One of the greatest benefits of being a stay at home parent is being able to spend so much time with your children. However, anyone who has undertaken the role of full time parent will know that some days there is just too much time. The days can feel very long.
Most toddlers don’t sleep in and so from an early start until bedtime, you’re looking at a full 12 hrs, if not more to fill. When they were smaller, I remember thinking how little usable time there was in the day. Between mealtimes and naps, there was barely a few hours for play or outings.
Now the naps have gone. Twelve months later, I still miss them and relish the odd occasion when I’ve pushed them to exhaustion and I can allow them to nap without the danger of a bedtime crisis. Although that precious me time is a distant memory, I do like that we are less restricted and can get out more.
With many toddler groups and activities taking place in the morning, most afternoons we are home. Some days they’ll play happily for a while before fighting over who gets to pour the fake tea at their picnic. Other days, I’ll pull out some Pinterest inspired craft or baking activity. These can be hit and miss. One may be more interested than the other and it’ll likely fill less than 20 minutes.
Time to Stop
By mid afternoon, we’re all starting to get a bit cranky and needing some space and so 3pm is quiet time. Mummy grabs a cup of tea and my iPad to binge watch a few of my favourite youtubers. The girls get a snack and drink and can either sit with me or go find something to do quietly.
They can actually read 3pm on the clock and so will remind me. Of course, I could use the time to do something more productive but I make no apologies for taking 20-30 minutes each day to waste on myself. I also really believe this time helps the girls learn how to entertain themselves independently.
Getting them to leave me alone for this time didn’t happen overnight. It took some training. I try and suggest a few ideas of things they could do or play. The repetition of our routine also helps. They know it’s coming so often we’ll make sure we play a game or read a story just before and then afterwards too.
As they get older, I’m sure they’ll be able to play by themselves or together for longer. For now, I’m grateful for my short break in the middle of the afternoon. It gives me that little refresh and allows me to face the last part of the day without crawling towards bedtime.
Do you have quiet time with your preschool children? What do they do and what do you do?