When my little one transitioned away from her nice big nap in the afternoon, I was sincerely devastated. I needed that time to get myself together. I simply couldn't be "on" the whole day long. I'll be honest - I lamented the loss of this nap for a long time but then I discovered "quiet time."
Why Quiet Time?
There is a reason many Europeans have a siesta at mid-day and it's not only to do with the heat. European culture understands that it is impossible to truly enjoy our time together in the afternoon and evenings without a moment of rest and reflection right after lunch. After a busy morning, we need a break from each other and even from ourselves.
Preschoolers are especially in need of this time since their little minds are learning at a break neck speed. Not only are they reaching new linguistic and cognitive milestones, preschoolers are learning about social norms and balancing the emotions associated with the development of new relationships and their growing sense of independence. It's exhausting!
And - while this may not be news to you - you need quiet time too! And I don't just mean checking out on pinterest for half an hour. I mean an honest to goodness moment of peace and relaxation before you start to rev up for the afternoon and evening.
From Quiet Time to Quality Quiet Time!
So here's an idea! Instead of throwing on the collective screens around your home to get a moment of peace - why not spend some quality time together - quietly listening to music? "Together" can mean cuddled on the couch but it can also mean just being in proximity to one another journaling, working on a puzzle, or simply being.
Music offers an excellent opportunity to calm both of you down as morning transitions to afternoon. In fact, a recent article indicates that in the digital age, young kids need classical music more than ever. The author claims that, "Much like reading aloud to a child, calm classical compositions engage a child in a form of entertainment that’s low-stimulus and substantive."
But - from experience - I need to tell you that not just any classical music will do! Throw on the William Tell Overture and I can assure you that the mood will be anything but calm and quiet in your home. (Stay tuned for more on using classical music to enliven the spirit in an upcoming post). However, you don't have to throw on a lullaby either. Sometimes a piece that simply transports you to another world is quite enough to bring about a moment of peace.
So! To transport you to another world, here is Ravel's Mother Goose Suite (Ma mere l'Oye). It includes five children's pieces inspired by the following five fairy tales.
You might even consider having a couple of the corresponding fairy tale picture books at hand while you listen! Another nice quiet activity is to watch the video and take note of the different instruments being played but my favourite is simply sitting down and letting yourself drift into the world of Mother Goose or "Ma mere l'Oye." Happy ROAMing!