The Importance of “Quiet Time” for all!
Do you ever get to the point where you are yearning for some time where nothing is scheduled, when there is no specific task that must be accomplished, when you can simply sit back and reflect on things?
I know that I certainly do! I need this type of quiet time. Time to think my own thoughts, to be still, to see what emerges in the stillness. And I’ve seen how important this quiet time is for children too.
In today’s fast paced world, both the adult and child can find themselves overly involved with very little that is free from one specific activity or another.
I invite you to take an inventory of how you spend your time as well as how each of your children spends theirs.
INVOLVEMENTS FOR THE ADULT:
(examples: work/yoga, etc)
INVOLVEMENTS FOR THE CHILD:
(examples: school, homework, tennis, etc)
Now think about the items listed above for the adult. Do they leave any time for reflection or do they consume every moment of every day. If all of your waking hours are occupied or if you would like more time that isn't allocated to one thing or another, think of when and how you can rearrange your life so that such time is possible. Think of involvements that can be eliminated. Remember you are the one who sets the priorities in your life. Perhaps even make a list of times during the week when time for reflection might be made available.
The basic question is, is there a balance in your life between your activities and the time available for reflection?
Once you have completed this review of the items on your list, and sort of figured out where you may add free time to your life, now do it with respect to the list of involvements for your child. Remember “Quiet” times are as important as periods of sleep for both your child and for you. Sleep rests the body and quiet time brings rest to the mind.
QUIET TIME BRINGS INNER PEACE:
During quiet time, the mind and body have time to settle down, to be still, to think your thoughts…and to see what emerges in that stillness. I’ve seen a child of 6 who was being very loud and actually creating a great deal of havoc with his siblings who, after a period of relaxing and playing by himself in his room, come out a different child. While we, as adults, are much more capable of dealing with the stress of a busy life we also needs a time of inner peace, stillness of quiet. Such times nurture our well-being! Those of you who meditate know the positive effect of time spent in stillness.
QUIET TIME ALLOWS FOR PROCESSING LIFE:
Such quiet times, allow for life to be processed. At times I care for a friend’s children, 4 precious little ones. I notice when I pick up her youngest child from her pre-school, she is very quiet on the way home. In addition, if the older children are with us, and want to play with her, she shows her distaste for their attempts to engage in what at other times would be a pleasant interchange between siblings. But if left alone for the ride home, about 15 minutes, she once again is ready for more activity and is her happy little self again.
Once I read an article about the time needed for processing about “1 hour's worth of reading”. I think it said that it took something like two hours of reflecting and one hour of writing on what had been read to fully appreciate what an article was talking about. SO, if we take this same idea and apply it to life, doesn’t it make sense that we would need time to process ALL that life brings our way.
On a personal note, last week, I had some very long work days, 5 days of working almost 10 hours daily. To that I added 2 hours of blog writing as well as time with my family. At the end of the week, I had this vision that my “cup” was running over, in the sense that I was totally filled and having no time to ‘sip’ what was there! I deeply felt the need for quiet time and reflection. This week-end, I was able to catch up, having both a restful Saturday and Sunday. It feels so good to have that down time. It leaves me with a feeling of being more relaxed,
present in the moment and peaceful!
QUIET TIME ALLOWS FOR CREATIVITY:
When one is fully present in the moment and in a state of peace, creativity is possible. The idea may come to you of a book you want to read, or a friend you want to speak with? The same happens with children. When free to play and just be, new ideas can come to them in the moment.
OBSERVING CHILDREN IN THEIR QUIET TIME:
Did you ever sit back and watch children at play, listening to their conversation, watching what they are doing, observing without praise or ridicule their process of trial and error?
It is so enjoyable and educational to observe them! I’ve come to call this process being the “watchful observer”. Children love to know you are close by, seeing what they are doing and allowing their creative juices to flow and be expressed. Sometimes you can step away and carry on your own work. But at times, just devoting quality time to observing them is a treat! For the parent or educator, this can be a type of quiet time also and filled with great peace.
Allowing children to have time to create and be in their own world is so important. You can give them such a s gift by providing time for them to just “be”! Providing such an environment allows children to have freedom and to be totally in charge of what they did. When children know the boundaries, the house guidelines, and our allowed to create within those boundaries, I call this, “Freedom within the Boundaries”. It’s a wonderful place for children and adults to live within.
STORY: CREATING IN THE KITCHEN AT AGE 3
My kids seldom lived outside the “home boundaries”, they played nicely with each other and seldom created problems. My husband really liked a neat and organized home and the children cooperated. However, there is always a time for the exception. This story is one such time!
One day my son decided he wanted to ‘cook’ up some cereal. He was probably only 3 years of age. He got into the pantry and pulled out several cereal boxes, a spoon and large bowls and went to work. I just allowed the ‘cooking’ to go on. He mixed the cereals in a big bowl.
He delighted in pouring the cereals back and forth from bowl to bowl. At the end, there was cereal all over the kitchen floor, but it was well worth the fun. We still have a photograph of that day!
During his playtime he became LOST in his world, testing his ability to pour, to stir, and to choose how much to put into each bowl. Children’s ‘play’ is actually children’s ‘work’! They learn through everything they do! He was in his world and knew nothing of what was going on around him.
RAISING PEACEFUL CHILDREN IN ACTION:
First of all, I invite you to look at your list of activities. Do you have enough free time to bring balance and peace to your life? I invite you to see if you can find a regular way of finding “free moments”. Perhaps it’s a 15 minute walk after work, or awakening 15 minutes early in the morning and just remaining still and having that time to yourself. Regular “free” times are essential to living a peaceful life.
I invite you to find time for quiet during this week. And perhaps you can spend some time being a ‘watchful observer’ of your child this week. See if such quiet times lead to a more peaceful household for all.
Sharon Ann Wikoff, parent educator, radio host and write, can be reached through her website: www.SharonAnnWikoff.com or at SharonAnnWikoff@gmail.com