I have never been someone who enjoys being around a lot of noise and commotion. This includes happy noises at parties or family gatherings (which go on for hours) and also noise resulting from drama or chaos. I have learned to step away during these times for a calming moment; to find a space where I can breathe deeply and relax. I was reminded over the summer that children also need a quiet space and will seek one out as necessary. They may find a quiet toy and crawl under an end table, onto the couch or go off to another room on their own. Conversely they may become agitated and upset because their current situation becomes too much for them to handle and they are unable to explain or give voice to the cause of their upset.
My nephew (we’ll call him Sam) is the apple of everyone’s eye. When Sam is around all eyes and attention is focused on him. The adults outnumber Sam about 8:1 and when he does something everyone is there to respond and exclaim “oh Sam, great job!” “Did you show Grampy?” “Grampy did you see what Sam made?” “Great job Sam” says Grampy and so on through all the adults as they come and go. In our desire to build him up we do not realize we are also distracting and interrupting Sam’s play and creating a lot of noise. How exhausting and frustrating that must be for Sam when all he wants to do is build his tower. A little praise is a wonderful way to build up a child’s self-esteem and to encourage him/her to step out and try new things. Too much can become overwhelming.
Our children require opportunities for quiet moments and to create quiet spaces; support for their desire to breathe deeply and enjoy their alone time to refresh their minds, bodies and souls. They need time to become comfortable with and within themselves before engaging and interacting again. Creating a space does not need to be complicated your child may find their space on their own, or perhaps you can create one together.
When I am at my parent’s cottage, if I need some time away from the hustle and bustle of the day, I go to my trailer where I am able to be on my own. Sam shares this need and most days when I slip away I can count on hearing a little knock on my door (15 to 20 minutes later) followed by “it’s me, I come in?” Sam does not want much from me and will usually ask to play with my little trucks, lie on my bed with a book or he may simply play quietly. Occasionally we play together or paint side by side exchanging a few words here and there but mostly enjoying the intimacy and quiet of the moment. Then Sam is ready to head back and join in our boisterous families activities and I usually am too.
Creating a Quiet Space for Children – Katherine Lockett
Creating a Place for Peace: The Quiet Corner – Anna Reyner