Quiet time can be hard to come by in a house full of children, but it is important for your kids’ well being. Whether the time is spent relaxing and decompressing from an eventful day or focusing on homework, your children should have an uninterrupted block of time worked into their daily routine where they can find complete silence. Turning off televisions, cell phones and MP3 players should be strictly enforced, and here are some of the reasons why.
- Kids Get Stressed Out, Too – Though many adults idealize childhood and think of it as a carefree time, for many modern children, this simply isn’t true. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey indicating that children worry about their family’s financial situation and their grades, with older children showing marked stress over issues such as college acceptance and funding. This survey also showed that parents consistently underestimated the stress level of their children by 12-24 percentage points.
- Quiet Time Can Help Control Symptoms of ADD/ADHD – In order to properly concentrate on schoolwork, kids with ADD/ADHD need an uncluttered and quiet space to unwind and focus on the work at hand. Outside stimuli can greatly affect your child’s ability to keep their mind on one task; blocking out noise that can distract them and hinder productivity is a must.
- The Pursuit of Individual Interests – Quiet time is a chance for your child to explore self-contained activities and interests, boosting their independence. In the absence of video games and cartoons, your kids can focus their attention on reading, working on artistic projects or other relaxing hobbies. The ability to entertain themselves with limited outside stimuli will serve them well later in life.
- Improving Sleep Patterns – A child that spends their day being bombarded by over-stimulating noise and activity will often have trouble decompressing before bed without the aid of quiet time. This sleep disruption can affect everything from their mood to their physical health; setting aside a period of winding down before bed can help kids relax instead of jumping into bed with a racing mind.
- Preserving Parents’ Sanity- Your children are affected by your mood and stress level, and you are just as susceptible to the crankiness that comes from constant over-stimulation as they are. While your children are enjoying their quiet time, you’ll have the opportunity to decompress a bit as well; as a result, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the minor crises that crop up throughout the day. Keeping your cool in high-pressure situations will help them to do the same, so everyone wins.
- Quiet Time Can Be Family Time – Instituting a policy of “Quiet Time” in your household doesn’t have to mean that everyone retreats to separate rooms to isolate themselves. Spending your quiet time together can be just as relaxing, and it will help you maintain your connections to one another. Younger, excitable children may need the occasional reminder to be calm, but everyone can benefit from peaceful time spent together.
- Escaping The Demands of Siblings – Older children can be taxed by the rambunctious behavior of younger siblings, causing them to act out of anger when they’ve been pushed to their breaking point. A period of quiet time can give your older children a much-needed break from the little ones, helping them to treat them better and enjoy interacting with them more as a result.
Tailoring your Quiet Time to the needs of your family is essential to success; there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Working out a schedule and guidelines can be approached as a family, giving your children the chance to give their input as well. They’re more likely to respect a plan they helped to create.