In my previous post I talked about scheduling blanket time for all my kids. I wanted to try and explain this a bit for those of you who may be confused as to what this actually is. Blanket time is nothing fancy and exactly what it sounds like. The kids have small blankets (the girls actually use small foam squares because when I used to have all my daycare kids the blankets took up too much room!!) that we place on the floor and they are required to sit on this blanket for a set amount of time. I give them a quiet toy or two, maybe a couple books and/or some colors. The rules are that they are not allowed off the blanket (or square) without first asking, even if it is to get a toy that's out of reach or to go to the bathroom. If they do need to ask, it must be done in a very controlled, whisper voice. But, the whole point is for them to sit quietly and play independently. They girls do blanket time for 30-45 minutes. Blanket time was started in our home for a variety of reasons:
**we desired to teach our children to be self-controlled and know how to sit quietly for a length of time without a lot of external stimulation (i.e. In front of a movie). This way they could sit quietly if I needed to take an important phone call, had a visitor I needed to visit with, had work I needed to complete, etc.
**when Eden was first born was very convicted that I wanted her to see me cultivating daily my personal reladtionship with the Lord. I didn't want for my kids to grow up and say that I know my mom had quiet times with the Lord but she must have done it while we were sleeping because I never saw it! I want my kids to see me actively living out me faith and soaking in the Lords word! They get to watch me read my bible and listen to me practice memory verses and hear me pray. Our desire is that this will encourage and teach them how to develop their own personal walk one day. They will have had years of watching it!
**we also believe that little ones need physical boundaries. This is a big world for them and it can get very stimulating and out of control quickly and easily. We've found that setting this little boundary, a few very controlled and quiet moments, allows them to reset, take a few breaths and be able to continue on in a much more self controlled and obedient manner.
I start blanket training around 18 months or shortly before I expect the morning nap to be done. I start very small and use a lot of praise. I'm on the floor right next to my baby. The girls picked up blanket time in a matter of days and very quickly built up their time expectations. Nikolas has been a whole other experience!! When I first started with him he struggled to sit for even a minute. He is an on the go guy. We even struggle to get him to sit long enough for a meal! After several weeks he is now up to 15-20 minutes of sitting! We are still working on the being quiet part of it, but progress is evident!! He is Niko and he is uniquely made and such a blessing to our family. I have to remind myself daily that he is not one of his sisters and somethings will be more challenging with him while others will not. Our expectations remain the same, but some times it just takes longer!
Hope this makes sense. Blanket time has been such a blessing to me and in our home!