Time Out

We’ve been rushing around the past few days. Yesterday, we visited with two moms groups, went to the Y and dropped the baby in the Kids’ Zone, and then scurried to meet a visiting cousin for dinner, not getting home until way past bedtime (for all of us). No wonder we had a crankypants on our hands before the food arrived. And the baby wasn’t happy, either! (Come on, how could I resist.)

Which got me to thinking about downtime. I like activities and people, but Tim prefers a little more quiet time. For my baby who’s already seen her share of mommy and me yoga-music-stories-insert-anything-else-here classes, who knows what I’ll have scheduled for her in the coming years. So, I started gathering wisdom from ye olde internet on how to stay balanced between activities and downtime. Here’s a sampling of the advice I found.

1.      Different kids have different needs. Seems obvious, but I didn’t think about this. Paying attention to temperament and whether it seems your kid is happy sitting outside observing the world or needs more stimulation can help you find the right mix.

2.      Expose, then let your kid lead. Your kid will never know she’s destined for whirly ball greatness until she tries it. Provide those nurturing environments to try different activities, then watch for what they’re interested in pursuing.

3.      Set the stage for downtime. Make sure enough quiet time activities are on hand by gathering books from the library or stocking up on craft supplies. Set aside a space in the home (if possible) and time in the day for quiet activities. I also found this mom’s account of how their family does quiet time helpful.

Of course, as a clinical psychologist in this article points out, “there is a line between a highly enriched, interesting, growth-promoting childhood and an overscheduled childhood. And nobody knows where that line is.”

I’m curious about what you’re doing. How much do you schedule for your child? How much is too much –and how do you know? Help this mama out!

 

Andrea Lee is a mom who’s winging it, just like everyone else. 

Tags: This Week in Moms, the y, YMCA, child, Children, youth, development, engagement, Relaxation, quiet, downtime, parenting, advice

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