20 May, 2022 The Importance of Quiet Time for Children
An exclusive op/Ed exploring the value of quiet time for growing children
By Katrina Cheshire
In an increasingly screen-centered world, our children are losing their ability to stay content and happy without being constantly surrounded by tech. We rush to provide our kids with movies, games, and rapidly-changing screens so that they won’t get bored…but is this really what’s best for them?
Several years ago, I heard someone tell a story of a two year old they saw in a doctor’s office. The toddler was holding a board book and trying to swipe across the page to “change the screen.” How sad. This baby was so used to seeing adults swipe on their phones, she didn’t know the difference between a book and a device.
Children need quiet time alone to blossom into creativity
If you don’t want your children to be brain exhausted and dependent on screens for their happiness, quiet time may be just the solution. This shouldn’t be looked upon as some kind of “time out” or punishment. Actually, the opposite is true! If you go about it correctly, quiet time may become your child’s favorite part of the day.
A great way to do quiet time is to send them to their rooms for an hour or two every afternoon. If you choose to do this, make sure there are no devices in their rooms. If possible, at least some of the time, give them a space to play alone without siblings. This hour each day is for them to learn the value and beauty of purposeful quiet. Provide books, board games, or crafts for them to work on quietly alone.
But what if they complain that they’re bored?
This is actually a good thing! Boredom can be a very good thing for children. The modern idea of parents spending all their energy and time making sure their children are constantly entertained is exhausting, to say the least. Whatever happened to sending children outside to play and find ways to entertain themselves on their own? What happened to involving children in chores and housework, to prepare them for adulthood for the rest of their life?
If you never give your child a chance to develop their imagination, what kind of adult will they grow up to be? Researchers have found that it’s when we have time to daydream and think quietly that we plan and dream about the future. These precious minutes are foundational for your child’s life! They might decide their future, develop creative skills, or take the first step towards following their dream career!
The benefits for parents
Although this post is all about the benefits for your children, there are definitely benefits for the parents, too! While your children are quietly playing for an hour each afternoon, you get a chance to catch up on housework, read a book, or answer those emails you’ve been neglecting. It will save your sanity and immeasurably bless your children, all at the same time!
You’re not doing your children any favors by constantly sitting them in front of a screen. In fact, if your children don’t learn that boredom is a normal human feeling, they aren’t going to be prepared for adulthood. They won’t want to do their schoolwork, because it’s boring. They won’t be able to stand their job someday, because it may be boring. There are parts of life that are just boring, and children aren’t too young to learn this truth!
I promise quiet time works!
As one of eight children, I was raised on quiet time. Each afternoon, after homeschool and lunchtime, we headed to our rooms for an hour or two of quiet. And let me tell you, the creative juices blossomed! I devoured books, reading hundreds of them by the time I was ten years old. I sewed doll clothes by hand. I drew maps and played dress up and wrote stories. There were definitely times that I was bored, but I HAD to find something to do, so I did. Before long, I started to look forward to quiet time every afternoon! I wanted to work on whatever project I had started the day before. And you know something? I haven’t lost that childhood love of purposeful peace and quiet, even as an adult.
As we grow older, our parents gave us more freedom during those hours. We might head outside to read a book, or spend the afternoon in the sewing room creating a piece of clothing. If you have a schoolroom and your children can quietly work in there, this would be the perfect time for them to work on developing a new skill. Maybe they love gardening – send them outside to dig, plant, and water
As our family has grown up, we’ve seen the fruits of those quiet hours. Some of my brothers loved to draw airplanes during those quiet hours, and they’ve grown up to pursue careers as pilots. I firmly believe that the stories I wrote during quiet time led to my love for writing today, and I have my own fashion business now, thanks to all those hours of sewing! Most of my siblings play musical instruments that they spent hours practicing each afternoon. It truly does pay to purposefully give your children space to grow their gifts!
Quiet time will look a little different for every family
The best part about quiet time is that you can tailor it to suit your family’s specific needs! Of course, it doesn’t have to happen every single day. Some days you may have play dates, or a field trip, or choose to all do something together as a family. Other days you may spend all day working on school. It will all depend on your family’s needs!
Don’t fall victim to the lies of the world! Save screen time for essential work and for occasional family movie nights together. Let’s raise children who have a passionate love for learning and aren’t afraid of being bored!
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Katrina Cheshire is a home school and Bible college graduate and the author of Seller of Dreams. She is passionate about good stories and the power they can have in shaping a life.
With seven siblings her life is full of adventure and excitement! She loves to design and sew clothing. She enjoys writing endless stories and read even more of them. You can find her making music with her brothers and sisters or dancing for the glory of God.
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