Kids are bundles of non-stop energy. There are so many things we need to teach our kids, that sometimes we forget a really obvious one – how to slow down, sit down and relax. It’s really important, however, that children associate quiet time as something positive and not a punishment for running around too much, or being ‘naughty’.
The Power of Reading
We all know how great reading is for kids. It is quiet time, they develop their language skills and it also makes for great bonding time too. Reading is a useful tool to help children slow down, even if it is only for a few minutes – and the benefits are almost endless.
Not every child needs a daytime nap but they need time to refresh mind and body. This space teaches them to have quiet time when they feel they need to, or at a certain time in the day. IN addition, focus and concentration lessen as children become tired. Using quiet time can bring about a revival in focus and concentration levels. Reading also helps children to understand their own need to have quiet time, and time away from you too. There is nothing wrong with a child enjoying his or her own company with a book of their choice for a few minutes or so.
Often, meltdowns and tantrums happen when a child is over-stimulated. This can be caused by anything from a visitor in the home, to lots of noise, a new baby and so on. Teaching them they have a quiet and safe space can be a useful get out clause when the environment becomes too much for them, and giving a child their own space helps with their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Also, just like we reflect on our day, introducing a quiet reading space also helps a child to think and reflect on what things they have been doing. Being self-aware is a positive behaviour to promote in a child and many parents see a difference in their children quickly once promoting this sort of behaviour.
Creating the perfect quiet reading space
Choosing the right location for a reading nook is important. For younger children, you will want to keep them where you can keep an eye on them but for older children, creating a space where they can have time to themselves without being watched over is important to their development. It might be a quiet corner in a room or maybe the space under the stairs – wherever you choose, make sure you create a space that does promote quiet…and make sure you consider the following features:
- Cosy – kids love being snuggled and cosy. Soft seating like beanbags, floor cushions and warm throws can help children settle in a space.
- Calm – don’t use bright colours or anything that overly stimulates the senses. Think calmness in décor; keep it minimal and clutter-free too.
- Music – calming music and audio books are a great way to encourage children to slow down and unwind a little. There is nothing more soothing than a pleasant voice reading their favourite stories. Why not try audio books on an iPod?
- Lighting – in a darker space, soothing lighting works well. Low-luminosity fairy lights are great. Avoid anything too bright, or flashing and pulsing lights.
- Sensory toys – some kinds of toys make for a great resource for some kids. For example, glow sticks can be perfect for a child as they listen to an audio book as they help to focus the eye on one thing. Other children like to ‘fidget’; a stress ball or squidgy toys are great for hands that need to be busy.
The quiet reading space is a positive concept, and one that should be shared in a positive way. Encourage your child to use and enjoy the space but have some guidelines too, like tidying books and toys away when they are finished. And don’t forget to relax with them too!