Several years ago amidst our growing family and the growing daily noise I was introduced to the concept of a quiet hour. Sure my little ones took their nap but the rest of us continued to exhaust ourselves with more homeschool hours or with playing outside. Playing outside, of course, is valuable but my children were already getting plenty of that.
This idea of quiet hour appealed to me on so many levels. I’m the thinker’s thinker. My brain never stops going whether it be school, household stuff, planning meals, thinking about loved ones, situations, things to do, et cetera. My children always have a question or something to show me. I love this, but when multiplied by several children through out that day, at various times, it can be very wearing.
Although, not a consistent as I want to be, I try to keep this hour. Right now, even though the schedule has it at a set time, we take it when the toddler naps.
The benefits of this quiet time have helped tremendously in our household in the following areas:
- Just because a child is older doesn’t mean they’ve outgrown the need for a nap. I’ve often made an older child nap during quiet hour instead of read. Often times, when that child gets up he is happier and responds more pleasantly with all of us. How do I know when to give them a nap? Constant fighting with others, inability to focus on school work, sour disposition (although this could also mean they are hangry, so if the nap doesn’t work, feed them.)
- In Kindergarten I remember happily playing my own little games quietly with my hands during nap hour if I wasn’t tired. Quiet hour is than a time to learn to be quiet and play very contentedly in a still manner. This is great practice for church or other important social events that require being still and quiet.
- As the Mom, my quiet time is often a time for me to perform a “brain dump.” I find it very helpful to clear my mind so that I can relax. Often times, you’ll see my brain dump right here on my blog. Sometimes I actually nap. It is also a good time to focus on prayer (think of it as a brain dump to the Lord where we are spiritually refreshed as we lean on His rest.) Often during this time, things or ideas that I struggle with become clear. For instance, helping a child overcome a learning hurdle; or finally deciding exactly what we are having for dinner since my menu plan is messed up.
- For older children this quiet time works for them much like it works for me. A time of just being able to rest from an agenda and unwind.
Currently, as I write this down as a reminder to myself of the importance of quiet time for the coming year, the toddler is sleeping in his crib and my little preschool daugher smiled at me from her napping spot while I typed until she fell asleep. You can’t replace moments like that. So take a break in the middle of the day to be quiet together.
***Disclaimer*** Before I paint the utmost picture of serenity and perfection before your adoring eyes I must add that there where days that quiet hour has been a disaster. It happens. For instance, when we first started there where some serious protests and I had to put my foot down on more than one occassion to even establish it. Most often, it is happily accepted now. Other times, a child had too much sugar and the baby woke abruptly fussy after 10 minutes, and the phone seemed to ring off the hook with sales calls but this isn’t always the norm and my ability to handle that with grace, is well… needing refinement to put it eloquently.
Quiet time, however, is worth effort in this household because the benefits are bountiful. Now, grab your cup of hot tea and go unwind. (Hey! Is that why the British have tea time? So, since we’re studying British history this year we’ll have “tea time hour” instead.)