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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Family Health: Rest

As a reminder, there is no perfect family. There is no perfect way to raise a family. Try as we might, we can't raise a Christian, or a perfect child. These posts are just my thoughts I want to share with you- things that are important to me. I could share with you all of my shortcomings and sin issues, but I think it is more appropriate to share edifying, encouraging things of the practical nature. These posts are simply food for thought. Thanks for taking the time to read.

On that note, let's talk about rest. If you are human, you have had a night or a few nights, or a year of nights that result in inadequate rest. For some reason, you cannot sleep (and I am grateful to report that the Lord has granted me deep, restful sleep for the past few months!) and you emerge from your bedroom the next morning bleary-eyed, confused, and on edge. Your self-control is at a minimal level. It is difficult to think straight.

You are a grown-up and you feel this way. Now, imagine a child who gets the same inadequate rest. I have a hard time getting my children to obey and be civil as it is. Throw in a poor day and night's rest, and I may as well not even try at all!

So I make sure that my children are well-rested. What does this look like?

First of all, they have a set bedtime each night. Do we stick to this bedtime like glue? No. But we try our best to get them in bed each night by 8:30. They sleep until at least 7:30 the next morning, sometimes later. The baby sleeps 7:30pm-8am. On our Bible Study mornings, they must be up by 7:15, so I move bedtime up by a half hour.

They also have rest time each afternoon. The big kids (relatively...3 and 4) don't necessitate a nap every day, but they go into their rooms every afternoon to play quietly, read, or watch a slow cartoon. We don't miss rest time. We all get time away from each other, which is very important for our mental well-being.

The baby still has a morning nap and an afternoon nap. We follow the Babywise principles, which are similar to the Ferber method, or the Contented Little Baby technique, which is what my Aussie girlfriend ascribes to. The principles are similar- eat, wake, sleep- with an emphasis on good rest.

We talked about breakfast earlier. A disastrous recipe for a child looks like this:

poor breakfast + inadequate rest= poor little kid.

It is not the fault of the child that they are in a store, screaming their heads off. A parent can nip this in the bud, or at least cut down these incidences, by ensuring proper nutrition and proper rest.

PS- this does not work all the time. We will no longer be going to Blockbuster video due to some unfortunate yelling/running incidents. Even with good food and sleep, kids are still kids and don't possess the self-control we hope they will. Heck, I don't possess all the self-control I hope I will.

All that to say, you can make your life a little easier if your kids get good rest.


Kessie said...

Heh, my kids get enough rest, mainly because bedtime is a critical part of keeping mom and dad's sanity. I know how horrifying it is when they haven't had their afternoon naps, too, and the in-laws got to experience it over Christmas, heh. By the time we left, they knew how crucial it was that we get home and have naptime after lunch.

Jennifer said...

Yup, we mostly run into the problem around grandparents. amen to the sanity shout-out ;)


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