• Mrs Morning Coffee

Rest Hour - a must for parents!

How do you survive day after day at home with the children? This is not about activities or ideas for expanding their education this is something that will keep you as the adult sane!

When I was a child I attended my local brownie pack and every year we would go away on a pack holiday for a few days. Without doubt if you asked any of us what our favourite part of the holidays were lots of us would have said rest hour!

When I was older I found myself a leader in the same brownie pack, still going away on pack holidays. Without a doubt if you asked any of us leaders what the best part of the day was we would all tell you REST HOUR!

So what was a rest hour on pack holiday?

For the children it was time to get some down time, a time where you could have some free choice. You didn't have to sleep but you were expected to do some quiet (ish) activities on your own or with friends whilst sat on your beds in the dormitory. The rules also were that you weren't allowed to touch the floor and these were predominantly stuck to with the incentive that you could have a sweet afterwards if you had managed to stay on your bed!

As an adult rest hour was the time to catch up on anything urgent that needed doing and to sit with a cup of tea for a few minutes without constantly being asked questions or talked at by a child. It's not that we didn't enjoy the interaction, we weren't there against our will, but everyone needs some time to turn their brain off and rest in the day.

Now the children are off school, because of the coronavirus outbreak and we are all isolating in our houses, the days with kids constantly at you can be quite intense. So I've adopted this idea of rest hour to use in our daily routine.

I say 'daily routine' very lightly! With 10 years teaching experience and a degree in primary education I am fully trained to be teaching my children at home but lets look at this realistically. Home schooling is a totally different ball game! Rest hour is actually the only part of the day that is routine, everything else we sort of meander and wing our way through!

Please remember if you are having to teach your children at home...

One to one teaching is intense and it doesn't take as long either. In school we might do an hours mathematics but you're teaching to a class of 30. In a home school scenario you could teach the same in about 10 minutes! You might be in this for the long haul, just take it slow and find what works.

At about 1pm every day from Monday to Friday we have a rest hour. The Coffee Beans take a few toys (well the 3 year old takes as many as his little arms will carry) and they head up to their bedrooms, stopping for the all important 'wee stop' on the way. They settle down in their rooms and watch TV or play quietly. Yes they have televisions in their rooms, don't shoot me we tried everything but my coffee beans wake up incredibly early every day and our health as parents who were constantly tired was starting to suffer, you do what you need to do. So if anyone is thinking 'oh thats shocking' judge me all you like, but I don't see you living in my house!!!

They then stay in their rooms for the next hour. Sometimes we're a little later going up so we just adjust the time, but it's always an hour, I need an hour! No my children are not angels some days that are happy to settle and play other days its like theres a herd of elephants going across the landing to try and sneak into the others room. The other day Little Coffee Bean actually fell asleep on his bed and slept for 2 hours but yesterday I spent most of it shouting up the stairs in my best mummy voice 'get back in your own rooms.'

Its not a fool proof plan but I am sticking with it because on the whole it has a good positive effect. It breaks the day up, gives them time to rest and most importantly gives me the opportunity for me to sit in quiet room where Cbeebies isn't on the tv, have a drink and recharge my batteries ready for the rest of the day. If I didn't do this I would be on my knees and in tears by the time I had to start cooking dinner everyday!

If you're finding the days intense try adding in your own rest hour. This is what works for us but you could easily adapt the concept to suit your needs and set up. It might take a bit to establish but once you have you'll be thankful in the long run!

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