Walking into the store with a toddler in the cart seat, an infant carrier in the basket, a four-year-old sitting behind the infant seat, and a six-year-old walking alongside, it is no surprise when no less than two well-meaning fellow shoppers remark that I have my hands full. Most of the time my response is “Full hands, full heart.” Occasionally, if we’re making a scene (you know, crying children, public tantrums, etc.), I just try to smile through it and push on. But even in those times when I smile through it, I know that I am blessed. I also know that no matter how blessed I am, I definitely need our daily quiet time.
Now, when I say “quiet,” I am using that term VERY loosely. What I really mean is “time alone in your room where you can do what you want as long as it is safe and not against any household rules.” But that’s a bit too much of a mouthful to say everyday. You see, quiet time is for everyone, it doesn’t matter if they don’t take naps anymore. Here are a few reasons why I am a full believer in our two hour daily break…
1. The babies actually do need to sleep.
Of course, the most obvious is that there are two little ones who still need a daily nap, and the house needs to be quiet(ish) for them to do that. In fact, my toddler needs his nap so much so that he actually asks for it and (usually) happily walks up to the pack n’ play to sleep.
2. It serves as a reset.
Something I remember my mom saying all the time is “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” And it’s so true! Quiet time serves as a chance for the kids to get away from one another, have some alone time, and be ready to appreciate playing with each other again when it’s done. There are days when we have really hard mornings and after quiet time, it feels like a whole new day. I tell them it’s time to clean up their rooms and all of a sudden, they’re best friends again rushing to each other’s rooms to be together. It’s bonkers.
3. It fosters independent play.
Children need to learn to entertain themselves. And not with a screen in front of them. Quiet time in their rooms allows them to use their imagination and creativity. I have listened to some of the most amazing imaginative play coming from my oldest’s room as he builds LEGO scenes and plays them out with his characters. I have come into my daughter’s room to find all her stuffed animals gathered around “reading” a storybook or they’re all “camping” in a tent she’s made out of her blankets.
4. I need a break.
Yep. I said it. I need the children to go to quiet time so that I can get things done in the day. Or take a nap too (which hasn’t had to happen since I started Magic Coffee, but that’s a whole other story). There are some things that just cannot get done with all the children up. Like write, clean the house, do the laundry, or get crafty. It also gives me a chance to reset, recharge, and regain perspective so that I can be patient, loving, and encouraging no matter what the beginning of the day looked like.
So for all those reasons above, we take a break every day for two hours. It may be from twelve to two, it may be as late as two to four, but it rarely just doesn’t happen.
It sounds bonkers, I know. How in the world does one convince two no longer napping children to participate in this? Because they know no different. Nap time morphed into quiet time as my oldest grew out of sleeping, it continued with the next, and will keep going down the line. Even though I have one in school, he knows that on the days he is home for those quiet time hours, it’s just a part of our day and that’s what we do.
It works, I promise.
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