Raise your hand if you need a break. I’m raising both of mine because this time of social distancing is no joke. It’s hard in the weirdest of ways. I deeply love my family, but I won’t sugar coat it: I am tired of being around people who have either exited or entered my lady garden. Can you relate?
I’m touched out, cooked out, crafted and homeschooled out — just all the outs. It’s hard to navigate who you can see and be around and who you can’t; one person says being around family/friends is okay, but another says keep your distance. We haven’t quite figured out how we are going to navigate being around family and our close friends just yet, so that means that we are together All.Day.Every.Day repeat infinity. Gone are the days when I can take my crew out to a park and let them climb and run out all their energy; no more trips to the library to break up our day; no more playdates at a friend’s house. It’s draining and it makes it hard to fill up my cup and recharge so that I can give my family my best. I had to do something to recharge because my good attitude and patience were in short supply.
Enter quiet time: multiple times a day.
Quiet time is nothing new to us moms. It used to be nap time, and then relax time, but once they entered school and all the extra activities came along, it went by the wayside. I brought it back only to realize that my kids didn’t ‘know’ how to properly appreciate quiet time. I had to “QT” train them and it has been worth it.
The first round of QT comes at breakfast. I make the kids breakfast, they eat, and then they get some screen time while Mom eats. I sit either outside or in another room and enjoy my hot tea, breakfast, and some silence. After that, we start our day.
After lunch comes the second round of QT. This is the time they are both upstairs and in their own rooms with the door closed. I started with 15 minutes. The rules are you have to be in your own room (or space if they share), the door has to be closed, no yelling/fighting (funny how that can happen even separated), be QUIET, and no coming downstairs to ask questions or chat with Mom. That means bathroom/snack/drink time happens right before QT. I gradually increased it by 15 minutes every couple of days until we are at an hour. I may lengthen it to an hour and a half during the summer because the days get so long.
It works wonders on their energy levels and attitude. During this time, I don’t clean or do any chores. At all. I read a few chapters of a book, I sometimes nap, I do a craft like scrapbooking/embroidery/coloring, do a face mask or paint my nails, or I catch up on an episode of my favorite shows.
The third round of QT comes after playing outside. Their energy is so high but they are so tired and I found that attitudes were CRAY. The whining was over the top and it was downhill from there. We started a mandatory 20-30 minute QT period after coming inside/or other long heavy play. They can color, build with blocks, read, etc. as long as they are quiet and alone. Once again, it has worked so well for our family. They come down from their energy high and settle. It cut down on the whining and arguing from being too stimulated and tired. It also helps me to refocus myself for the evening routine of dinner/pickup/baths/and bedtime.
I truly believe that quiet time is more important than ever. Everyone needs their own space to relax and refocus their energy during these crazy times. It takes some training and reinforcing that it’s NOT punishment but NECESSARY. It’s good for everyone’s mental health.