I’ve recently implemented a new routine that has changed my life. You uber-mums out there probably already do this, but for anyone with a house full of preschoolers who doesn’t, let me share it with you.
My eldest 2 kids dropped their day sleeps before they turned 2, so by the time my 3rd was born, I had a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old and a baby all running riot in the house. I occasionally tried to send them off to their rooms for some quiet time, but trying to keep them there while breastfeeding or tending to some other carnage was impossible, and I was too exhausted to run around enforcing the rules. I figured I’d missed the boat on the whole “room time” thing, and gave up.
After a particularly intense day of tantrums recently, I had new resolve to carve out a quiet time in the day.
I announced that we were going to have a new activity called “Special Spot”, where everyone would have some time to themselves to recharge their batteries. I bought the kids their very own timers, which they were super excited about (I got this one and this one). They went in different rooms – one in the bedroom and one in the lounge (as they share a bedroom), I set the timers and off we went. The first day I set it for 5 minutes, and they came out about 4 times each to ask when the timer would go off. I added a minute or two each day, and now, 6 weeks after having started, we have made it to a grand total of 45 minutes! Hoorah for that!
What do I do during the 45 minutes?
I’ve been reading about the importance of modelling activities for kids. If kids see adults doing an activity, they are often more motivated to do it. Well I LOVE reading, but have tended to read at night when they’re all in bed. Since implementing Special Spot, I get the chance to sit down and read a book each day. I don’t wipe any benches, clean up any mess or hang any washing. 45 minutes of reading bliss (albeit with around 20 interruptions for kids’ toilet stops or to check on how long till the timer goes off). It serves the double purpose of giving me a chance to do something I love, while modelling a behaviour for them of an activity that I love and hope that they will come to love too.
So if you’ve wondered about implementing something similar, or thought you’d missed the boat, I highly recommend you give it a go. It is truly life changing!