My kids are rustling quietly around in their beds. It’s rest time at our house, and it is a rare day indeed that we can’t set our clock by rest time.
Considering I lean in the direction of free range parenting, this strict enforcing of quiet time could seem a little strange. As a parent that believes in big doses of freedom, why would I make my kids stay quiet in such confined space for a chunk of our day?
Why such fervency of structure?
Well for one, my sanity. Let’s be real here, parenting is hard and we all have limits. Knowing and honoring those limits can make us better parents. Which could sound selfish…until you consider that your kids have limits too.
Yes, some of my kids are past the napping age and no they don’t all want to do quiet time, so this is an enforced boundary that goes against their personal freedom so I need a pretty good reason to stick with quiet time. Why do it?
I have this crazy belief that limits enhance our personal expression instead of suppress it. This belief pulses its way into our lives in various forms, but none so pronounced as quiet time.
The fact is everyday life requires an immense amount of creativity, especially for kids. Kids express themselves by playing with toys, resolving conflict, and imaginative play. Basically, their whole day is self-discovery.
How does setting this boundary enhance self expression?
Truthfully, my introvert kids need to reset. If you have introverts, I bet you can see their exhaustion by midday. It may look like frustration or boredom. Their problem solving skills turn into a whirl of short tempers and tears.
In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food– yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves. Psalm 127:2
These kids need the quiet and still to stir up energy that has been sapped by constant input. They use the time to process, rest, and remember. The rest fuels their ability to play and problem solve creatively. They can sink far more comfortably into their skin when they get the time they need by themselves.
My extroverts are another story though. They are my rest time resisters and while it may appear that they aren’t tired, the signs are definitely there. Most notably, their energetic effort to make things work for them, their creativity turns lazy and becomes apathetic. You might notice your little extroverts slipping into manipulating things in an unhealthly way. Mine usually start slipping in little fibs to make things work for them. Often they start overpowering their more tired siblings.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. Isaiah 26:3
My extroverts need a forced quiet time to reflect. Lazy creativity can create bad habits. As strong extrovert myself, I know that self-reflection is a habit that needs to be practiced in order to good creative habits. I occasionally (okay, fine, after a really bad morning) give my extroverts reflection questions to think about during quiet time.
Working with limits, not against them.
Most kids will set limits for themselves if given enough freedom, but often they need our guiding hand to see when they have reached those limits. We are the guardians of their little hearts and when we see them move from healthy self expression to frustration and bad habits we do well to direct them to rest and reflection.
And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:7
Kaylie Hodges is a wife to an amazing husband and mom of five sweet babies under five. She has three bio daughters and two adopted sons. She is a Truth Seeker, a Jesus Follower, and a Strong Coffee Drinker. Kaylie blogs about faith, family and funnies at kayliehodges.com
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Writers Needed For Parenting Series contact Lisa Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org