I tried my best to delay it, and that worked for a while. But then one day, they all dropped their naps, and I was just about ready to weep and give up on this thing called Motherhood!
Naptime was an essential part of my day and schedule. It was when I rested, when I got a break from the chaos, when I recharged my batteries and magically transformed into a pleasant, reinvigorated human who was ready to get back to her maternal responsibilities.
Now with our children swiftly growing up, nap time went out of the window. We then decided to institute another coping mechanism in place of it, “Quiet time” which we heard that some families had successfully implemented. It sounded too good to be true actually: 1-2 hours (depending on the age) of time when the kids would be quiet in their room, engaged in quiet play and reading, writing or drawing quietly.
Did you notice the emphasis on the word ‘quiet’?
I try and help them out with ideas for activities that they could be doing during their Quiet Time. Sometimes, it’s reading or drawing, listening to an audio book, or group games (provided they are quiet!) and sometimes my husband prints out puzzles, mazes, crosswords or colouring pictures for them. Eventually, I’d like them to be able to decide for themselves and use that time wisely.
I also try to help them understand why having some quiet time in the afternoon is actually a good idea for all of us. I found that this was necessary as they were growing up because they started to protest about having quiet time! I reminded them that it wasn’t nap time, they didn’t have to sleep or be in their beds staring at the ceiling.
Quiet Time gives us all a break after a busy morning of school, we gradually ease into it after lunch and a bit of TV. After our rest, we meet again at teatime for a snack and we then resume our activities.
We are not there yet though.
Most afternoons are noisy and chaotic and often require multiple course corrections (usually me roaring: ‘Be quiet!’, ‘Stop fighting!’). When you read “Quiet Time”, please do not think it is a time of Marles Family Blissful Silence. It’s actually quite the opposite, it’s never really quiet, we are still practising at being quiet and daily practise is often very hard.
The immediate goal for myself to get a refreshing break during the day when I could either be resting, reading or listening to a podcast. I always come out of this break feeling blessed and recharged, ready to take on the rest of the day. My future goal for the kids is teaching them the skill of slowing down, being still, getting rest, and being able to take on quiet, independent work or play.