You know that wonderful feeling you have when the children have gone to bed, and all is quiet in the house? – a sigh comes from your lips, a sense of calm takes place, and a smile comes to your face as you relish the ‘nothingness.’ I believe these times are very important to us as humans. We live in a very busy and noisy world. We are always on the go and surrounded by noise – and often intrusive, louder noises eg the TV, cars and trucks driving past our house, the clatter of our saucepans and the chatter of voices.
How often in a day do you have moments of silence?
How often in a day do you wish for some quiet time?
When I was in active parenting (my children are older now and have flown the nest!), they attended the same country school which I taught at. Some days I would get them to take the bus home, rather than come in the car with me. The car trip home took 30 minutes, and the bus took 60 minutes. So, I got 30 minutes of quiet time in the car to switch from Teacher mode, to Mummy mode…. And I got a cup of hot coffee in peace before they arrived home – full of energy, busting to tell me what happened today, and of course saying: ‘What’s to eat?’ This quiet time refreshed me, bought a sense of peace, and enabled me to go forward into several hours of busy-ness with play, dinner and bed time reading.
I’m sure you know how good it feels to be able to cope effectively with all that you need and want to do!
Children also benefit from periods of quietness. It helps them to calm down a bit, to slow down and be more still. Stimulating children with activity and events, people and sights is wonderful for their development, AND having quiet to balance that is also important for them.
What can you do to give your child some quiet time?
- Have times where the TV and radio are off – at first the silence will seem odd, but then you start to notice little things – you can hear the postman’s bike arriving, or the sound of a small bird chirping outside your window.
- Turn your voice down – often we’ve got so used to speaking loudly to be heard over the top of the TV noise. Notice how good it feels to talk, not shout!
- If you do put music on, try some of the nature sounds CDs (forest noises or water sounds) they are incredibly soothing to listen too, and engender calmness.
- Go for a walk outside – to a reserve, National Park or the beach – listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, or the waves lapping against the shore.
- Take the children outside and together lie on the grass, and watch the clouds drift by.
- Lie on the bed together and read stories to your children, or have them ‘read’ to you. It’s calming, and gives you both some much needed TLC!
- There are some beautiful CDs available with simple relaxation exercises or visualisations for children.
What are the benefits of silence or quiet time?
- It gives you and your child an opportunity for rest and the renewal of energy.
- It gives the brain a chance to download.
- It gives a stressed nervous system a chance for a rest.
- A rest and less stress can lead to an increase in performance at whatever comes next – the batteries are re-charged!
- When you remove extra stimulus (such as noise, electronic games etc) it allows the child to develop their creativity in what they will do/ play.
- It can encourage reflection – on what they’ve been doing or seeing.
- It teaches children ‘mindfulness’ – ie notice and enjoy this moment, whatever they are doing.
Isn’t it time for you now to head outside, lie on the grass
with your little ones and count the clouds?
Happy Calm Parenting!