How To Gently Encourage Your Kids To Give You Space

May 10, 2024

If you are reading this, chances are you are craving a little bit of that elusive “me time,” right?  When you become a parent, specifically when you become a mom (because kids love bugging moms), you just accept the fact that you are not going to get nearly as much free time as you would like. But that is the keyword here: “nearly.” Even as a parent, you still need to have free time. It would be great to just soak inside a hot tub for a while and just forget about every care in the world, right?

While sure, by all means, you love your kid dearly, every now and then, you need a moment to yourself—whether it is to sip a hot coffee while it is still hot, catch up on a chapter of that book gathering dust on the nightstand, or simply to hear our own thoughts. Even when it comes to just being in the bathroom, you deserve a second to yourself rather than having your kid call out “mom” or “dad” on the other side of the bathroom door. 

Balancing your needs with the demands of energetic little ones can be a juggling act it sounds a tad impossible, right? So, how do you find that balance? Well, it is definitely possible, but maybe not the most easy. So, with that said, here is what you can do to encourage your kids to give you a bit of breathing room so you can recharge and be the amazing parent you are.

Introduce “Me Time” Into Your Routine

Kids thrive on routine because it gives them a sense of security and predictability. Plus, you are going to need one too for your day, so it is a smart idea to go ahead and start establishing a clear daily routine that includes independent playtime, which can be a game changer. How old is your kid, this is going to make the routine itself vary too. 

For example, if your kid doe not go to school yet, such as a toddler or pre-school age, then you might want to create quiet time-which is going to be “Me Time” for you. So this gives them to the chance to quietly do activities- emphasis on quietly, such as playing with puzzles or reading. As for you, well, it s your “me time,” so maybe you can play some solitaire on your laptop, or you could even read; nap time could be an option if your kid is going to nap, too. 

Just spend your “me time” in your home just doing something you want. But what about your kid? Well, it is good there os time for them to do just their own thing too. This not only fosters their independence but also gives them a predictable window each day to enjoy some peace.

Make It Fun

So this goes back to what was being said above time for you, time for your kid. If you frame solo play as something exciting or special, your kids are more likely to look forward to it. Set up a “treasure chest” of toys that only comes out during specific times, like when you need a half-hour to decompress. 

This makes the time special for them and beneficial for you. Plus, the novelty of these toys will keep them engaged longer. But this might only work for toddlers, so you really need to keep that in mind, too. 

Use A Timer

So, you really need to keep in mind that young children don’t have a strong grasp of time, so telling them you need 20 minutes is not going to be meaningful. For a toddler, 20 minutes might be only 3 minutes for them. However, setting a timer that they can see can help bridge this gap. They might not be at the point where they can read clocks or timers (unless it is digital), but they will at least understand that they can or ca not do something as long as the timer does not go off. 

So, all you have to do is explain that when the timer goes off, you’ll be done with your break and ready to play or help them with their activities. This gives them a visual cue to associate with waiting and helps them understand that your alone time has a clear endpoint.

Just Involve Them In The Process

Kids are more likely to respect your need for “me time” if they understand it. It might take a lot of explaining, but eventually, they will understand. So, with that said, you can explain to them that just like they need time to play and do things they enjoy, adults need time to do things that make them happy and relaxed. 

They are at that age where they need to learn empathy anyway, so just go ahead and encourage empathy by asking them how they feel when they’re doing something they enjoy—then explain that your quiet time does the same for you.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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