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How To Do Rest Time During School Breaks

Today is Babywise Swap day!  You can find me at Twinning Babywise sharing some tips on surviving the hard mom days.

Over here today, Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is sharing some tips for How To Do Rest Time During School Breaks. This is so needed around here as I try to work out schedules for my older kids during Spring Break and plan for this Summer. Hopefully you can glean some things from her wisdom!

Ahhh, summer vacation. Or Spring Break. Or Christmas Break. They can be so rejuvenating and a time for fun memories with the children. Without any structure, however, these vacations quickly make you realize why the line in "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", "And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again" even exists.  

A simple long weekend can be fun to wing, but if you have an extended break, you will want some structure. Many parents worry about how to have "structure" on non-school days because that structure isn't part of the every-day norm. Let me ease your worries. They may also worry because in general, rest time has been dropped since their child entered school.

Your school-aged child is accustomed to very predictable structure at school each day. Being at home with some structure, even if it isn't what it is like at school, will feel normal. We also need to give our children major credit. They are smart beings. They understand school is different from home, and they understand that just because they don't always do something at home doesn't mean they can't sometimes do things at home. Some benefits of rest time include:
  • Time to rest and even take a brief nap in the middle of the day. I love something like rest time in the heat of the day during summer months to get out of the sun, drink some water, and rest up.
  • A quiet house. This can be good for your sanity and also very helpful if you have younger children who need to take a nap.
  • Time to be alone. When siblings spend all day every day together, they can easily bicker.  A break is good for everyone.
  • Structure to the day. It is nice to have just a little structure every day to help keep everyone grounded. 
Currently at our house, our three school-aged children do not have rest time Monday-Saturday, but they do on Sunday. Even though it is only once a week, the foundation we set with naps and rest time when they were babies, toddlers, and preschoolers means that when mom or dad say "Rest time!", they know what that means and what to expect. They also know there are no negotiations or complaints that will lead to happiness. 

Here are some suggestions for successful rest time when your school-aged children are home on break.
  1. If your child is still young, establish that habit and expectation now. You will thank yourself later. 
  2. I find it best to give some warning before the rest time happens. If you tell your children at breakfast, "Today we are going to do rest time at 1:30," you will have more compliant children than if you declare so at 1:30. With that said, however, if your children are having a hard time getting along and you weren't planning on rest time, absolutely declare a rest time last minute. 
  3. I allow my children to read books during rest time. You can have your own list of acceptable activities that are quiet and independent. I have two girls who share a room. I do not allow them to be chatty with each other. I want it quiet and individual. 
  4. Remember rest time can happen in any quiet location. If you have children who share a room and have a hard time being quiet for rest time, you can have one set up on the couch. 
  5. Have a set amount of time for rest time. We vary from 30-60 minutes, depending on what we want time for after rest time and also how much the children need some time alone. 
  6. It doesn't have to be daily. Rest time is great, but you can easily skip it on days that you feel like skipping it. Are the kids having a blast outside and you don't want to stop the fun? Skip rest time that day. Do you want to go to the splash pad all day? Skip rest time. Does your child want a friend over to the house and it would cut over rest time? Skip it. 
If you want your child to have alone time but don't necessarily care about it being rest time, independent playtime is a great alternative. 

During your next school break, remember you are the parent and you get to decide what is done. If your children need some rest time, don't be afraid to do it! Even if it is only every once in a while. 

For more on rest time, see:

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