All of a sudden, our family (along with the rest of the country) had to quickly get used to FULL TIME TOGETHERNESS. While I’m doing my absolute darndest to tackle homeschooling with a positive mindset, I knew before starting that we absolutely must have some time away from each other if this was going to work. Otherwise, our home would turn into a scene from The Walking Dead. So, turns out that for us, the one thing that has made these homeschooling days bearable…
We do a mandatory hour of quiet time. Every single day, for every single member of the household.
I know what your first thought may be: My kids are too old to implement quiet time. But trust me, any human being can benefit from some space and quiet —all you have to do is enforce it. I have an almost-6 and 8-year-old, and I still make it work. Because it’s not about whether they need any extra sleep. Instead, it’s a chance for us all to have some time apart, quiet our minds, and recharge for the rest of the day and evening.
The older one likes that we have a little secret arrangement between the two of us that he doesn’t have to really nap, he just has to play quietly in his room, which usually means Legos, a puzzle, or drawing. With my kindergartner, I simply give her a kiss and hug shut off the lights, close the door and walk away. The first couple of days, she did waltz out of her room after five minutes claiming that she slept, but after she discovered I wasn’t messing around, she knew to stay in her bedroom, and she sometimes actually sleeps.
There’s no “right” time or way to do quiet time, but in our house, it’s always after lunch. As the kids eat, I scarf some food down, too, while I make fresh coffee. As it starts to brew, I immediately feel a sense of calm. After I get the kids into their separate rooms, I settle into the couch and sip my coffee in solitude. It is nothing shy of magic.
Some days, I squeeze some work in, but honestly, during this pandemic, I find that often I just need a break. I either write in my journal or catch up in my group texts with friends. And, without fail, after that hour, I find that I’m able to be a much more patient human and mom. Spending all day every day teaching and keeping little ones busy is beyond draining. So, giving myself this needed break is the tool that helps me pace myself.
Key for us is consistency. Quiet time is now baked into our family’s rhythm as an every single day kind of thing. So, if you’re going to try to implement it, just be sure that you do the same routine at around the same time each day. Your crew will get the hang of it—and soon enough, you’ll be sipping your hot coffee in solitude, too.