Savoring Stillness

Children can learn the value of silence and solitude at a young age; rather than associating “alone” with “lonely” or assuming that “quiet” equals “bored,” we can help them cultivate an appreciation for the joy that quietness or time alone can bring. Consider these simple, kid-friendly ideas:

* Teach your kids to “sigh.” Not the roll-your-eyes-at-Mom kind of sigh, but the “Ah . . . life is good!” kind of sigh. As you enjoy a nice desert together, kick back and “sigh” together, savoring the flavors. Or after reading a good story, lay down your heads on the bed and literally sigh, enjoying the emotions of the “happily ever after” moment. Be intentional about these times of sighing. They’re short, sweet, and all about having a quiet moment of reflection and satisfaction.

* Take walks with long pauses. (It’s January in Indiana, so I don’t recommend actually doing this now.) In your outdoor adventures, intentionally pause the chit-chat several times during a walk. Let the quietness descend as you simply walk together. Your child will naturally develop a sense of comfort with these quiet, peaceful moments.

* Turn off the TV! This is a tough one – but make sure your kids aren’t used to having “background noise” coming from the TV set during every moment of their lives. Let periods of quietness be “OK” in your house.

(You can find more tons of creative silence & solitude ideas for kids in my books The Busy Mom’s Guide to Spiritual Survival and Faith-Filled Moments.)

What about you? What experiences of quietness or solitude have you shared with your children? What value do these times of quietness have in their lives?

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2 responses to “Savoring Stillness

  1. I have been so happy that both my kids enjoy having their quiet time. Clay, 11, can entertain himself for hours reading or creating teams and playing football in the house (with a small Nerf ball!). Hannah, 6, will often go into her room after school or church and play for hours with her dolls or draw pictures. Even when I check on her, she’ll tell me she just wants to play by herself for a while. She’s perfectly content — just “decompressing” for the day. In both cases, the kids are exercising and flexing their imaginations.

  2. We have a (mostly) daily quiet time in our house- I start my kids on this when they drop their morning nap (around age 1 or so- with 5 minutes, working up to 20 or 30 min.). They have to spend time playing quietly, listening to music- for the baby- in the crib, for the toddler- on a blanket in the living room, for the preschooler- in his room. In the past, I do this on a scheduled time- when I know that “sibling rivilary” is at it’s peak, or I need to make phone calls. Other times (like right now)- I do it when nerves are strung out- most often mine! It’s amazing how 20-30 minutes can difuse fighting and help me restore my “kindness” towards my children. And my kids will ask for it- they desire to spend time alone, and since it’s a part of their daily lives, it doesn’t upset them. Oh, and on a side note- I’ve been practicing solitude when I nurse my baby in the evening!!!

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