When it comes to developing life skills, there’s always a lot of talk about do this, do that, achieve this, reach that goal, etc. but, strangely, very little is said about the importance of being still and learning how to quieten the mind.
Modern life is frenetic. Adults and children alike are bombarded with information which leaves thoughts racing with facts, figures, images and ideas. This constant stimulation hikes up our stress levels which, in turn, impacts enormously on our behaviour and, eventually, our health.
Taking time out to focus on quiet activities can shore up our mental reserves for heading back into the fray and children need this time as much as adults do.
When children get overtired, their behaviour begins to deteriorate. They’ll start to get irritable and over-emotional, over-reacting to the slightest thing. It becomes more and more difficult for them to control their own reasoning and behaviour and more difficult for us to reason with them too. (Let’s face it, adults often behave like this too).
Teaching children how to take time out of a busy day to recharge their batteries will not only help you keep their behaviour reasonable in the short-term, it will also help them to know when and how to take time out as adults.
Make time in their schedule for quiet time and insist on them using it.
If it’s not already part of the routine in your house, the chances are you’re going to hear the question: “so what am I supposed to do then”. Here are a few simple ideas:
Define a Space
Everyone needs a space. Be it the sofa, the bedroom, the bathroom (for a nice long bath), divide up your home in whatever way works best for your family so that each member get some time alone.
Make quiet time routine so that everyone know what it is and what’s expected of them – there’ll be less arguments that way. We have quiet time on the list of Daily Goals for our children and actually goes towards them earning their pocket money.
Suggest Quiet Time Activities
This list is pretty endless but we’re talking things such as: reading, puzzles, meditating (yep, kids can do this too), praying, listening to quiet music, listening to audio books, drawing, etc. It’s important to let them make their own decisions about what to do provided it’s quiet.
It’s important to try and steer clear of electronic gadget’s and computer games where possible too. Fast moving computer graphics won’t help your child quieten their mind.
Our kids like to lie on the sofa with their eyes closed and listen to the Magic Tree House audio books.
Don’t ban everyone from talking to each other or venturing out of their “space”. It’s not a big deal to interrupt someone else for help occasionally but it should be just that – occasional!
If this is new to your kids, start off by keeping it short, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. After a while you can extend the time to whatever you feel is appropriate.
The first few days might be a bit tough, but they’ll soon get into the habit of quietening their minds and recharging their batteries.
How do your children spend their quiet time? We’d love to hear your ideas on a CANDo email.