Hi Parents. I wrote recently about having a quiet time for kids each day, and I've had a few comments from you (outside of the blog) so thought I would follow it up. The big challenge for many, of course, is how to get our kids to participate!
I've done a bit of thinking, reading and asking around (thank you so much those of you made suggestions) and I'm afraid there's no simple answer, but perhaps you can be encouraged with a few ideas.
Really think through some ideas for what your child can do during quiet time. Have a look at the activities and toys they own, and consider what might work best for them to play with when they're on their own. Talk about it with them. Save some things for quiet times only - go out and buy some things especially if you want to. Make a list to refer to. Lay out things on the bed or floor so it's clear what they will be doing that day.
Being flexible with location may help. I prefer Reuben to be in his room, as I need not just the quiet, but the physical space, and of course he is far more tempted to talk to me if he can see me. But today I let him have quiet time at the kitchen table as he was so entrenched there it seemed a shame to interrupt. But it is still officially quiet time and I have escaped to another room! I've allowed him to head to his room and even sit quietly in the lounge as long as he doesn't talk. Some of you have suggested having a quiet time in the same room as each other - as I say, it's not my preference but certainly something to consider.
Set a timer so they know they will be properly notified when quiet time is finished. Or use their Momo Monkey clock, or show them where the hands will be on a clock in their room if that works for them. If Reuben talks to me during quiet time I tell him that if the talking continues I will be adding another 5 minutes to the timer. If he is engrossed in an activity just before the timer goes off, I quietly add another 5 minutes.
Start with a short amount of time, and build it up slowly over the days/weeks.
And most importantly, I believe, persevere. Do it regularly. Stand your ground. Decide you are going to start doing regular quiet times and make it happen - perhaps commit to doing it every day for a week, and be prepared for the fact that it may be a battle but it will be worthwhile. They will get used to it. Start out with small amounts of time and call any small achievement a win. I believe quiet time is important for both introverted and extroverted children and, frankly, it's crucial for their parents. Sometimes it's hard to believe when you're fighting the battle that it's really worth it - but it is!
A few thoughts for activities, aside from the standard toys in the cupboard:
stories on a CD
make a tent for them to do their activities in
play music in the background
Do you have any other ideas on how to make quiet times work?
Do you have any other novel ideas on what kids can do during quiet time?