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This is a great way to carve out some private time without hurting anyone’s feelings.
I have a few posts in the works about my goals for this year. The major one is to simplify my life. One of the main ways I intend to do this is by doing a better job at keeping my simple weekly schedule. Of course there are always exceptions, but for me, having a set-schedule helps me stay sane. Sort of. I’m not completely sane. I’m a lot more sane than I would be if I didn’t have a weekly schedule though.
One of the biggies on our weekly schedule is Quiet Time (QT). It’s such a biggie, in fact, that it is not just on the schedule weekly, but daily.
We try to have QT from the hours of 1pm-3pm. I say “try” because it isn’t always possible. Sometimes we have other things to do that can only be done during that time. Sometimes I get out of the habit of enforcing it and before I know it, QT has fallen by the wayside. I always end up regretting it, too.
Where did Quiet Time come from?
QT has its origins from when my now-6-year-old was an only child. At some point she stopped napping twice per day and her one nap started to fall predictably from 1 pm-3 pm. I needed this time so much. My two oldest daughters are about 15 months apart in age, so by the time my first was 6-months old, I was pregnant.
I would be lying if I said I remember exactly what I did back then, between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm, but if I was a betting woman then I would say that I was taking a nap.
Eventually, my first-born started to grow out of her nap-time altogether, but by that point, my second baby was starting to consistently nap from 1 pm-3 pm so it just seemed to make sense to keep that ball rolling. Instead of insisting that my older daughter nap, I started to let her do something quiet in her room by herself, which almost always resulted in her falling asleep.
What Constitutes as Quiet Time?
Now my oldest is 6-years-old, and she has three younger siblings. She still sometimes falls asleep during QT. I let her take some books into her bedroom with her since she can read on her own now (thank you, RPC!). Sometimes she reads, sometimes she plays quietly by herself and sometimes she falls asleep. I don’t care, as long as whatever she’s doing, she’s doing it quietly.
My 5-year-old can’t read yet but she still likes to take books with her, which I encourage. I also let her take the iPad to play some of the educational apps we have installed on it. No Netflix or YouTube! Sometimes she looks at books, sometimes she plays games on the iPad, and she usually falls asleep. Once again, I’m good with that as long as she’s quiet.
My 3-year-old still needs this time to nap, even if she says she doesn’t. If I don’t separate the kids each into different rooms, then they won’t be quiet and none of them will fall asleep.
When this happens, my 3-year-old will either pass out right before dinner, which is quite inconvenient, or she will be in a terrible mood for the rest of the day, which is even worse. The way I get her to fall asleep is by telling her that I don’t expect her to sleep at all, she only has to play quietly in a room by herself. Then I give it 15-30 minutes and she’s out.
Why do we need Quiet Time?
I am so glad that my kids have siblings. I had four children in a relatively short period of time in no small part because I wanted to give them siblings. However, having some time alone to decompress is valuable, especially for certain personalities.
I think my 6-year-old could be with another person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of her life and never get sick of the company. She’s always been that way. While there’s nothing wrong with that, my 5-year-old, my 3-year-old, and I like to be by ourselves sometimes.
It is good for all of us to have some time away from one another for whatever personal reasons we need to be alone, and it lets us do it in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Hard work pays off
One of the hardships of QT is maintaining it. When I’m in the habit of doing it every day, my kids don’t give me a hard time about it. They know the drill. I’ll announce that it is Quiet Time and they’ll each retreat to their respective spaces with whatever they need to entertain themselves quietly for the next two hours.
However, if I start to let QT go by the wayside, that’s when things get hairy. When I announce that we are, in fact, going to do QT that day, I get hit with the wailing and gnashing of teeth. The protests and the whining begin. The begging and bargaining commence. The promises that they can go into a room together and still be quiet are made. I’ve fallen for that one a few times, too. They absolutely cannot do it despite their best intentions.
Even after I manage to get them to each go into their respective spaces, I’m hit with a, “Is Quiet Time over yet?” at least every 10 minutes. It’s enough to make me want to throw up my hands and give up on it altogether. I’ll admit that some days I have.
One thing I’ve learned from all of this is that I am rewarded when I put in the hard work at the beginning. Parenting can be so difficult sometimes! It is extremely hard sometimes to get back in the habit of enforcing quiet time when I have to push through the resistance. The kids can drive me crazy sometimes with how stubborn they can be!
Yet, I persevere, and when I do get through the mire and we regularly have our QT, all of us benefit from it.
I love Quiet Time!
I love QT because it gives me time to do whatever it is that I need to do. Sometimes this is picking up around the house or cleaning without having to worry about what kind of mess they are making in the meantime.
Sometimes this is talking on the phone to a friend without having to arbitrate sibling squabbles or do things for needy children. Sometimes this is taking a nap with my 7-month-old because I’m exhausted, too.
I intend to have QT in my house for as long as I possibly can. When my kids are old enough, then they can use the time to read, study, work on a personal hobby, or do a project. Since we are a homeschool family, we spend a lot of time together, which is great! However, I believe that every single one of us will benefit from this time of peace and privacy for years to come.