Friday, June 21, 2013

Do children really need naps?

When it comes to napping children, opinions may vary. Do children need naps? My answer is undeniably, unequivocally YES! If only I had the time to take naps like the children I would be on top of the world.

You see nap time is not just about sleeping. We all need a time to settle down and allow our bodies and minds to rest. Most people are just doing busy things and never allowing time to regroup, restore and renew themselves, this includes our children. They ought to have time to wind down during the course of the day.

Nap time is beneficial for both parent and child. The parent can recharge the battery while the child recharges his or hers.

My five year old asked me "how do you hear God talking to you?". "What a great question" I told her and then I used this as a teachable moment. I explained that we hear God many ways but one of the ways I hear God is by being quiet. I told her that quiet time is very important because when you sit still, you can hear the things in your heart and mind. I stressed that nap time is one of the best times to hear God speaking as well as talk to Him.

Just like adults, children experience many distractions that don't allow them to think thoughts clearly. Time to rest is important in order for kids to formulate and think their own thoughts. They need time to hear what's going on inside themselves. Nap time is an opportunity to be calm and rest not only the body but to rest the brain and allow healing and restoration.

It seems being calm is a lost art and the more busy children are the better. I beg to differ. How will they discover who they are if they never spend time being alone in peace and quiet? How will they appreciate little things like hearing a bird outside or just gazing at the clouds? In life a balance is required in order to stay physically and mentally healthy, this is true for adults and children.

It's common to hear parents say that their child will give them no peace because they look to their parents to keep them occupied in one form or another, constantly. They require constant busy lives and cannot occupy themselves. Reading a book is out of the question, they have to be "busy" moving and doing something. There's no reprieve for parent or child.

We can change this as parents. It may be hard at first but small consistent changes will work. You may start out with 15 minutes of quiet time. No tv, electronic devices, or noise makers. Only books, paper, crayons, or pencils, it must be quiet. Gradually increase time increments, you will be surprised at the progress. After spending some time drawing or reading most children will drift off to sleep and wake up refreshed. Even if a child does not sleep, at least they have rested mind and body as well as used quiet time to be creative. Before you know it, you may have an hour or two of quiet/nap time and both parent and child will benefit.

We can do this, our children depend on us.

Do you have other suggestions, comments? Please share, we would love to hear from you.

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