Are your little ones on the go 24/7? While children are famous for their energy, they aren’t immune to burnout. As a parent, you need to ensure they aren’t pushing themselves too hard.
How can you get your tykes to slow down? Here are eight ways to encourage your kids to take a break and have some quiet time.
1. Support Their Passions
If your kiddo didn’t have school and soccer practice, what would they do all day? If you want your child to embrace quiet activities, you need to encourage those that inspire their passions.
You don’t necessarily need much money to do so. Maybe you can’t afford a top-of-the-line home telescope, but you can inspire young astronomers with DIY star kits that let them recreate the constellations on their bedroom ceiling.
Whatever their passion, ensure it’s something they naturally gravitate toward to relax. Kids who do too much outside of school can start to struggle academically, but eliminating the stress of having to do a beloved activity at a prescribed time keeps it enjoyable and recreational.
2. Start When They Are Young
If you wait until they reach school age to implement quiet playtime, your kids may grow to associate going to their room with punishment. Better yet, when you need to give your kids a time-out, choose a different location like the kitchen table to avoid creating negative bedroom associations—or letting them play games when they should be reflecting on their behavior.
When your kids outgrow naps, continue to put them down in the afternoon, but explain that they don’t have to sleep. Many children will come to welcome time to read or draw if it isn’t associated with punishment.
3. Share the Love of Reading
How can you encourage your child to read more? Why not plan a trip to your local library—many now offer curbside pickup if you don’t feel safe in public spaces while COVID-19 still threatens.
Let your child participate in the book selection process. They’re much more likely to dig into topics that grab their interest, even if you find underwear-clad superheroes a bit unusual.
4. Provide Art Supplies
Your kiddo might take to artistic pursuits like a duck if given the right supplies. Fortunately, you can snag markers, colored pencils, and crayons at your local dollar store, making this idea inexpensive downtime fun.
As your children get older, encourage them with small DIY projects. You can help them build manual dexterity by giving them a birdhouse kit for their birthday or a holiday. Maybe you love the “designer” apron they make you for Mother’s Day so much, you help them open up a shop selling them on Etsy.
5. Try Kiddie Yoga
Yoga is for people of all ages, and those who start young will find it easier to transform into a pretzel as adults. Far from a groovy party trip, a regular yoga practice can ease the agony of many people with chronic pain.
When you begin, use terminology that your children will understand—like rounding their spine like a scared Halloween kitty. Keep it playful and fun, and consider letting your kiddos participate in your practice when you do so from home.
6. Introduce Meditation
Children can meditate, and some schools have implemented the practice—and reaped considerable rewards in improved student behavior. Like any quiet activity, you want to introduce it independent of punishment so that your child grows to love it.
One idea is to have your child meditate for one minute for each year of their age. Children tend to imitate what their grownups do more than what they say, so make sure you implement a daily mindfulness practice, too.
7. Instill a Love of Nature
There’s something magical about venturing far enough into the forest that you can no longer hear traffic and other people. Instilling a love of nature in your children helps them both embrace quiet time and become better environmental stewards as adults.
Teach your child to appreciate the natural world by taking them to the park or your local nature center from a young age. Spend time identifying the various flora and fauna—you can find apps that help you put a name to that shrub. Even if you dwell in an urban apartment, create a tiny nature retreat on your porch or balcony with container plants.
8. Consider Adopting a Pet
If you want a nearly surefire way to get your kids to take a break and have some quiet time, consider adopting a pet. You don’t necessarily have to get a dog if your lease prohibits one—many children derive as much joy from a hamster or lizard, which poses fewer landlord conflicts.
If you decide to add a barking or purring pal to your tribe, please consider adoption instead of going to a breeder. While purebred dogs can help perform specific duties or in families that need a hypoallergenic pet, countless animals die needlessly in shelters. They often show their gratitude for their rescue by becoming the most loving and loyal companions imaginable.
If your little one is always on the go, it’s fine to admire their energy. However, it’s equally vital to encourage them to take a break and have some quiet time using the eight methods above.