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Let's talk quiet time for kids (trust me, it's also a benefit to adults). Quiet time is a part of our daily routine during the week, and it's something that I highly suggest for any family home with children. It's made a HUGE difference for us!
So here we are. At home. All of us. All the time. This is a strange time we are living in, but for us? Summer is a little more “normal”. Robbie and Lydia would both have been home all summer because school would be on vacation. So, regardless of the state of the world, we would have all been home all day. Just not, for months at a time by now. But let me tell you, whether it was summer vacation or longer……we would have needed time in the day to separate and spend time on our own. Each of us. Enter quiet time. We started family quiet time a couple months ago, and man I wish we'd started it earlier. It's seriously been the BEST THING. I can get work done, Robbie can get work done, and we all feel refreshed after a little down time. Plus, I think it's important for Lydia to be independent.
When I starting talking about quiet time for kids on stories, a lot of you said that you do a version of it in your house. And the rest of you? Wanted to start. So let's talk about what worked for us when we started this daily routine.
Quiet Time For Kids
Tool For Quiet Time For Kids:
What It Looks Like: What does quiet time for kids look like in our house? We do daily quiet time as part of our weekday routine and most of the time on weekends unless we are out of town or not at home. Lydia is 6 years old (almost 7), and a good reader. So she often reads in her room, or plays with toys. She is allowed to do anything except use a computer or ipad during this time. Why no screen time? We don't want her zoning out for two hours (our quiet time is from about 1 pm to 3 pm each afternoon), and we don't want to have to supervise what she's accessing. I also think that it forces her to be innovative and creative to not depend on screens to fill that time (to be clear, we're not against her using the internet….she does Revolution Math online and did online summer camp…..we just don't want it to be a part of our quiet time routine). She usually plays quietly in her room, and will occasionally come downstairs to get a toy that is in her play area there. She loves doing puzzles in her room, playing with her dolls, drawing (we just got her a set of fashion plates remember those from when we were kids), or even playing dress up. We clean up her room AFTER the two hours are over, so I don't worry about how many toys she pulls out or whether they all go back in the correct place. Yes, it can get a little messy, but it's worth it to have two solid hours to myself.
How to Implement: Start with a small amount of minutes and work your way up. Older children can probably start with 30 minutes of independent and quiet time. Younger? You'll need to start with five or ten minutes. Remember, it's really important that this is perceived as NOT a punishment or a time out. This is a time for everyone to rest, relax, recharge and to enjoy a little down time. This is a great time for children to learn that these are important parts of the day for everyone. And that quiet time can be restful and enjoyable. The more positive it feels, the easier it will be make this a part of your family daily routine. Children will learn to entertain themselves. And you'll have time to get your tasks done or even, gasp….. to do something for yourself.
Once you've settled on an amount of time to start with, and a goal for long term length. You'll need a clock. Trust me, a kid asking if it's over yet every five minutes will really squash the peace of family quiet time. A clock will help your child know exactly when quiet time is over. Lydia knows that her downtime is over at 3 pm.
Troubleshooting: Now, it all sounds great right? But……any new routine can be a little hard to get started with kids. My suggestion? Be patient. Try different things. Does it help to play music for your child? To have special toys only for quiet time? To get a special stack of books? Maybe special art supplies only quiet time? Trial and error. See what works for your family.
Suggestions for Smaller Homes: We are lucky enough to have plenty of space so we can separate easily. That may not be the case for you. A few suggestions? Can you you utilize an outside area? Even a tent or fort for some separation? Even a fort built out of sheet can seem fun to a younger kid!
Have you tried quiet time for kids in your house? What helped you get it set up?