a bit first. If the boys sleep, after they wake up, they are free to play quietly in their room for the rest of “rest time”.
Adjust as Needed
Our rest time has had many different forms over the years. There have been times where Mr. C had to nap in my room so that he and A-Man didn’t keep each other awake. There have been times where “rest time” was a half hour because that’s the longest I could keep them in their room without screaming. Now rest time is after lunch. How long it lasts depends. Usually it’s a few hours, but sometimes they fall asleep after a while and are in their rooms for most of the afternoon. We had to switch bedrooms around a bit so that they could actually rest, and it’s worked wonderfully so far.
It Won’t Be Perfect
There are still days where Mr. C throws a tantrum because he doesn’t want to rest. Sometimes A-Man tries to come out of his room 50 times during rest time, and you can often hear him belting “Let it Go” or the Sid the Science Kid’s “I’m looking for my friends” song during his “nap”. Sometimes [like today] the baby is teething, so if I make the slightest movement he hears me, wakes up, and starts screaming. I’m not kidding at all. Yesterday I was trapped in my bedroom for the whole nap time with a box of tagalongs and some soda for lunch. The rest time won’t be perfect and peaceful every day, but if you stay consistent, it’ll become a regular part of your day. Now, after lunch is over I say “Mr. C, go potty!” and A-Man knows that’s his cue to go lay down. It works for us.
Overall, just have some grace. I totally recommend trying it out with your kids, even if they’re “too old” to nap. I’m a twenty-something and I still need naps sometimes when I’m cranky! Plus, moms deserve a rest too, whether you spend it doing chores, working, or eating the candy you’ve been hiding all week.
Do your kids have a rest time? When did they stop taking naps?