Aaahhhh... the peaceful bliss of nap time, or quiet time. There really is nothing like it - but I somehow find myself with a long list of things I want to achieve ... "Oh, I'll do it at naptime" ... but never get everything done, don't have time, or don't make time to just relax by myself for a few minutes.
So my Manic Monday tip for today is to maximise nap time, (or 'quiet time' play, for older kids). I try to do this by:
Eating lunch with the kids, at around 11.30 am. At first this seemed just too early for me. But I think it sets a good example to sit down and eat a proper lunch with the kids, and it is also one less thing that I have to do (or forget to do!) during nap time.
Do as much as of the work as you can with the kids, before nap time. Some jobs I can't get done while the kids are awake... like computer work. But I can sweep the floor (Ryan loves chasing the dust balls while I sweep), wipe the kitchen benches, dust, put the laundry on, etc. I can also usually get fabric cut at the table, while the kids play nearby - one less thing to do at nap time.
List down the things that you want to do at nap time, in order of priority. Custom orders to make? First. Computer work for the shops? Second. Quiet time cup of tea and reading a book? Third. General creativity, playing around with new ideas etc? Fourth.
Set a timer for doing non-essential things. I ALWAYS get sucked in to surfing around my favourite blogs, chatting on Twitter, or in the Etsy forums. Fun to do, but when the kids wake up, I feel like I haven't actually achieved anything. So set a timer (with a quiet alarm ring!), if you are doing stuff that you enjoy, but which isn't on your priority list. At the end of the allotted time (I usually allow 15 minutes), just stop and think about it - do you want to keep playing (which is fine), or do you really want to get something else done?I have had an uphill battle with Naomi (now 3), trying to get her to accept that if she chooses not to have a sleep, she must still play quietly in her room for a while. She is not good at entertaining herself.
But usually, if I firmly explain that Ryan and Mummy both need to have a rest, and that she can play quietly with any of the toys or books in her room, she will play happily for around 20 minutes. After another firm explanation that this has not been long enough I can generally eke it out for another 20 minutes.
Frankly, that is all I feel can be expected of a 3 year old who is not good at being by herself anyway. But I do persist with quiet time, because I think it is important that we all have a break from each other in the middle of the day, so that the afternoon can be more pleasant for everyone.
What do you do to make best use of your time, when the kids are asleep? Leave a comment, or a link to your blog post, playing along with Manic Mondays!