Monday, January 24, 2011

Nap 'Em

How old is your child? Remember, you need to ID all four ages: chronological age, physical age (gross and fine motor), cognitive age (where they are academically) and emotional age.

The last is the one that I've been thinking about all day. It impacts our attachment healing more than anything else. We take them back through stages they've missed, we give them extra room to process and we let them play with toys that are immature for them.

But what about when it comes to schedules? If your 7 or 9 or 11 year old is only 3 emotionally, what can they handle? What is their "limit?" I think often we want them to push them to be doing things their peers are doing (e.g. youth group, team sports, etc.) However, for most of us, if we had a little three year old in our care, we wouldn't be scrambling around trying to get them into school or into soccer or piano lessons. I know for me I would say those things will come. We have plenty of time for those things. AND those things aren't necessary. We don't need to be doing XX just because the Jones' are. We need to do what is best for our family and what God is calling us to.

We also needed to look at the rest of our RADish's schedule beyond extracurricular activities. Healing is super hard work. It is EXHAUSTING. It is completely draining. By 2:00, my little RADish is done. She needs to be away from everyone. She needs rest. She needs to be in a quiet, darkened room and rest. Some days she doesn't, but almost everyday she falls asleep. Just like a preschooler. On the days that she doesn't get that break, she is a mess and she doesn't sleep as well at night. I know there are some that say you need to limit a rest time or not give it at all because being alone is not good for them. I can totally see that for a kid that is away from you at school, you need to use the few waking hours you have together.

For our little one, I couldn't succumb to what other people thought of a child "her age" taking a nap. I know it is what her little heart needs to recharge. She gets a break from the hard work of healing and usually is more regulated for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Each kid is different, but if you have one like mine, she may need you to slow things waaaay down. How much she can take--especially during a spiral---may be completely dictated by her emotional age. Remember, this is the most out of the box thinking and parenting you will ever experience. If it seems weird or awkward or backwards, it's probably dead on. :P

Hang in their friends!


Andy and Kiara said...

This is completely right on for us! Our six-year-old cannot miss her rest time. She still sleeps almost every afternoon, and still sleeps well at night. Between sensory issues and whatever else is going on inside on any particular day, by 1 or 2pm her little heart, mind, and body are overwhelmed and desperately need to pull away for a break. (Can I admit I long for a nap by that point, too? ;)

I do wonder how she'd be doing if she were not home schooled right now. I can only imagine the exhaustion she would be feeling by 3 or 4pm....


This has been something our 12 yr old seems to need most days; an afternoon nap revitalizes her and she sleeps plenty at night. Thank you for this affirmation.