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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rest n Relaxation


(of course I look this adorable on lazy days!)
(as seen in the Review Atlas as a part of my Practical Parenting series) You know that feeling you get on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Where you feel all content and satisfied because you've managed to shake off the week before and you've yet to mentally face the week ahead? I love that feeling! I usually get in when I'm on the couch and snuggled up with a good book or made for TV movie.

And just like we relish in moments of utter relaxation our children need a rest too. I know because my kids are still in their pajamas and it's practically dinner time.

We aren't designed for nonstop activity. It isn't good for us and if you don't believe try staying up for 24 hours straight. You may be able to do it but you won't like the massive headache you get as a consequence.

Health experts agree with me too. And so do old wives tales. That's why we put our children to bed when they are sick. We know that rest is good for the body.

In fact whenever I'm asked, the first advice I give to mothers of young children who tell me that they are exhausted is to get some rest. But rarely do they heed my advice. They begin a litany of tasks that must be done including housework, laundry and taking care of the kids. And certainly we need to tend to the work we are responsible for but not at the risk of our health. Overworked moms need to put themselves to bed as adamantly as they do their children. You know your kids will be a terror if they don't get their sleep as will you. You will be a better mommy when you are well rested.

Incorporating a rhythm of rest is imperative to your mental health as well. If you remain in a constant state of stress and activity it is taxing on your body. We need to decompress, relax and create moments of carefreeness in our lives. Your doctor would give you the same advice.

But this can be hard for many families especially if your children are in extra curricular activities. Sporting events can rob time away from your weekend, games on school nights cause kids to be out late or homework can interrupt bedtime. And certainly these things are good but they are only as good as the moments of rest in-between them.

Let's remember than in our attempts to schedule our children and manage their social life that they too need downtimes. Times at home to relax and unwind are imperative to they're growing bodies and mental development. This can be a challenge for the parent of a particularly social child. These children feel as if they get acceptance when spending time being social but alone time is just as valuable. Please consider using your family calendar not just a tool to keep everybody organized but also to schedule downtime. There is nothing wrong with penciling in a day off.

Let's face it, in this day and age we have stimulus bombarding us from every possible outlet. Our cars, phones, radios and computers are constantly sending us messages. Rest means rest. It does not mean doing less activity it means doing no activity. Instead of doing try being. Being at rest without your Facebook.

There is nothing that can't wait. If your finding yourself exhausted and overstimulated you need to make the time to rest. If your children are sleep deprived and running around in a constant state of motion encourage them to relax. And the best way to show your child that you value your own well being and health is by modeling a day of rest.

When you take the time to leave the laundry or the emails to simply be you are communicating much more than any lecture could accomplish to your children. Plus you might just find that regular bouts of rest lead to more family time with happy, well rested children. And that is always a good thing, Why? Because I'm the Mom and I said so! That's why!

Stephanie is a mother of 5 children and is a Parent Educator for the Monmouth-Roseville School District she can be reached at ssikorski@mr238.org. Rainy, lazy Sundays are her favorite day of the week.




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