Is your day a constant whirlwind of activities, responsibilities, and demands? Do you yearn for a bit of peace and quiet during your day? …just a little rest from the ever constant needs of your children and schedule? Have you ever hears of others who’s children nap or have “quiet time” and think “That must be nice, but that’s just not possible in my home.”?
If you can relate, you're not alone. About three months ago, I was so overwhelmed with the demands of being a mama with young children, I knew me and the boys couldn’t continue life this way and something had to change.
I stay at home with my two sons, ages 2 and 4 1/2, and like most toddlers and pre-schoolers they are packed full of energy all day long. They have 2 speeds, fast and really fast. This mama is not packed with that same energy, I don’t know a mama who is; the energy level of young children seems super-human.
For me, the day begins very early and by mid-afternoon I run out of steam and my attitude can go downhill fast. Our days were so out of control I knew I needed to find a way to establish some kind of quiet time/downtime during part of our day—a little peace and quiet to break up the constant action in our lively home.
In Sally Clarkson’s new book The LifeGiving Home she has a chapter on the routines and rituals in our homes. I began to ponder my own daily routines and discovered that once my children’s feet hit the floor in the morning it was non-stop. Thankfully, my youngest son still naps, so he was getting rest and I was getting a bit of a break with only one child awake; but I never took a real break, I was constantly go, go, go. And my oldest son Caleb was following my lead. I was not leading wisely.
The weight of this daily non-stop routine became heavy and too much to handle, for both of us. Being in a constant state of busy is exhausting and draining. I realized that I was not setting a good example for Caleb and I knew a change was necessary.
Us moms have a lot of responsibilities and demands on our time. There are always things that need to be done. It is very easy to constantly be busy, and sadly, a daily routine of downtime or rest is counter cultural and can seem unattainable. I have struggled a great deal with this, but I believe establishing a time of rest in our homes, outside of sleep, is essential to living with more joy and peace. God does not want us to be constantly busy with no breaks or downtime. God and Jesus took time to rest and we should follow their lead. Establishing a daily routine of downtime in our lives is a way we can bless ourselves, bless our children, and glorify God.
This is why I have established a daily routine of downtime in my home. This small break of peace and quiet in our busy daily routine has reduced the craziness in our home, helps keep me centered, and gives me (the tired mama) much needed respite to recharge and be prepared for finishing out the day well. I began experimenting with different strategies for creating this routine of downtime. It is a work in progress, but I have discovered several things so far that are working for me and my oldest boy and I want to share them with you today.
I understand that each child and family is different and the following strategies may or may not work for you and your little ones. I don’t like feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and crazy busy; and I don’t think you do either. This why I strongly encourage you to consider implementing this daily routine into your home if you are not already.
What I have listed below are simply suggestions to encourage and help you establish a routine of downtime in your home or recommit to it. My hope is that you find something useful with this information. No matter how old our children are, I believe they will benefit from us modeling this important daily routine.
Here are strategies I have found useful in establishing a daily routine of healthy downtime in my home. I have provided not only the strategic idea, but practical things we have used within those strategies. As I was writing this post, I also came up with other practical ideas I think are worth trying and included these below as well.
Commit & Be Consistent.
Speak positively about your new routine, prepare everyone for “downtime”, and explain the expectations.
Everyone should have full tummies & empty bladders
Spend quality, intentional time for at least 15 - 20 minutes with your child prior to downtime
Have a Reward for a job well done
Have special age appropriate quiet toys or activities available and used only during downtime
Start small and build up the amount of time if you need to
Be Flexible and Stay Strong
It’s not just about the Kids
Like I said at the beginning of this list, my hope is that these strategies will encourage you to establish or recommit yourself to a daily routine of downtime. These strategies are working for us, but they may or may not work for you and your family. What ever you do, don’t give up! If you need to take a break from establishing your new habit and return later, that is fine. Remember to give yourself and your children grace, but don’t give up completely. Talk to your mom friends and ask if they have a downtime routine and if so, get some tips from them. There are also lots of other people talking about this very topic online, so do some research and see what others suggest.
I am always interested in hearing from you, so please let me know if you find any of these suggestions helpful or if you have other suggestions that are working for you and your family. Also, if you find this post useful, I appreciate the gift of you sharing it with your friends. God Bless you in your new downtime endeavor or recommitment.
Grace to you!
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.