An important part of the rhythm of our day is quiet time. After lunch everyone settles down for an hour of quiet play and/or reading. I started quiet time more as a way for me to regroup after a busy morning, but find it is equally as important for my children. Now they don’t enjoy quiet time like I do, I would be lying if I said they were excited about it, but it’s only for an hour.
Each child gets to pick a quiet activity, the older kids need to read for at least 30 minutes and then are free to play quietly. It gives each child a few moments to just be with their own thoughts, something that I think is particularly important in a big family. My kids can always find a
partner in crime playmate in the house, which is fantastic, but I also want them to learn that it’s okay to be by themselves too.
Making Quiet Time Work
I have figured out a few strategies that makes quiet time go a bit smoother.
First, we have been at it for a while so it’s just a normal part of our routine. Being consistent with quiet time for most of our week is helpful. We have one afternoon when we are out and about but we make car time our quiet time.
Second, everyone gets their own space. Sounds like a no brainer but when three kids share a room that’s easier said than done. I have had to get a bit creative in spreading everybody out, but it cuts down on the opportunity for problems to crop up if they are separated.
Finally, we incentivize the quiet behavior. Right now they are working on a trip to Lego Land, Florida. We have been planning a December/January road trip to the beach in Florida. If they earn enough stars we will also go to Lego Land. Now I’m not big on behavior charts and sticker charts, but we looked at this as more of a commission type plan. If they worked extra diligently in this area, then they earned a pretty nice treat! Much like in many sales type jobs, if you meet a certain criteria, sort of above and beyond, then extras are earned.
After quiet time we regroup, read a bit of whatever we happen to be reading as a family, do a quick around the house pick-up and then everyone is generally free to do an activity of their choosing for the rest of the afternoon.
The kids are well on their way to earning Lego Land and they are thrilled with their progress. I’m thrilled with having consistent quiet times, they have become a habit in our day.