In our houseful of young kids there’s no shortage of hugs to give, creations to see, and stories to hear. Yet, along with the warm fuzzy aspects of parenting comes the scraped knees, the messes to clean, and the daily squabbles.
While this is commonplace amongst parents of young children, the constant nature of being talked at, cried at, chased, and even run from can make the most energetic adult weary.
At the end of the day my husband and I will often look at each other at comment about the daily whirlwind. We’ll laugh because we love our crazy kids and crazy days.
Some days are exhausting. Some days are exhilarating. All days are special.
Yet, our love for the craziness of life with little ones has increased our appreciation of quiet. We cherish the quiet times and have a found a few, practical, ways to find quiet time as parents of young children.
How to Find Quiet Time as a Parent
Use What You Have
Shortly after our fifth baby was born, I found myself craving quiet time. I was looking for a block of time (or two) throughout the day to regroup and refocus; a chance to let my mind wander or focus on a task of my choosing instead of pressing needs. Growing out of this longing, I’ve realized there were quiet times throughout my day just waiting to be grasped.
Here are a few ways to find usable quiet times already in your day.
Try mapping out your day. Using an hourly planner, jot down everything a typical day entails. This includes when you wake up, when your children wake up, along with meals, naps, and household chores.
Next, look for patterns across your week. Are there consistent times that you have before your kids are awake? Do you use your baby’s naptimes in a certain way each day?
Setting your alarm a few minutes earlier may help you gain a block of consistent quiet time before your little ones wake up for the day. Making sure you’re dressed and ready to begin the day could free up a chance to complete some chores during your baby’s morning nap. Working to build in the structure of an afternoon nap for all of your children can give you a long stretch of daily quiet time.
While there’s nothing earth-shattering about any of these ideas, I’ve realized by rearranging how I use small blocks of time throughout our day helps me to gain times of quiet to refresh and regroup.
Create Quiet Times
While we do what we can to capitalize on quiet times we already have, there are times exhaustion starts to weigh us down. This happens to everyone; those are the times we create some quiet times to take a breather.
Perhaps the least-invasive way for parents to create a some quiet time is to share parenting duties.
When my husband or I find ourselves needing a breather, we schedule in special times with the kids. Going on a hike, taking a swim, or walking to a neighbor’s house are family favorites that can be done with only one adult. This allows the other adult to take a breather or focus on a task of his/her choosing.
If you’re needing a chunk of time to regroup, perhaps you’ll want to schedule time away. Consider a babysitting swap with close friends for an afternoon to recoup. Similarly, having your child’s friend over for a playdate can actually give you a moment to relax as you watch the kids playing together.
Build Strong Bonds
Once you’ve determined how quiet times for parents fit with your family’s schedule, consider blocking off some of those to strengthen bonds with your spouse.
The most frequent way we use quiet times to strengthen our marriage is by scheduling weekly date nights in. We’ll also set aside time each week to plan our upcoming days and make sure we’re on the same page about household tasks. Even having a conversation each evening about our days is enough to help us feel more connected and strengthen our relationship.
By finding, and using, quiet times already in your day or creating new quiet times, you’ll feel prepared to be at your best throughout the potentially overwhelming task of parenting.