It seems slightly ridiculous, but at my house in the school holidays I need to enforce quiet, alone, not-interacting-with-siblings time. And it is so lovely – calming for me, calming for my introverts, absolute nightmare for my extraverts, but they are also much happier about playing nicely afterwards. And it’s a good reminder to me and the kids to take some ‘chill-out’ time.
We lead such busy lives, and in a family of 6 this is real noticeable that even if one child isn’t overly busy, by the time we’ve been to all the activities for all the kids we are pretty exhausted.
I’ve been tempted these holidays to not worry about the “Enforced Quiet Time” and in fact had a couple of days thinking I was very clever not needing it. But then the fallout began.
Screaming children, frustrated anger, irritated reactions, and snarky attitude, not to mention the ‘talking back’ and the fact that it took 3 days to get everything back to normal. Habits can form so quickly in children, and mine tend to jump in boots and all, when things go wrong. It’s like watching dominoes! One goes, then the next, the 3rd isn’t far away, and then the 4th leaps happily into the fray not wanting to ‘miss out’ …..
And, I then become a micro-managing drill sergeant getting everything back to the peace, quiet and harmony that I’m used to, and that we enjoy as a family.
Its funny to me that there are parts to good behaviour that we have to set up in advance, and if we get complacent, or lazy, or even just think that our kids are past a certain behaviour, then they can seriously make us pay.
Me, not paying attention, then overdoing the sibling interaction, then me even further not tuning in, and then add in my amusement, and oops-I-laughed-out loud moment, and I got back an 18 month toddler tantrum of epic proportions – oops.
The real “Oops” though was the next day, when I had to be super vigilant. Even the hint of a rolled eye, or an underhanded verbal swipe, the slightest attempt at ‘getting back at’ someone, meant that I was stepping in and removing children from play, from space, from the lunch table, from the bath. I was pulling everything back into line, and tightening up the rules, routines, and expectations.
And today, we are back to (almost) normal, but more importantly we are back to having “Quiet Time” in the afternoon.
Another 13 minutes of enforced down-time to go and the last couple of days has been a big reminder to me. Just because everything is going well, doesn’t mean that you stop doing the things that you’ve set up to make it go well.