Quiet time reminds me of when my boys were toddlers. After a good lunch, we would read a book and then settle down for naptime. Sometimes no one went to sleep but the house would be quiet enough for them to calm themselves and so that I could relax my mind.
As the boys grew older, this ritual all but stopped until about two years ago. During spring break I found myself extremely tired and grumpy. From the time I opened my eyes at about 4:30 am until I passed out at about midnight, I filled my time working and tending to my family. I also noticed the same grumpy behavior in my boys.
Instead of trying to get them to do something I was not doing for myself, I told both boys that we had to have complete downtime right after lunch each day during spring break. We couldn’t use the phone, the computer or the television. They could read a “real” book and not one on a table for 10 or 15 minutes but they could only sit quietly for at least 15 minutes. It was rough in the beginning but by the end of the week we all valued that time. When they returned to school, we took 15 minutes as soon as we came in from carpool and another 15 minutes after dinner.
While my son was in occupational therapy, his therapist explained the importance of him having down time. Did you know that even neurotypical people can become over stimulated like people on the spectrum? You’ve probably experienced it after being stuck in traffic or pulling an all nighter at work. That I don’t want to be tired feeling that makes you jittery and anxious. Even knowing that everyone in our home could benefit from quiet time, it has slowly become infrequent—only occurring when one of us is at the point of having a meltdown.
Recently, the boys and I had a quick snack after school and my oldest son said, “Mom, I think I miss quiet time.” After sitting there for a moment I realized that I missed it too. I told him that I would think of some ways we can have quiet time that is age appropriate for them.
Instead of taking a full thirty minutes, I have decided for each of us to take what we need for up to 30 minutes but we must each spend at least 10 consecutive minutes each day in quiet time. Below are a list of mom-approved things we can do during quiet time.
Quiet time goes back into daily rotation in the Dorsey home on Monday after the boys and I talk about it on Sunday. Taking a few moments a day to find your center or to simply calm yourself can make you a better asset to your family. It can help your children learn how to sit quietly and allow themselves the freedom to think without the constant stimuli from the outside world.
Can you incorporate quiet time into your daily routine? Do you have quiet time tips for my family?