She ended up giving me a great piece of advice and something to try with the kiddos.
So, her advice was to start with 10 minutes (or whatever minute increments work for you. We started with 15 minutes) a day. Explain to the kiddos that for the certain amount of minutes they are to sit quietly and sit still with a book (or notepad) for that length of time. Also explain that if they start being super squirmy or start talking then they will have another 10 minutes without a book. Explain to them they have a choice. Clearly state what will happen with either choice they make and follow through. Gradually increase the time over a week, two weeks, month etc until they are able to sit quietly with a book or notebook and pen/pencil/crayons for an hour.
So, last night I asked Afton and Caleb to pick up the toys they had been using, choose two books they would like to read and go sit on the couch. I explained the above and what I expected from them and asked if they understood. I set the timer and continued making dinner.
Afton did extremely well and read the whole time and even a little beyond the timer. Caleb did well also, however he wanted to get up after he was done reading his story. I had to explain that he was to sit there without getting up, however he could re-read his story. It took him a few tries, but he did great.
I have to tell you it was so nice to be able to have a 15 minute block of peace and quiet while making dinner! Usually I'm listening to them laugh, yell, play, be loud, run, jump and play with noisy toys. This was a very welcome break!
So, I think we're gonna try this again tomorrow. Perhaps we'll do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon and keep on the "schedule" for a week or two.
This is also great training for being in quiet settings and being able to handle themselves without getting anxious, jittery and wiggly.
Don't get me wrong...I have no problem with kids running, jumping and being active. I know my kids need that! However, there is also nothing wrong with teaching and training them to be calm and quiet when it's appropriate or when they've been asked to. Church being the perfect example.
So, I'm excited to see how it goes tomorrow because we have other things we're gonna need to be starting on for our routine. Especially when we start schooling. This quiet time will be very useful for both the kids and mama!