Getting quiet time is not a right of everyone, but it was something that concerned me as I pondered becoming a homeschool parent. I am an introverted person, so although I like being around other people, I get my strength from being alone. With young children that have different personalities and preferences, that is not always easy. I have found it is important that I help my extrovert's quiet time meet her needs and not mine.
An Extrovert's Understanding of Quiet Time
I guess I did not understand what it meant to be an extrovert until my second child tried arguing with me about the need for quiet time every afternoon.
"But if I'm in quiet time," my sweet 6-year-old explained, "then I'll be lonely and that makes me tired."
My entire life I've felt tired being around people. After our co-op, I'd get home between 2:30 and 3:30 and just be exhausted. All day of teaching children, talking to other homeschool parents, and supporting my children in their own classes. I craved quiet! I craved being alone! I craved the feel of no one touching me or hugging me!
After that same day of chaos, people, friends, hugging, talking, and (for my children) learning, my daughter wanted more! She wanted to run around the yard, give me a cuddle, play a game, or find a friend to play with.
Especially as she got older, sending her to her room for an hour kind of felt like a punishment. Especially since she had done all of her classes as expected. Doesn't she get a reward for being done with school? A reward in the form of free time not sitting in a room or a car?
Redefining Quiet Time for an Extroverted Child
Even though I'm drained, since being a mother is never done, sometimes I have to compromise my own "nobody-touch-me-I'm-done" time into something a little more do-able for my daughter. Some activities really depend on the age of your children. Here are some ideas for getting quiet time as an introverted mom, even when you have to parent an extrovert.
Food. The idea of quiet time is always better received when my kids are well fed. We start with a snack.
Audiobooks. I shared in the past that audiobooks, especially the library-issued Play-Aways, work well for my daughter in navigating alone time. When she really doesn't want to be alone, listening to an audiobook as a group can be a recharging time for me. The audio is the only voice and we're relaxing. We can get a puzzle, coloring pages, or even LEGO bricks out so there is something physical for us to do, and I can get a break from disagreements and big action.
Reading Aloud. Some parents cannot find reading aloud relaxing. I love reading aloud and I do enjoy a good story. I can let my mind wander and relax as I read. With a simple book, I can often read aloud for a little while without too much exhaustion. It helps if I can get my daughter to brush my hair. Or, I can give a her a toy to play with and she can stay quiet while I read. As with audiobooks, there are no other voices and contention when there is one voice in a story.
Video Camera. Sometimes, my daughter enjoys making "youtube" videos of a chore or task during quiet time. Honestly, I don't always know what she's making a video of. She tells stories or acts out a story. She's doing it herself, talking, and having herself for company as she re-watches the silly videos she's made.
Something new. It doesn't have to be a new item, but something that is a new idea, a new library book. For young children, this could be a busy box with an activity they can do on their own. Maybe they haven't seen it for a time. For an older child, this could be a craft challenge to make something out of paper, a coloring page, or a magazine.
As my daughter has gotten older, she has learned the everyone recharges in their own ways. Sometimes I can just say "I need to recharge" and she understands completely. She'll go off to listen to a podcast and color, content that I'm not ignoring her.
How do you other introvert moms give your extroverted kids "quiet time" or rest time? I'd love to know!