There are so many potential blessings as we find ourselves isolated in our homes with our families. This quarantine period could be a time for families to come together, to love each other more, to settle differences, and to unite.
Of course, it could also be a time when people butt heads and get on each other’s nerves.
I believe it is crucial to remember that people tend to do best with balance. Time together is a very good thing, especially when we use it wisely. But people also need time apart.
If you find that family members are getting easily offended and people are quarreling when they are constantly together, they may need a bit more time away from the others.
Being Alone Is a Need, Too, Even During a Quarantine
Everyone needs a bit of time away from other people to rest, recharge, and unplug for a bit. Time alone helps us to breathe emotionally and spiritually.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.Matt. 6:6
Even babies and young children can use time to play by themselves in a Pack-n-Play or sit by themselves with toys or books. Of course, you will be monitoring them. You can even be within eyesight. And they don’t need time alone all day long. But 15-30 minutes to learn to entertain themselves, play, explore (in a confined environment) can be a good thing.
Older kids may not be excited about having some time alone to pray, write, practice an instrument, or play on the swing set in the backyard. But as they develop the habit, they will thank you in the future!
Adults need time alone, too. I didn’t know that until about 15 years into my marriage, but now I realize how crucial this is! We need time to pray privately. To read the Bible on our own. To think. To read. To draw. To write. To exercise. To de-stress. To disconnect from others and work on hobbies or practice skills.
It’s important to be aware that people of different personalities need different amounts of time alone.
It’s easy to assume that everyone else needs exactly what I want for myself. But this is not the case!
- Extroverts need the least time alone. They tend to feel energized by being around other people. Being alone too much can make them feel depressed, discouraged, lonely, and isolated. But even extroverts can eventually need a break.
- Introverts need the most time alone. They tend to feel energized by getting away from other people and having time to themselves to do things they enjoy. Being with other people too much can make them feel overwhelmed, smothered, suffocated, unable to think, or even cause them to shut down. Even most introverts need some time with people. The key is finding the best balance.
14 Tips for Getting Alone Time During Quarantine
- Plan for everyone to have some time alone in the daily schedule, including yourself (even if you have the kids watch a great video for 30 minutes). This means you have some kind of schedule, whether it is loose or rigid. Most kids seem to do best with a bit of structure. And moms often do, too! Play with it and see what works best for your family.
- Don’t resent your husband for wanting a bit of time to himself, think of it as a gift you can give him if he really needs time to regroup. Try to understand his needs and personality type, as well as the stress he may be under. Seek to be his biggest supporter, friend, and ally now and all the time.
- Get up a bit earlier if it is really hard to get time for yourself. Use some of that precious early morning time to spend with God while you have breakfast. If you have little ones, you may be able to put them to bed early and and get some time for yourself then.
- Allow your older children or teens to have discretionary time for themselves. They may want to spend some time in their rooms alone. They need time to connect with friends by text or FaceTime, too. And you can plan some family time to enjoy together each day, as well, for balance.
- Swap off childcare duty throughout the day if you and your husband are on pretty good terms and give each other a break. Or if you have older children, you may be able to put them in charge for 30 minutes to an hour each day with the younger ones.
- Let the baby sit in his highchair, his bouncy swing (in the doorway) or play in his Pack-n-Play while you make supper or fold clothes.
- Rotate toys to keep them fresh. Have a different toy box for every other day. Or have a box of morning toys and a box of afternoon toys. See what most captures your particular child’s attention.
- Break out fun solo activities like Play Dough, crayons, stickers, or markers and let them work by themselves for a while while you work from home or cook or do chores.
- Maximize nap time. If your children still nap, take advantage of that time to get some much-needed time for yourself to do something kind and encouraging for yourself or to nourish your soul.
- Delegate the chores. Even young children can help with chores. This gives the kids important lessons in responsibility and something to do. And it can help, eventually, to free up your time. You may certainly respectfully ask your husband for help. But be sure to do it in a friendly, positive, polite way. We all appreciate that kind of approach most!
- Have alone time together. If you can’t get away from your children, you may be able to have silent reading time for 30-45 minutes together in the same room. Or you could have reading for one period during the day and then journalling for another 30 minutes later in the day while the younger ones color or work on an art project.
- Provide each child with his/her own space, if possible. If children share a room, perhaps they can at least have a “wall” made with dressers, a curtain that can divide the room, a tent on their bed, or a special corner of the house where each one can claim a bit of space for himself/herself.
- Encourage each family member to respectfully communicate his/her needs. Make sure everyone knows that it is okay to politely ask for some space. And it should be okay to ask for time together, too. We are all navigating a very stressful time together and each person’s needs may vary depending on the day. Sometimes we can put one person’s needs first, other times we will need to give priority to someone else.
- Teach your kids how to FaceTime or Zoom with their grandparents! Then they will feel more loved and they’ll make their grandparents’ day, too. (Thanks to my niece for that idea!)
We will have the opportunity to extend a lot of grace to one another in the coming weeks and months.
Try to be positive when talking about time alone with your kids. Communicate that this time is not a punishment, it is a blessing and a great way to take good care of ourselves. Talk about the benefits of doing things together as a family and about the benefits of having some time to oneself.
What ideas are working for you and your family to help everyone get the right balance of alone and together time? We’d love to hear about it!
The ABC’s of Salvation
- A = Admit you are a sinner and you can’t be perfect and holy enough in God’s eyes to be right with Him on your own. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:23
- B = Believe that Jesus died on your behalf to pay the price for your sin and to give you a way to be right with God – to be forgiven. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Rom. 6:23
- C = Confess that Jesus is your Lord – this means, Jesus is now your Master and you live your life for Him and His glory rather than for yourself. You say it out loud to others and you live it from now on. “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” Rom. 10:9-10
If you have questions about how you can make Jesus your Savior and Lord, please comment!