Friday, August 24, 2012

Quiet Time

A week ago, I had six-year-olds who still napped for an hour in the afternoon. I was the envy of moms and felt the routine was working mostly. There were the summer evenings when we'd get them to bed later - 8:30 or 9 and they'd stay awake until 10 pm, but I couldn't face nap-free afternoons. Then I read Nurture Shock, a book that takes an accepted idea about children in each chapter, and blows it out of the water with recent scientific research. One chapter attacked the idea that, like grown-ups, it's hard for kids to go without sleep, but they can function. Actually, 6th-graders who got an hour less sleep at night exhibited the academic ability and emotional maturity of 4th-graders. Have you ever wondered why your school-age child is falling to pieces over things he or she doesn't care that much about or problems that could easily be solved - even by them? I have lately. Are my twins six or four? 

And how about the grumpies? Cadence has worried me lately saying, "Mommy, I feel like I never do anything right. I can't make anybody happy!" As the days went by, it morphed into, "I feel like the worst girl! I don't like me at all." It was heartbreaking and I'd sit down with her to cuddle and sort out her feelings. But get this: when you're sleep-deprived the part of your brain that stores positive memories suffers more than the part that stores negative memories. Maybe my efforts to affirm her wonderful moments were bouncing off. Chandler was susceptible too. If one thing didn't go his way, he'd pronounce the day, "the worst day ever!" 

I'd read in an article (a couple years ago) that the amount of sleep kids' need isn't contributed to by naps because the quality of sleep is different. I knew my darlings couldn't sleep long enough at night with naps, so I decided to make the switch and wanted to do it before starting school. Only half of learning happens during the day. It's like lessons are organized and tucked away during sleep, so the next day is when kids are likely to gain new insights. At the cusp of learning to read, I want those little brains ready to go! 

So naps went away and quiet time came to our house. They still need a break from each other and enjoy it. I get my downtime and they're in bed from 7:30 til, well, I'm not sure exactly. They aren't allowed to come downstairs until 7:30, but I know they are up before that most days. One night, I snuck into their rooms and took photos. I imagined their minds filing away all the fun of the day, the jokes and discoveries. Learn and grow, beautiful babies. Grow happiness to marvel over in the quiet times. 


P.S. This is the book I mentioned above and if you follow this link to buy it, I get a small commission, fyi. :)



  1. Good reminder of how important sleep is, I feel like Cadence sometimes! Precious pictures :)

  2. I absolutely feel like Cadence sometimes! Man, I realize how difficult my days are with an hour less sleep, it completely makes sense why Brylee starts acting like Ian when she's shorted on it!

    PS, Love your new header! Let me put it another way: I literally tried to make a similar header a couple months ago and settled on the arrows I have now. Maybe we're a little more a like than I realized :)

  3. I'm not too surprised, Trina, since I got the idea from one of your etsy pins! :)

  4. Totally agree with the sleep stuff...we read the "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book and it really drills in how important sleep is from babies to teens, well honestly everyone!