Angela left a comment yesterday asking about Quiet Hour.
I want to know about your QUIET HOUR. You mean we can send all the kids to a quiet spot for an hour and I don’t have to feel guilty that I need some peace???? Sometimes I think my head is going to explode if I don’t get a little reprieve in the day. The adopted children yell MOM, MOM, mom every minute……. I don’t know how to break them of it.
When I originally established Quiet Hour, all of my children were securely attached, neurotypical kids, which made it easy. I found a spot for each child, on their bed, on my bed, in a sleeping bag in the hallway, on the living room sofa, even on the stair landing – wherever they could be alone. They took a stack of books, schoolwork, drawing materials, quiet toys, anything that helped them happily pass the time, as long as it did not make noise. Everyone rested for an hour.
Life changed with the addition of our children from “hard places.” Quiet Hour, as it was, did not work for my highly-anxious, attachment challenged children. However, it was probably even more essential for the rest of us.
Solitude may cause children from “hard places” to feel isolated, abandoned, anxious, or vulnerable. We must set the bar low enough for them to be successful at Quiet Hour, and give us a few moments of rest. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Keep your children very close to you, but still resting. If they can’t bear to be in a room away from you, try putting them on the sofa, the floor, the hallway, but in a place where they can still see you. I’ve even pulled a large chair away from the wall and put Legos behind it for a child to have a play place.
2. If they can’t keep from talking to you, try giving them something to listen to with earbuds. Offering my ipod, or a small DVD player helps those who can not occupy themselves for an hour.
3. When they talk to you, answer in a whisper with as few words as possible, reassure them with touch, remind them it is Quiet Hour.
4. Try 10 minutes and slowly lengthen Quiet Hour as their ability to tolerate it increases.
These days I have a simple routine with my three youngest. In the early afternoon (no later than 2:00, so we’ll be done before the school kids arrive home) we gather on the sofa with our stack of books. I read the Bible to them, then our nature study book, followed by our current read aloud – Farmer Boy.
Then Eby heads to the room he shares with Little Man, where he draws and plays quietly. Sunshine goes to her room to read, and Little Man goes to the living room sofa with a stack of books, and lately, a bin of Legos on the coffee table. He is anxious about being away from me right now, but from the sofa he can hear me in the kitchen/family room, and often see me as well.
Have a great Friday, friends. The sun is just coming up at my house and children will be awake soon; early morning is the ultimate quiet time for me.
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