It was a sad day when I realized that, more often than not, Jonah and Matthew don’t sleep during nap time any more. And so we changed the name to “rest time”. In my head for some reason I thought that simple shift would be enough to make them want to lie down quietly in their beds for a specified period of time while the younger kids napped and I got a break.
You’d think after this many kids I’d have a better sense of reality.
We fought. I yelled. They made noise. They woke up their sisters. They went into time outs. I got frustrated. There had to be a better way.
Finally one day I was so fed up I told them to “just stay in your room for thirty minutes so Mommy can breathe!”
“But Mommy, how long is that?”
Enter the timer. I set the timer and told them they could get up when it beeped. That first day, they were still sort of loud, but they stayed in their beds and I got a break.
So the next day, we tried it again. I set the timer for 45 minutes and told them they had to lie down in their beds until it beeped, and then they could get up. And then I put it where they could see it. Sure, they’ve spent most of their rest times watching the numbers instead of actually lying down. Sure, they still get in trouble sometimes for being loud. But this little trick actually works really well.
We have rules now. They get to pick the time, but the first number has to at least be 6. That means I get at least an hour. Sometimes they want the number to start with 8. I don’t argue. If they’re loud, they know that I’ll come upstairs and “start the timer over”. Sometimes I actually start it over, and sometimes I just add 15 minutes. Depends on the day.
And they’re quiet. I can put them all upstairs, and breathe. Have a cup of coffee. Watch a tv show. Sometimes I have Elizabeth for company, but otherwise, I get blessed time alone.