The Importance of Daily Quiet Time

 The Institute for Families and Nannies

The Institute for Families and Nannies

The upcoming holiday months can be a whirlwind. Between school events and holiday parties, families visiting and shopping for gifts, it’s no wonder everyone’s a bit worn out come January.

You may not be able to completely quell the holiday fuss, but a good way to help kids remain calm through it all is to build in a little quiet time each day. Not only does daily quiet time give parents and Nannies a much-needed breather, but it gives kids time to be self sufficient, and to develop their own skills and thoughts without worrying what anyone else is thinking.

So how does one go about incorporating this quiet time?

Naturally, if you begin a daily quiet time when kids are very young, it will become an expected part of their daily life.

For small children who are still napping, a good way to begin is to let them take a stuffed animal or board book to bed with them. If they don’t fall asleep, they may play with their toys in lieu of napping. When they wake up, they’ll get used to playing independently for a few minutes before calling out for attention.

For older children, let them know that you’re going to start incorporating a quiet time into each day to help everyone in the family relax. Begin with 15-30 minutes, and work your way up to an hour or more over time. Before quiet time, help your child select a few toys or books they would like to play with, and then set a timer so they know when quiet time will be over.

Three tips for a successful quiet time:

  1. Be consistent. If quiet time becomes a routine, there will be no question asked when the daily time comes. To make sure it sticks, try to have quiet time at the same time each day on every day that you’re home.
  2. Rotate activities. Help children choose what toys and books they want to play with during quiet time, and if siblings want to play with the same toys, make sure they rotate each day. Older children will know they are responsible for choosing something to entertain themselves, and there will be no excuses if they become bored.
  3. Be patient. Kids may take some time getting used to having a daily quiet time, and may come out of their room multiple times at first. Take the time to patiently walk them back to their room each time, and remind them that they need to stay there for the rest of quiet time. Eventually, they’ll realize that this is a daily activity that’s here to stay.

How do you incorporate daily quiet time in your household? Please share with us in the comments.

Photo Credit: Jessica Lucia/flickr

 

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Let’s face it…caring for children is a wonderful occupation, but it can be daunting at times. Between toddler tantrums, financial worries and communicating about difficult situations with your employer, it’s no wonder that many Nannies feel overwhelmed and burned out—especially around the holidays.

This Thanksgiving, focus on what you love about your job and what aspects of it make you grateful. And if you still feel stressed, consider these seven tips to help you lower stress levels and feel happier on the job.

  1. Take care of yourself. Nannies are constantly thinking of other people, and making sure their needs are being met. But what about your needs? Eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, sleep and water is important to ensure you have the energy for your job, but it’s also vital to ensure you remain healthy both physically and emotionally.
  1. Focus on one task at a time. When people multitask, it may appear that they’re getting many things done at once, but in reality, those things may not be getting done well or completely. By focusing solely on one task at a time, you’ll feel more present, less scattered, and you’ll get a sense of accomplishment that you’ve done your best. This may not always be possible when you’re with two kids who need different things at the same time, but it’s a good goal to strive for.
  1. Connect with other Nannies. Talking with people who are going through the same situations that you are can be incredibly cathartic. If you’ve never attended one of Chirp’s workshops for Nannies, why not start by coming to the holiday party for Nannies on Sunday, December 10th? It will be a great way for Nannies to connect with each other and celebrate the holiday season. 
  1. Leave work at work. Many people are guilty of taking work home with them, even Nannies. You may not actually take the kids home with you, but stressing about things that happened at work during your off hours can make it feel like you’re working 24 hours a day. When you step out of your employer’s door, take a deep breath, and resolve not to think about work until you step back through the door again tomorrow.
  1. Communicate with your employer. Keeping one’s feelings bottled up can be detrimental in many relationships, and the Nanny/Parent relationship is no exception. If you feel like you’re working too many hours because the parents constantly get home late, are worried to ask for a day off, or are stressed about any aspect of your job that could potentially be resolved through a conversation, make it a point to get that conversation started as soon as possible.
  1. Have a financial cushion. Many Nannies feel stressed about their finances because they are living paycheck to paycheck. By taking the time to create a budget, live within your means and begin saving for a rainy day and retirement, you’ll fee more in control of your life and better able to handle stressful situations as they arise. Watch this space for more information about Financial Planning for Nannies workshops coming next year.
  1. Focus on the things you love about your job. When everything seems to be going wrong at once, it’s easy to focus only on the negative. But it’s during times like those that it’s important to focus on the things you love about your job and the reasons why you became a Nanny in the first place. By remembering the positive, it becomes much easier to remember that the negative is only temporary.

Photo credit: Travis Swan/flickr

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