summer activities for preschoolers #6
(the sixth in a weekly series of ideas for families with preschoolers...please feel free to share your own by clicking "comments" below!)

When I was growing up, my mom always added a pinch of salt to oatmeal to "bring out the flavor" of that otherwise good and hearty breakfast. 

Adding to the goodness and heartiness of summer, our family adds a "pinch of salt" to our day to bring out the flavor of that already delicious season. 

Imagine a summer morning of play in sun, sand, and a refreshing mountain-fed lake. Kids and Mama are both invigorated by the cool water and relaxed by the warm sun. A satisfying lunch is followed by a (here's the pinch of salt) SIESTA, to quietly rest before the afternoon festivities resume. 

We ALL take a daily siesta after lunch. This mid-day rest truly enhances our experience of the day. The days - as full and fun as they are - can be long... filled with activity and interaction. Having a little siesta is a great solution for us. Socializing, interacting, exploring, and adventuring surrounding the siesta seem enhanced by the break.

How does it work out practically for us right now? 

Because the effects of our siesta are so significant and vital at this season in our family's life, I make no apology for protecting it from interruption. With few exceptions, from 12-2 I turn off the phone's ringer and post this sign on our door. 

Jude (almost a year) and Jack (coming on 3) continue their daily naps at this time, but the girls (nearly 4 and 5) aren't taking regular naps. 

For the girls, ideally, their siesta involves choosing some books, coloring book/markers, blocks and toy cars, or other activity they choose to enjoy QUIETLY and ALONE in separate rooms for an hour or so. It is an expected time of uninterrupted solace. Their minds and bodies rest. 

I look forward to a siesta, too, but resting doesn't come easily for mothers when the list of things to do keeps growing. This hour is prime time to get stuff done! But because my children are deeply affected by me at this stage in their lives, I have to purposefully disengage from thousands of other things that I can do to simply rest and recharge. It helps keeping in mind that I'm a better mama for my children when I'm rested. 

So for me lately, I do a quick tidy of the house in preparation for the afternoon before I relax. Then, I may be found lying on the couch, resting my eyes while listening to instrumental hymns by Fernando Ortega and the like on the internet's Pandora. Or I may be refreshed by catching up on emails or blogging. 

You could really call #6 in this series a "summer UN-activity". The idea of our siesta is to disengage in such a way that mother and child are relaxed and recharged in the middle of a lovely summer's day.

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