The Joys of Daily Afternoon Quiet Time

I love my kids. You love your kids.

I think we can all agree that this fierce, fathoms-deep affection for our children would prompt us to lay down our lives without a second thought.

They are part of us, whether born of our bodies or chosen through adoption. We would do ANYTHING for their well-being. And, in smaller yet significant ways, we do EVERYTHING for their benefit–all day, every day. We talk, we snuggle, we sing, we teach, we feed, etc. This is all part of the joyous calling of parenthood.

And yet.

At about 4:00 in the afternoon, a shift occurs.

The onslaught of adorably naive questions is no longer so adorable. It is exhausting.
The “play fighting” between them has turned into an actual knockdown-drag out.
The clamoring of the toddler to “hold you! hold you!” makes me want to run down the street screaming.

 

Not ideal. Not pretty. I want to mother my kids with JOY, and to take pleasure in the process of raising them. So, what needs to happen?

Honestly, we all just need a break from one another.

So simple.

NOTE: Sometimes it’s absolutely a play-through-the-pain situation: not enjoying myself, but  aware that this is where the sanctification happens. In that case, I try to keep my head down and pray that the experience might be useful, since it certainly isn’t fun.

 

This post is more about putting a routine in place that makes our household run more smoothly.

As the mom (WAHM? SAHM? I don’t even know my label anymore.), I have the opportunity to set the tone in our house on any given day.

 

In the best interest of my family, it’s my job to take a look at our kids’ routines and see where I could improve the quality of our home life. This is where the glorious AFTERNOON QUIET TIME comes into play. (Trust me, it’s a beautiful thing.)

Time to Themselves

It’s been some time since either of our kids took consistent naps. Therefore, we have instituted mandatory afternoon quiet time each day after lunch.
No one has to sleep unless they want to, but BOTH KIDS spend at least an hour in their rooms, alone.
Afternoon Quiet Time

 

They can read, play quietly, listen to music, etc.  An added benefit is that they get to learn some new ways to entertain themselves.  Often 2 year-old Bob does fall asleep, and ends up napping a couple of hours.

 

For a habit that’s so simple to add to our daily routine, it works wonders for morale and enthusiasm (both theirs and mine!). Taking a brief break from each other gives us an opportunity to recharge, rest, and handle the remainder of the day with less chance of a meltdown (either theirs or mine!).

Time to Myself

It doesn’t even matter–for me–what I do during that quiet time. Sometimes it’s Bible study, sometimes housework, sometimes writing or painting.  I also frequently get to overhear Daisy singing along to the songs on her iPod…*the cuteness*…

 

The end result is renewed mental and emotional energy to finish the day well.

Now, in the spirit of transparency, it took some doing to make this new habit part of everyone’s routine.

I’d say we spent about two weeks training the kids in “standard quiet time procedure”. There were several days when I spent the entire hour depositing children back in their bedrooms. But, like during potty training, I had to keep looking forward to the long term goal–not focusing on the current struggle.

 

Aaand now I’m thinking about potty training. Still gotta make that happen with the youngest.

 

Mandatory Rest Time

 

Anyway, where was I?

 

I highly recommend incorporating regular rest periods into your family’s routine. When afternoon quiet time is over, we’re all excited to spend time together again, with refreshed energy to take on the rest of the day!

 

I even know families with older kids who have quiet time–often homeschooling families will use this, since they DO spend the majority of their day together.

 

Smart move, I believe.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
And the mom grow more patient and relaxed.
And the kids grow less exhausted-to-the-point-of-totally-obnoxious.

 

How does your family rest and recharge?

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