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Robin Pizzo, WKAR director of education, responds to frequently asked questions from parents and educators

Q: How can I encourage rest when life is very busy?

Parent and child sleeping
Image courtesy of Microsoft

A: The key to encouraging children to rest is to lead by example.

As a mother of four and a former childcare teacher, I lived by the mantra, “Rest when the children rest.” As difficult as it is when there are dishes in the sink, or laundry to sort or even lessons to plan, it is crucial to everyone’s wellbeing to take a siesta, embrace the peace and quiet of nap time, and slow down. Those responsibilities will remain always, but health is not guaranteed when the body has not had time to recharge and rest.

When life is moving a hundred miles an hour, exhaustion abounds and can strain physical, emotional, and mental health. When we don’t slow down from the fast pace of extracurricular activities, playdates, school, and home responsibilities we often are not aware of how exhausted we are until our bodies begin to protest by way of health issues. This protest introduces itself subtly at first -- perhaps a few aches in the body or tension in the muscles, or, if you’re anything like me, irritability. If children are complaining about these, this is a great time to discuss how important rest is to stay healthy and strong. Then implement a quiet break from play or even cancel an activity.

What, cancel an activity? It can’t be! Surprisingly, it can.

Explaining how the body needs rest to recharge and reenergize, and then actually modeling setting aside the task at hand to grab a comfortable spot and do absolutely nothing, is a terrific way to lead by example. If children are still struggling with resting, set a timer for 15 minutes, grab a beloved book and explain how the imagination works best when their eyes are closed, and they are resting. Remind them that once the timer sounds, they are free to resume activity.

Speaking of rest, the WKAR Family Newsletter Team will be taking a break from December 15 - January 4, 2021, as we hope all our subscribers will do the same during these holiday weeks. We look forward to bringing you more great resources and content in the new year.

Happy Learning,

Mrs. Pizzo

Robin Pizzo leads the education outreach efforts of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, the PBS and NPR affiliate serving Michigan's capital region. Robin convenes partnerships and coordinates station initiatives such as WKAR Family and Ready to Learn to bring workshops, learning tools, and other resources into the community to help kids be resilient, lifelong learners.
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