In our home, with four kids ranging from 10 months old to 6 years old, quiet/nap time is VITAL. The days we don’t get it are rough for everyone. The older two know that whenever Milo (our 2 year old) is ready for his nap, that is when their quiet time is. Sometimes, though, it can take a while to get him down to sleep (please tell me it’s not just my toddler who fights nap like he’s fighting for his life). That means that sometimes the kids are downstairs for quiet time for several hours. For the longest time I have felt intensely guilty about that. I mean, aren’t I supposed to direct their whole day? Isn’t that how I can ensure that they are always learning, growing, and developing?
I’ll let you in on a little secret that I have learned from this extended quiet time. If you give you give them space, they will learn! They will learn and do all kinds of amazing things. Some of Aidan’s best Lego constructions have come out of quiet time. He has even filmed videos of some of his creations while they are down there. Kayla has created stories and drawn pictures. They have played games, pretended to be puppies, built forts, and gone on many an imaginary adventure. They’ve learned to work the AppleTV (hey, that’s a lifeskill). They are learning how to work out some of their squabbles on their own. Aidan has even begun to draw (something he has resisted for quite some time)!
All of these things they accomplished because I gave them some space to be curious, try things out, work through boredom, and create without me looking over their shoulders. I even learned this past week that they have come up with more things than I knew about. I found papers they had used that I hadn’t seen before while tidying. up.
Here are just a few of the things they have made while playing alone.
Kayla wrote a ‘story’ about dogs as a pretend dog in a puppy preschool.
Aidan, who is NOT one to practice writing his letters, surprised me by practicing the letter ‘A’.
Kayla created plans for a ‘family festival’ at the beach including an underwater tunnel.
Aidan created a Lego train, with tracks, and a ‘turner’ at the end so the train can change directions. This one is a video that you have GOT to watch!
All of these were things that my children did during an extended ‘quiet time’. All of these were things that they decided to do on their own, because they seemed like fun. Now Aidan draws on a regular basis and asks to draw at least a few times a week. Kayla pushed back when I asked her to write a story for school, but she has written several on her own without my prompting. I just had to learn to give them some space.
Do your children have a daily quiet time? If not, now might be a good time to start!