Finding Quiet Time

Finding Quiet TimeStorytime, the zoo, groceries, errands, playdates and friends–ever feel like the busier you are, the crazier life gets? I certainly do, and with my boys in tow I find that they get easily frazzled and upset when rushed from place to place.

Summer is an especially difficult time for finding quiet time, as feel I have to take advantage of the weather, the freedom and the heat to pack in as much fun as possible. But taking a minute to slow it down can be wonderful, too.

I try to balance a few days of activities with a few days of relaxation time to catch our breath, stay home and enjoy our space. For children, having a chance to be bored and have downtime in their comfort zone is extremely beneficial for development and emotional growth. This freedom of not having to be “on” in public, having to get along with other kids and having to constantly seek out mom in a crowd is mental relaxation for the little ones.

Downtime gives kids a chance at self-directed play instead of constant entertainment, a chance to expand their minds and explore their own surroundings at their own pace. Often, downtime also allows babies and toddlers to catch up on much needed deep sleep.

I find myself trying to balance giving my boys a chance at improvement–lessons, storytimes and friends–and time at home. In our culture, it’s difficult to say no, and with social media I find it so easy to feel left out of activities when when I know downtime it’s best for my family. But giving my boys a chance to just laze around, to play in their yard and see what they find just gives me joy and I see a dramatic change in my boys as they relax and release the constant rush that we live in.

By scheduling downtime and relaxation I find I teach my kids that they matter, and that their emotional and spiritual well being is important enough to be penciled in among errands and lessons. I hope you can take a minute to schedule some downtime for your family this summer–some long, lazy weekend days of stories, play and snuggles.

Pia Watzig is a mother of two who lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. 

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