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.
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?