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kindergarten teacher, sun lover, scorpio-introvert, dog mom, obsessed with low-tox living. Hoping to help you parent your littles, make some clean swaps, & simply live your best life.

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mackenzie

7/06/2022

Quiet time with kids

Get yourself some quiet time this summer (even with the kids home!)

Summer as a parent is amazing because you get so much more time with your kids, and it’s also exhausting because … you have so much more time with your kids. Whether your kids are in camps, spending time with family or friends, or are home most of the time – it’s a big adjustment. If you’re like every other parent I’ve talked to, moments to yourself are far and few between. As a former kindergarten teacher, I can tell you that quiet time to yourself IS POSSIBLE. Here’s how:

Quiet time! You’ve heard that before and you’ve probably tried it and it doesn’t work. You figure that you and your kiddos just aren’t cut out for making quiet time work and you give up. Read this: it’s not you, it’s the quiet time instructions!!

Someone probably told you to just give your kids some books or coloring pages and set a timer for 20 minutes. 

NOPE. Not how to be successful with this. 

Here’s how:

INCLUDE YOUR CHILD IN PICKING WHAT’S ALLOWED:

Giving your child a say in what they use is NOT giving them all the power. You pick 5 things that they can choose from, then have them pick 3 of those 5. This way, you are still fully controlling the options and the outcome, while they also get a feeling of autonomy and inclusion. 

SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES:

Instead of saying “don’t come out of your room” or “no playing with those toys” or “no talking to me until the timer goes off” try this:

  • Your body stays in your room the whole time
  • Point to your 3 options. Is anything else an option right now? 
  • This is a quiet time where our voices are off. If you think of something you want to tell or ask me, put it in this bubble and you can ask me afterwards! (draw a medium sized bubble in the air)
  • This is a new thing we’re practicing. Do you have questions about what’s expected?

If you tell them what not to do, they’ll focus on that and they’ll more than likely make a mistake. Telling them what to do helps them focus on what’s appropriate and be successful. Remember, building up stamina takes lots and lots of successful experiences with this.  

START SMALL & START WITH SUCCESS:

Ultimately, you want to have 20-30 minutes (or more) of quiet time. This means that in order to be successful you have to help your child build stamina. Start with a very small amount of time so you can GUARANTEE success. Generally speaking, a child’s attention span is how old they are but in minutes – so a 5 year old has about a 5 minute attention span. However, like I said, success is the NUMBER ONE PRIORITY so start well under that. 

Here are a few age recs:

  • If your child is 4 years old and has never done formal quiet time, start with 1 minute at a time. On day 1, do a few reps of 1 minute quiet times. Just be sure to stop while you’re still seeing success. Slowly build up from there
  • If your child is 5 years old and has never done formal quiet time, start with 2 minutes

MAKE THE WHY CLEAR:

When someone tells us to do something, we usually like to know why. It helps us understand and feel better about doing the thing! Kids are the same. If they know why they’re doing something, they’re more likely to do it. 

Here’s phrasing I liked to use in the classroom:

“Today we are going to start a new routine called Quiet Time (we can pick a new name for it together after we’ve done it a few times). I’ve noticed that after lunch, we get loud and there are a lot of disagreements. This is a clue to me that we could use a reset time. So, that’s what we’re going to do! We’re going to give our bodies, hearts and brains a little bit of time to relax and reset so we can feel happy, successful, kind, and productive for the rest of the day afterwards. Are you ready to learn what that looks like?”

“When you finish your lunch, your jobs are to put your lunch away and wash your hands. Then, you will quietly start quiet time. Here are the quiet time expectations:

  •  You get to pick from these three things: reading/looking at books, coloring, or building with play-doh. 
  • To help every one of us reset, this will be a time where our voices stay off. 
  • Once you pick your spot, stay there. If someone is bugging you part way through, it’s okay to move. 
  • You’ll know quiet time is over when the clock shows [insert time]
    • You’ll put your things away and meet me [insert place like my office, the kitchen etc.]
  • What questions do you have?

Then answer as many questions as your little one has. Even if you JUST explained it – let them ask and be sure to kindly answer. Help them visualize how the time will go and how they will know it’s over. Remember: success is KEY to building up stamina. 

Alright friend, tag me on Instagram @kinderwithmackenzie when you give this a go or DM me any questions!

Mackenzie

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