How Mother and father Can Get Alone Time
If you ask for time to yourself in a reactionary way, Dr. Talib, can you state exactly what you are stressed about – a change at work or feeling overwhelmed by chores at home – and be aware that it will take time to clear your head. There is also a difference between being alone and loneliness, she said, and these nuances are worth talking to kids about.
2. Time for yourself should be part of your family’s routine. Do you remember those godforsaken color-coded charts from the early Covid days? All family dinners? “We were talking about family routines” when the pandemic started, said Dr. Talib. “Why didn’t we talk about creating a routine of solitary time?” Your kids, who are only 3 and 5 years old, know that she goes outside every day “to stare at a tree in the back yard”. She meditates and they know that they must not interrupt “tree time” – and that it does not last very long.
Lizzie Assa, the founder of The Workspace for Children, a website and Instagram account that helps parents teach their children to play independently, saw their three children, who are now 14, 11 and 8 years old , have “quiet time” every day since they were toddlers. She said it was work, but the wages are worth it. “Children learn that they need time off and alone time,” says Ms. Assa, a neighbor of mine in Maplewood, NJ saying, ‘You have to get away from us,’ “she said. “They say: ‘I’m going to my room.'”
If introducing a daily rest period into your home feels like a non-starter, there are other ways to try other ways to build downtime into your kids’ schedules. Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a frequent contributor to the Times and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the medical school at George Washington University, suggested that I simply ask my daughter what she needs to self-care. You can do this with an 11 year old, Dr. Lakshmin: “Ask, ‘What do you think you need? Would you like to read a book? To take a bath?’ You can also help them brainstorm. “
3. It’s okay if your children are upset. If you don’t want to spend every waking hour with your children, “it is developmentally appropriate for them to be offended,” reminded me. Lakshmin. “This is normal. Your job as parents is to convey to them that it is okay to be sad.” She went further and said that sitting with this discomfort teaches children to take care of themselves even if it makes someone else temporarily unhappy.
Dr. Damour put it even more clearly: “People deserve privacy, period.” She also reminded me that I’m going full throttle into my teenage years when my daughter is likely to become “allergic” to me. I might as well appreciate that she wants to stay with me while I can.