‘How on Earth do you do it?’
I’m not sure if this frequently asked question should concern me, but it is often the response I receive when people learn that I have 8 kids and that we homeschool all of them!
This blog has shared many of the ways that we manage our large family. I am always looking for ways to simplify, streamline and organize my home and school so that we are able to use our time to it’s best advantage. Not always easy.
Two things that have made the biggest impact on the smooth running of our home are my own Mom’s Morning Routine and an almost daily Quiet Time Routine.
Why Quiet Time?
With 7 kids still at home, mom is in constant demand. I don’t know about you but I love being a mom. Love. it. However, I am greatly outnumbered and if I don’t establish some boundaries with my kids I will quickly find myself in burnout state. As a person who naturally prefers quiet, just knowing that quiet time is coming and having a regular afternoon time of quiet restores me.
For the Kids
I love my kids. I do. They are even pretty well-behaved most of the time. But they are kids. Busy. Loud. Hungry. Active. Having some down time and rest is good for them. They are refreshed and eager to see their siblings once Quiet Time is over.
What is Quiet Time?
Nap time is the elixir of life to young moms. Quiet time is that for moms of older kids. Once your kids outgrow their daily naps, it can feel like you are running all day. Snacks and crafts and game playing and messes. These are all natural by-products of parenting healthy kids. The thing is that having a bit of peace and quiet, especially knowing that it is coming soon, is needed (at least for this introverted mama) to keep the atmosphere balanced.
Essentially, Quiet Time can be what ever your unique family situation needs it to be – as long as the house is quiet!
How to Establish a Quiet Time Routine
Most of our kids give up their naps by about 3 1/2 – 4 years old. Ideally, the Quiet Time routine just slips right in where nap time left off. If you have not established a Quiet Time Routine yet, you may experience some resistance. Kids want to be free! This is okay. You can ease into your Quiet Time Routine. You will likely need to be present and monitor how well your kids are following the rules. Are they staying in their rooms? Are they playing quietly? Taking the time to ‘inspect what you expect’ will make this transition time quicker.
Where will they go? All of our kids share bedrooms, so deciding ahead of time where each child will spend their Quiet Time is important. Leaving my 3 & 6 year old sons alone together for any extended period of time is a recipe for disaster so one has quiet time in the family room and the younger in the bedroom where he can comfortably fall asleep if he wants to. My teens can pretty much be anywhere in the house because they like the quiet too and are not prone to the kind of spontaneous naughtiness of the younger ones.
Set a timer. Set a timer for 30 minutes in the early days. Let your child know that when the timer goes off, he or she can come out of their room. Gradually increase this time to whatever length of time you want your Quiet Time to be. Offering a snack time treat or special story time for after a successful Quiet Time can motivate more resistant kids (just saying…).
Use the ‘snooze’ button on a clock radio. A few years ago we bought a good quality CD clock radio for each bedroom. Most clock radios have a snooze setting that can be set for 30, 60 or 90 minutes. Set the snooze button for what ever amount of time you’re aiming for. We have our kids listen to books on CD or relaxing music during this time. This alleviates the constant questioning, “Is quiet time over yet?”
Set aside special toys or books for Quiet Time. If your kids are finding it difficult to find quiet things to do during Quiet Time, try making a quiet time box. Ideas of things to put inside the box are new coloring books, a complete set of crayons or pens, stickers, weaving supplies, educational toys, small blocks or pattern blocks, a new audio book only for during quiet time. As you can see, this list could go on and on. There are tons of ideas online to get you started.
Visit my Quiet Time Pinterest Board for more ideas.
Try to be consistent. Habits are formed out of consistent practice. If you only have Quiet Time now and then, you will remain in a perpetual state of training. Being consistent helps Quiet Time become a habit that everyone expects and eventually enjoy.
How about you? Do you have a Quiet Time Routine in Your Home? Any tips?