Rest Time

One of my friends requires her four (homeschooled) children to take an hour of “rest time” each day–even the 13-year-old. About six months ago, I decided that sounded nice, so I started working toward it. I don’t know exactly what her rules for rest time are, but here are mine:

  • No crayons or writing instruments (this will probably change when he is bigger, but for right now, he can’t be trusted).
  • Audio books are okay, and so is music.
  • Books are fine.
  • No blocks, cars, play food.
  • He doesn’t have to stay in his bed, but he usually does. It’s a floor bed, so he can get out of it with no effort if he wants to.
  • It lasts an hour, I don’t care if you holler or pee yourself.
  • Always potty right before!

We started this very gradually. The first day, I set a timer for five minutes, and told him it would be “rest time” when the timer beeped. I took him upstairs, put on some music, left him for one minute (I set a timer), came back to check on him, left him for another minute, and then said, “Rest time is over!” Then we had a special snack and played together. The next day, each half was two minutes. I kept making it longer by two minutes every day, until we were up to 60 minutes total, with a visit in the middle. Then I started moving the “visit” later by one minute each day. Once it got to where he was up there for forty-five minutes without interruption, he started falling asleep during rest time and taking the longest naps of his life–sometimes as much as an hour and a half! Now, it’s an hour with out a visit in the middle. He listens to his Winnie the Pooh audio books, or Sesame Street songs. Sometimes we hear him singing along. Often, he falls asleep around the midpoint.

I know it’s crazy, but I think he knows that he needs that rest. He rarely resists, sometimes cheerfully announcing that it’s rest time. I still use a timer to get him used to the idea. Timers seem to help him transition well.

Now if only I could get Petra on the same schedule…in another two years, I might be able to get a cup of coffee in peace!


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  1. jennifermurch
    May 10, 2013

    Three cheers for rest time! I love the methodical way you went about it. You are one on-the-ball mama!

  2. […] JC has started a new job (more on that another time), so getting her down during the days when I’m home by myself is challenging. I’ve resigned myself to letting her take her morning nap in the carrier on those days–sometimes during a long walk with Silas–and putting her down for her afternoon nap while Silas is having rest time. […]

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