The first is to my children, Ave & Bryce.
Everyday, well almost everyday, I give you the gift of Quiet Time. From 4pm-5pm you head on up to your
It's become our little ritual. I change your bums and we head on "up" those 2 storey stairs. Never forgetting to stop and smell the dusty artificial "flowers". Once we get to your rooms you head to your basket of books and toys and pass them to me one by one and I place them in your bed. If you ask, AND you ALWAYS do, you get your "suess" and then I dim your lights to a calming glow. As I walk out of your room I kindly remind you, "Remember this is Quiet Time. You don't need to sleep but you DO need to be quiet. Do you understand?" To which you always reply with a nod of the head. I shut your door.
50-60 minutes later, I head back on up those stairs and announce "It's FRESH BEAT BAND TIME!" and you both scream your little heads of with a joyful, rested, rejuvenated, "YEAH!!!" You hand me your toys and books and they are safely returned to their resting spot until the next day. When we head downstairs you let me hold your hands....sometimes. You are getting so big and more independent and like to do it "yourself" from time to time. This fills my heart with such pride but a little sadness too.
Why is this a gift you ask? For two reasons.
#1 You both spent every waking hour together and for the most part, you both get along so well. In fact, if one of you gets up after a nap before the other, you are often quite "concerned" where the "missing twin" is. (Truth be told, I love this time because it gives us each Mommy & Bryce and Mommy & Ave time together...alone.)
Anywho, while I will forever nourish and encourage and even INSIST (at times) on your harmonious, loving, brother/sister bond, I also want to make sure that you develop some confidence and security with being apart (for short periods, at least for now). While it may not seem like it now, this is truly a "gift".
#2 Mommy loves you both so very much. More than I could ever express in words BUT mommy also needs "quiet time". I am a much better mom because of it. I am not sure if you can "feel" it or not but after 1 hour of "us" all having some quiet time, the energy in our home is much more productive & positive (Mommy doesn't seem to yell as much). Being a more rational, even-keeled mom is truly the best gift I could give to you because that's when I am at "my very best".
The Second is to All Other Parents.
I am positive I am not the only person who gives the "gift" of quiet time to their children (and themselves) but if you arn't I STRONGLY recommend considering it. I can, with all honestly, say to you that my children will have "Quiet Time" until they go to school full time. It may even continue, well into elementary and most definitely during junior high and high school. Although I am pretty sure it will be "renamed" by this time...LOL!
I know I risk having "some" judge me for this parenting practise but I know what works for ME (and them too!) I just can't imagine that ALL parents, especially stay at home mom's, couldn't benefit from 60 minutes of "Quiet Time". It's not meant to be punitive...not at all. It's actually meant to be a REWARD for the kids & YOU!
Watcha Talkin' 'bout Willis? Reward...how you figure?
It's all in the way you approach it.
Parent Reward- Ok, so this goes without saying. 60 minutes of quiet. H-E-L-L-O! No further explanation needed. Period.
Potty Time excitement. They rarely put up any "fuss" about heading upstairs for quiet time. We have a ritual (above). We have a reminder (above). We have an exciting "time to come downstairs" reward (for lack of a better word). They ARE truly more rested, centered and ready to re-engage with the rest of the day. Not only are they getting some much needed "alone time" (Hey! if you need it, they do too!) they are learning to be comfortable with being "alone".
In my humble opinion, Kids DO NOT nor , SHOULD they be entertained every second of every moment they are awake. From what I have observed in today's parenting "world" it seems that the way in which my generation was raised, you know, using your imagination and self-directed play, is not the "norm" nor accepted way of parenting the little beings of our future. I disagree.
Alone time=let your imagination entertain you and keep you company=confident, smart, well adjusted children=the bright future of our world.
Dramatic? Sure. But I MAY be on to something.
If you think I am and haven't implemented it, you should. That would be 60 minutes of Quiet Time.