INSTITUTING QUIET TIMES (NOT THE DEVOTIONAL TYPE) IN OUR LARGE FAMILY
is part of the Write 31 2017 Challenge.
Read 31 Days of Life in a Large Homeschooling Family for more posts.
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I love naptimes – both the children’s and mine.
When they were newborns, I would use naptimes to quickly do housework that I couldn’t do when they were awake. Like food prep and ironing or washing the toilet.
They dropped their naps. Eeks!
Instituting Quiet Times
Naps were critical for the children and me (still are for me!). So what happens when they transitioned out of naps? No, they are not allowed to run amok. There were still babies who needed to nap.
Instead, they were required to have at least 30 minutes of quiet time. No, not the devotional type but to play or read QUIETLY in their cot/bed/room.
Where they spent this quiet time is dependent on their ages and trustworthiness. Babies and toddlers stay in their cot or playpen. Older children are required to at least stay in their rooms if not their beds.
Yes!!! I got back my window of free and uninterrupted time.
Those were precious moments!
I either did what I had to do, or I would nap. It was what I lived for each day! Something that got me going through those hard and tiring days.
Benefits the children
The children also got time out away from each other – very necessary in a large family! Everyone needs some down time.. Especially young children who do not even realise that they do. Older children can just walk away and go “hide” in a room or corner of the house. But younger ones don’t know how to. This alone and quiet time scheduled for each day helped to ensure it happened regularly
Try with just 10 – 15 minutes first. Get them used to it. Use a timer. So they know when it ends. Our children were required to spend at least 30 minutes reading or playing or even lying down quietly. After that, they could play with one another but still quietly because the baby and mama were napping.
And as always – start small but keep at it. Remember, consistency and routines build habits which will lead to no more battles with the child. Everyone knows what to do and when to do it. After a week of consistently doing it, they will get used to it most of the time.
Enjoy that brief respite!
Not easy though
I will say that as the family grew, it got a lot more challenging because of the space issue. We were running out of safe and comfortable spaces to assign the children to! And if I let 2 children be together, it often ended up in tears. Not quiet at all.
The children’s take on it
Apparently though, the children were neither quiet or happy during this time. So they tell me many years later! Lol!
They recently told me that they still talked to each other and played with one another. Who knew?
But, you know what? It did not matter.
The main goal of that time was to get everyone to have a relatively quiet time so that both the baby and I got to nap.
By the time the oldest was around 12 or so, I no longer enforced Quiet Time after lunch. But the baby and toddler still took their naps and so did I. The older ones just had to make sure they were quiet enough not to wake any sleeping persons.
What about you?
Have you ever tried this? How did it go?