The One Thing I Can’t Do Without
Being a Mom & an Introvert
I’ve always been a bit of an introvert and a home-body. I like people, but I get energy from having alone time. I love being alone and having quiet time to myself. Getting married and having children definitely changed the amount of alone time I get each day. I went from having most of my day to myself (self-employed house cleaner) to spending almost every hour of every day with my children. I became extremely dependent on my first child’s two naps for getting some alone time for myself each day. When she dropped her morning nap, I started to panic! How was I was going to get my alone time in each day? When I was chatting with my mom about it, she said, “Just do quiet time.” So in pops quiet time to my life, and now I can’t imagine a day without it.
Now I’m sure quiet time has been around for a long time. I’m sure it’s been called hundreds of different names and has hundreds of different versions. What I’m going to write about today is my version of quiet time. We love quiet time in our house. My husband, Seth, and I were sitting on the couch one day during quiet time. I looked at him and said, “What do parents do who don’t have quiet time for their kids?” He very matter of factly answered, “They go crazy.” Lol! Quiet time is a MUST at our house. We, as parents, love it, and our children have grown to love it as well.
What Exactly is Quiet Time?
I’m sure it looks different to different people but in the Dahl house, quiet time is when the children go to their rooms to have alone time each day. They are welcome to play quietly or read books or rest, but it’s time for them to be alone and not come out of their room. For me, it’s my alone time as well. My alone time might be filled up with cleaning the kitchen or getting some work done on my computer, but most importantly it’s time each day that I know I will get to be by myself. No chatter from the children. No questions being asked. No one needing me. It’s my personal time to “reboot” and be ready for the rest of my day.
How I Make Quiet Time Happen
From the time my children drop their morning nap, they start doing quiet time. This is usually around one year old. I put them in their crib with some toys (that are safe for them to have without any supervision) and leave the lights on. I tell them it’s quiet time, and they are welcome to play quietly in their crib. I close the door and leave. Usually, they cry. I leave them for 5-10 minutes and slowly build up the time each day. Eventually, they stop crying and start playing. Soon, I have them up to an hour of quiet time each morning.
For my older children, it became a problem that they started coming out of their room. They’d make up any excuse to come out. My husband and I came up with a system. They get a ticket when they go into quiet time. If they come out for any reason (except to go to the bathroom – which they are allowed to do one time), then they have to give us their ticket. The ticket is good for one 20 minute TV show. If they lose their ticket, they don’t get a show that day. The only TV/screen time they get is from that ticket each day so they are HIGHLY motivated to keep their ticket.
Our two oldest share a room now which has made quiet time take on a new dynamic. It’s definitely not as “quiet” in their room as it used to be, but mostly, they do a good job playing alone or playing with each other. If I hear yelling, I usually try to let them work it out themselves. If I have to go in there, I give them a warning. If I have to come in again to help them sort out a problem, they both lose their ticket. This usually helps them get along very well after that. I’ve also added a new motivation. Because there are two of them, they have the potential to watch two 20 minute TV shows. Whoever is the quietest gets to pick first. This has definitely helped quiet time become more quiet!
The Benefits for Me
Obviously, one huge benefit is that I get the alone time I need each day. My children do two quiet times per day. One hour around mid-morning and one hour in the afternoon usually before dinner time. It gives me stability, and I know that each day I will get two hours to myself. I can plan my day around those times. If there are things I need to get done without the help of children, I know that I have two hours that I can do those things during. It also helps me be a better mom. I could choose to not do quiet time and be with my children 14 hours of the 14 hours they are awake. But, if I did that, I wouldn’t be as good of a mom. I know, to be the best me (and the best mom), I need alone time each day. My children are getting a better me for the 12 hours I am with them, because I take 2 hours for myself each day.
The Benefits for Them
My children hugely benefit from quiet time. I have seen their most creative sides come out during quiet time. When they only have themselves to play with, they get very creative. I love coming to get them out of quiet time only to find some amazing “town” they’ve created out of blocks or some neat fort they’ve built from things in their room. Quiet time also is a great time for them to “reboot.” Especially in the afternoons when everyone is getting tired and worn out, quiet time helps my children reboot and get through the evening with a much more pleasant attitude. One of my favorite memories was when our daughter was 4. She was having a really rough afternoon. Lots of whining. At one point she looked at me and said, “Mom, I think I just need some alone time.” She proceeding to go put herself in quiet time. She came out 20 minutes later much happier. She knew what she needed. She needed to be alone to reboot. I love that my children have the skill to be alone.
Make It Work For You
The great thing about quiet time is how it can be customized. If you have older children, quiet time might look like everyone going to their room to read books for an hour each day. Or if you have younger children, you might want to find something else to motivate them besides a TV show to get them to stay in. Quiet time can be adjusted to meet your and your child’s needs. Make it work for you. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve adjusted how we do quiet time in our house. As our children get older, we change and mold quiet time to work for everyone. That’s what makes it such a great thing to have… it’s flexible and it can adjust so that it is working for everyone. So if you are a mom or dad who feels like you could use a little alone time each day, give quiet time a try. It really is great!