As we continue to create a new normal in this social distancing season and now a health lockdown, I’m here to encourage you to make a space for quiet time in your daily routine. Quiet time is not just for napping children. Quiet time is for everyone. It’s as much about taking a moment to breathe and reflect as it is for your children to reset and recharge. Even older children can benefit from an hour of meditation, prayer or self reflection. There is a lot going on in our world right now. It’s important that we all make time in our day to quiet our minds, still our bodies and calm ourselves.
If you’ve never established quiet time, here are a couple of tried and true tips to get you started.
- Much like when you create a daily schedule or routine, consistency is key. For us, quiet time revolves around my three year old’s nap schedule. She normally naps from 1:00-3:00 pm so I schedule quiet time for my older kids during this time.
- For quiet time to be successful, everyone needs to find their own space. With four kids I can’t send everyone to their room. They would all end up playing with each other, which completely defeats the purpose of quiet time. My ten year old loves to read, so I park him on the couch. My middle son loves Legos, so he’s content to play up in his room. My kindergartener loves to draw and color which she can also do in her room. And my youngest, who is still napping, takes a rest in our bedroom.
- When it comes to quiet time, everyone seems to forget how to tell time, so have a timer or an alarm clock as your ally. My older kids can tell time, but as a reminder, I set their alarm clock. For my kindergartener, we set our portable kitchen timer. She knows when the alarm goes off, she can come downstairs.
- Remember, we are trying to establish a completely new routine, so be patient with yourself and your children. It will happen but like everything new it takes time to learn.
Now that you’ve established quiet time, how do you keep your kids entertained without electronics? Reading is my favorite activity for quiet time. Pre-Pandemic, we made weekly trips to the library so there is always something new to read. Now, I pull a selection of books from our personal library. The kids can pick and choose from what I have selected. I find this easier than staring at a bookshelf for an hour waiting for them to decide.
If my kids aren’t interested in reading, I also will give them the option of a quiet activity. Pinterest is full of ideas on how to keep your kids busy during quiet time. However, I’m not going to spend all my quiet time making busy bags for my kid’s quiet time. So, instead, I always raid the dollar section at Target. There are always games and activities that are perfect for quiet time. Things that have also worked for us include puzzles, stickers, card games like solitaire, coloring books, string art, beads, and play dough. Additionally, I also keep bins full of Legos, Kinects, Magnatiles and blocks. I keep the bins in my closet and they only come out during quiet time, which somehow manages to keep things fresh and entertaining.
If you’re already doing a lot of these activities throughout your day, it’s also okay just to separate everyone for an hour of quiet reflection, meditation or journaling. Quiet time does not have to be spectacularly structured and it’s completely okay to be bored. It’s simply the opportunity for everyone to give themselves a little distance in a very long day.