Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ah, Quiet Time

It's 4:15 p.m. and I am sitting here smelling the wonderful aroma of Homemade Chicken Noodle soup as it simmers on the stove. Since it's cold and rainy out, (and since I can't stop thinking about it since Karen's post about Chicken Noodle Soup last Friday) it just seemed like the perfect night to make a pot. 

As I was preparing it I was remembering back to a time when I had young children at my feet and how chaotic it seemed to get at this time of day. It was that transitional time of day when I was trying to make dinner, pick up the messes and have a happy, peaceful environment for the Hubs to come home to. Only thing is, it didn't always work out that way. Some days it felt more like 'kids gone wild' than the peaceful setting I was envisioning. 

I was just remembering back to a particular parenting tip I received from Suzie Anfuso, a wonderful mentor who had a great influence on my parenting. This particular tip worked wonders in our home, so I thought I would pass it along to you.

It went something like this:

When it was almost time to start dinner the kids and I would work together to pick up any messes and put away toys. Then they would each get out coloring books and crayons or books to read. They would sit on the couch reading or coloring while I was getting dinner started. The rules were that they had to stay on the couch and there was no talking or playing allowed. Just reading or coloring. The purpose of the quiet time was two-fold: 

The first is the obvious - I could get dinner started without the chaos.
The second is that I was preparing them to be able to sit quietly in church.

I don't know about you, but all too often I would get frustrated that my children were so antsy and would have such a hard time being quiet and still during church. This parenting tip was a huge revelation to me that I had to train them to be still. Yes, I really was that naive in my early days of parenting.

Let me assure you, success did not happen overnight. I think we first started with about 10 minutes and worked up from there. Eventually, over the next few months, we worked up to an hour of quiet time each afternoon. Ah, finally, the peaceful setting I envisioned. 

Do you have a tip that has helped you keep peace during the transition time? If so, just leave a comment. We'd love to hear about it.

Gotta run....soup's ready.

1 comment:

GatewayKaren said...

What I love about this tip is the fact that you take a situation that happens outside the home, and bring the training into the home.

I think its great advice to specifically set up scenarios in the house to mimic the temptations and trials of everyday life, to help them learn in a safe, controllable setting.

Easier on child and mom. Spares the embarrassing looks and allows for the kids to make mistakes and grow in a healthy way.

I did something like this with my toddlers in that I didn't 100% toddler proof my house. I had a couple specific items (non-valuable, of course) that were "No touch" items. Any time they would go for it I was able to "train" them to ignore it and leave it alone.

They became familiar with the words "No touch" and understood it when it really mattered. I didn't have to go to excessive lengths to get them to listen to me.

I will admit at first it felt weird. I knew it would be hard to resist, and I questioned if I was setting them up to fail...but when I saw the fruit of it play out in the "real world" I new I was setting them up to learn and actually succeed.