Ever since Miss 4 was born, we have had an absolutely non-negotiable time in our daily routine. Rest time.
Of course, rest time started out as sleep time. Actually, it started out as multiple sleep times. I can't remember exact ages, but sometime around when Miss 4 was 18 months old, it progressed to a single sleep time - from about 12:30pm - 2:30pm each day. Then sometime around 2, the sleep time changed to no sleep time on some days. We got back in to consistent sleep times a few months later, only to lose sleep time almost completely around Miss 4's 3rd birthday.
Having 2 younger children at home (who were still sleeping), I wasn't going to let sleep time go without a fight. Once I knew I could no longer force sleep upon my then-3-year-old, I changed sleep time to rest time. Miss 3 was sent to her bed (and then to our bed, to avoid disturbing Miss 19 months during the day) with a pile of books, instructions to read to herself quietly and on the understanding that mummy would also be resting and did not want to be disturbed unless it was an emergency. She got the idea pretty quickly.
This arrangement worked for us (with the two younger ones sleeping) for about a year. To be honest, I think Miss 4 needs her alone-time just as much as I do. She never protested this arrangement much. After 1.5 hours, I would go and get her from her room and we continued on with the day. Sometimes we had 30 minutes alone together before her younger siblings woke up.
Mr 3 is a different case. He started protesting against sleeps, and then quickly against rest time, a couple of months ago (when he was getting close to 3). He needs to go to the toilet. He needs a drink. He needs me to blow his nose. He yells out to his sisters. He gets out of bed and chooses noisy toys to play with. He sings at the top of his lungs. He sneaks out of his room to see what I am doing in the lounge room, then runs loudly down the hallway when I see him. In short, rest time has become very un-restful!
Being pregnant, and now in the 3rd trimester (yay!), I need rest time to continue. It is either rest time, or very grumpy mummy all afternoon. I've tried a few alternatives for Mr 3. I offered that my 2 big kids watch a DVD. Result = tired, over-stimulated children fighting as soon as I spread out on the lounge and closed my eyes. I tried offering toys instead of books in bed (as long as Mr 3 stays in bed). Result = too much noise, and getting out of bed anyway. I tried sleeping in our bed with Mr 3. Result = I fell asleep and Mr 3 jumped all around the place until he eventually woke me up with a start.
I love rest time, and I really want rest time to continue. Mr 3 needs it as much as I do (I know this because there are still some days (once-twice a week) that he will fall asleep - but he needs the opportunity/ right environment for this to happen). I know that getting over this little blip will be worth it - especially when we have a new baby here...
Do you do rest time with older (non-sleeping) preschool children? How does it work for you? Any tips to get past this blip?
I'm linking up with Jess for IBOT