You’d be hard pressed to find a parent who wouldn’t love one hour of alone time every once in a while. After all, sometimes we just need a little peace and quiet to take a deep breath and relax for a few minutes. But did you know that children and adults alike really do benefit from quiet time, or alone time?
An NYU study showed that our brains solidify what we’ve learned during periods when we are awake but resting. Additionally, quiet times provide children with uninterrupted time to give all of their attention to one thing, which increases their focus and attention span. Even more so, it gives little ones the opportunity to problem solve, even from a young age. Maybe they are working on a puzzle or building something with blocks, something you would typically help with if they ran into trouble. Quiet times gives them the chance to solve problems independently; and if they still can’t figure it out, you’ll be right there to help when quiet time ends.
In our ever-connected world of smartphones and social media, alone time becomes harder as we get older. We don’t like the idea of being alone with our thoughts, of doing “nothing” with our free time. But parents have the unique opportunity to teach their young ones how to be alone occasionally, and how that’s not something we should fear or avoid.
One way parents can help children cultivate an appreciation for quiet time is by not making it a punishment. Show them that mommy and daddy have quiet times as well. It’s something everyone can look forward to. And quiet time doesn’t need to include sleeping! Tell your child she can play with her toys, read books, or simply daydream if she wants. While there should be a set amount of time for quiet time, there doesn’t need to be many rules, other than “stay quiet.”
Quiet time is beneficial for children and adults alike. As a parent, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty about implementing a regular quiet time for your kids (and yourself). If your kids have already moved past the nap stage, don’t worry. You can slowly introduce quiet times one or two days a week, for even 10 or 15 minutes. Your kids may push back at first, but after a while, you (and they) may be surprised by how refreshing and fun quiet time can be.
Do you have any tips or tricks for a successful quiet time with kids? We’d love to hear from you. Find this post on our Facebook page and share your best tips with us!