My heart is breaking for our children.
Many, if not most kids today are growing up in a world where they don’t have structured time to rest, curl up with a good book, build things, or problem-solve face to face with real live people.
Even at young ages, children are stuffed into car-seats so that our young ‘prodigies’ will be well-rounded or find their giftedness young, and yet their thirsty hearts and very souls can be drying up. While we are all doing our best to be amazing parents while maintaining our own busy schedule, but I need to ask: “Is your child getting enough downtime?”
But isn’t busy good, you ask? Doesn’t busy equate to “learning”? As an older homeschool mom who really stuggled with this, the answer turned out to be: no, not always.
[Or throw in the opposite challenge of having been highly stressed with enforced lockdowns, parents losing businesses or job, and few creative outlets other than screentime, and we have a serious challenge.]
[There are tens of thousands of families who’ve used the lockdowns as an opportunity to take their children out of schools altogether, wonderfully and immediately eliminating pressures from schools with corrupting influences. Now these families can CHOOSE when to come and go and what they REALLY want to do with that extra time.]
The stress and anxiety of a performance-driven young life (along with the unhealthy masking and unsavory school curriculum) is leading to obesity, depression, insecurity, anger, and emotional illnesses.
Quiet Time Is Well Spent
Due to a modern notion that a child should always have something to do, someplace to go, or excitement of some sort, parents themselves are losing that margin of quiet in their own lives.
Making times of rest and quiet in the midst of busy days becomes restorative. Here is what Leann wrote:
“I first implemented a daily quiet time with my children when my oldest was around three years old. When he gave up daily naps, I turned his usual naptime into a quiet time. Later, when my oldest was four years old, our middle son would often nap around 1 pm. I wanted quiet time to coincide with naptime so I could also have some quiet time for myself! Scheduling quiet time for older children during the naptime of younger children helps keep your home peaceful while the younger children sleep. No more interrupted nap times because of an older sibling’s loud play.”
This lull in the day lowers the stress hormone cortisol… yes, children product cortisol, too, and the quiet time is a practical way to reset.
Even though it may seem counter-intuitive to you, the child you feel may have ADHD and would never be able to play quietly, may actually be able to self-regulate better with the practice of quiet time. Your child may develop an understanding of their own real need to stop and relax for a while.
Children are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically fed through imaginative play, free time – yes, even some bored time – so they can develop skills to use it wisely.
Children need some solitude and time for inner strength and wholeness to form.
Children Dream of the Future In ‘Pre-Play’ Mode
Both boys and girls need to dream and — to use the phrase — ‘pre-play’ what they want be and do when they grow up.
Children Need Downtime
“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them, and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he specializes in studies on learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain is constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”
Other studies found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. (source)
When to Introduce Quiet Time
Start to introduce quiet time when your child’s nap would usually occur. Quiet time can take place anywhere in the home, but it is most effective when established in a designated area so that your child understands that there is an expectation to play independently and quietly within that space.
Make sure to have favorite cuddly animals or dolls, favorite blankie/quilt, children’s board books or engaging children’s books like by Richard Scarry, etc. that are absorbing and engaging to the eye and the mind. For many, relaxing hymns, classical, Celtic, or lullaby-type music low (nothing too stimulating) in the background doesn’t hurt, either. The right choice in music has a way of calming the spirit.
Our 2 older grandchildren love to listen to “My Little Lamb” stuffed animal audio Bible before and after waking up from nap.
These are some tips to successfully introduce quiet time.
Having a designated quiet room (likely the child’s bedroom) allows time out to be still and quiet.
Why is this important?
- It lowers stimulation (which leads to meltdowns and tantrums) from an active household with other children.
- It will likely help your child develop skills in managing big feelings and stress.
- Quiet facilitates focus and concentration. It helps not having a TV on in a home.
Here are 3 NATURAL, HERBAL, SAFE ways to support a peaceful day for your child with mild hyperactivity, anxiety or restlessness. These do NOT make a child drowsy, but SHARPEN focus and calm:
- Plant Therapy KidSafe Calming The Child
- Plant Therapy KidSafe Tension Tamer
- GaiaKids® Calm Support
- Homemade hibiscus flower tea is a great alternative to pharma for stress: my Kool-Aid recipe safely lowers anxiety and is calming
Have Fewer Toys – Ones That Don’t Do Much On Their Own
“Play fosters empathy in kids, and lies at the very heart of creativity and innovation. And the ability to play has a profound effect on our outlook on life.” ~Stuart Brown
Ideas: big (appliance-sized) cardboard boxes, blocks, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, puppets, a wagon, couch cushions, cardboard table covered with a sheet for playhouse, etc.
It is wise to have a few bins with different non-electric toys to rotate in and out for fresh inspiration.
Recommended Toys For Quiet Free Play:
- Magnetic tiles building set
- Wooden blocks: Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks With Wooden Storage Tray (60 pcs)
- The Fort Magic Kit (354 Pc long flexible tubes and connectors)
- Marble run
- Duplo Blocks (we found many of our extras at garage sales) – again multiplied hours learning without knowing it!
- Wooden Train Track compatible with major brands including Thomas
- Lego Creator Space Shuttle Explorer
- Engineering Building Blocks
- 12 Pc Wooden Engines & Train Cars Compatible with Thomas Wooden Railway
- Jumbo Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks
More toys for open-ended play worth owning.
We have a HUGE, exciting announcement. Deep Roots At Home now has a PODCAST! We are doing this on a trial period to see if this interests our audience. So head over today and like, share and download the first few episodes! https://buff.ly/3KmTZZd
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.“ ~Deuteronomy 6:7