Create A Place of Quietness in your Day
Do you ever feel overwhelmed when there is noise and hubbub all day long? It can be hard to avoid when you have children home all the time. One of the things I did with my boys was to create quiet spaces in our day. Here is a look at our special quiet times and suggestions as to how you might create similar moments in your home.
Personal morning times
Because I’m an introvert, I always tried to begin the day before our boys got up. This wasn’t always easy, as I’m not entirely a morning person. However, I learned that if I woke up and could make coffee and breakfast quietly enough (a pox on coffee makers that beep loudly!), I’d have time for morning reading and prayer. Ideally, I’d also be able to check my list of priorities for the day and make sure I had outlined the day in my planner. Having those peaceful moments in the morning made it possible to approach the day with a measure of calm.
As the boys got up, each one developed his own morning routine. In the younger years, the first one up would come to snuggle beside me while I finished coffee. Since I usually brought an extra little snack to my morning-time chair, he was happy to sit with me and nibble until at least one other sibling got up and it was time for breakfast and their morning time readings. As they got older, they’d go directly to the kitchen and get their own breakfast and start independent readings or audiobooks. School started at 9 a.m., so our personal morning times ended by then, and our school-related morning time began.
Quiet time for everyone
After school, we had afternoon Quiet Time. It lasted for various amounts of time, depending upon their ages, but the important thing was that each person had a separate place to be, and there was nothing noisy happening in the house. Not even good noise like music! Each boy could read, write, color, nap, even play Legos or K’nex, as long as he was silent. During that hour or whatever time we spent, our spirits were refreshed, and we grew ready to cope with the rest of the day.
Each evening after supper, it was time to wind down. Donald was the evening story reader and tucker-inner (I’m pretty sure that’s the correct job title!). However the wind-down went, it always involved books or stories and it always happened shortly after supper. As the boys grew older, there was a bit less reading aloud and more reading independently or listening to audiobooks.
The home stretch
I was tempted to call this final quiet time of the day “the Parental Collapse,” but that seemed a little too dramatic. It was really just that peaceful interval between the boys’ bedtime and ours, the lure of which reminded us to keep their bedtime at a reasonable hour. Once they were all reasonably quiet in their room, I made my list for the next day and wrote in my journal (just a daily log sort of thing) and we settled into our personal comfy spots to read.
Quiet time tips
Starting a quiet time habit is easy to do if you have very young children who are still napping. As they get older, just rename “naptime” to “quiet time” and they’ll never (or at least not for a very long time) figure out that not everyone has quiet times in their day. There are a couple other tips that can help you succeed.
- Designate a special quiet time space for each child. It doesn’t have to be a chair — it can be behind a sofa, under a table, or anywhere that meets the next criteria.
- Quiet time spots for children past napping age should be separated far enough from one another that they cannot see each other and cannot slide or throw anything between them. Quiet time works very nicely when there are few distractions, and this is one of the simplest ways to achieve a truly quiet home.
- Have them visit the bathroom before settling down.
- Let them choose what they want to do during quiet time and take it to their spot. Once settled, no coming out of quiet time spaces until it’s time.
- Most importantly, you must respect quiet time and have it yourself. If you tell your children it’s important for them to rest and refresh to meet the second half of the day and then you spend the time zooming around doing chores and distracting them and not refreshing yourself, they have no reason to believe that quiet time is important. I used this afternoon quiet time to read, write, plan, do handwork, practice calligraphy, fold laundry if it was already sitting beside me on the sofa, and other quiet pursuits.
What sort of quiet spaces are planned into your life? Quiet moments can help you stay balanced and happy in your homeschool adventure. I hope you have plenty in the coming year.
Here’s a handout from a recent conference where I spoke on “Making Time for Things That Matter.” It has a few tips on quiet times, as well as other ideas for making your days more peaceful.
“Now I begin to feel that all that is important comes in quietness and waiting; and that activity should be only the working out, the digesting and putting forth of what one learned, so that one may become empty again to receive more.”
“…in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15