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Are you and your children constantly busy and on the go, with little or no downtime? The importance of being mindful and taking time out has never been more important.

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It´s so easy to rush around from one thing to another, with barely a breath drawn between them. Before you know it, it´s the end of the day and neither you nor your children have has any down time or peace at all. Children lead busy lives – school clubs, play-dates, parties – not to mention time on mobile devices and tablets – and so do we as adults. Yet despite our rush, rush, rush lifestyle – the need for calm, quiet downtime cannot be underestimated.

All the latest scientific research on the brain stresses the importance of downtime. Just taking a break, having a coffee on the balcony, being still all help to improve our creativity, our productivity, our ability to make decisions, enable us to think clearly and problem solve.

There are thee main parts to this:

  1. Sleep
  2. Holidays or a change of scene.
  3. Planned quiet and calm time.


  1. Children need a great deal of sleep – they also need to be off their mobile devices before they go to sleep.
  2. Talk with them about it and make sure they are getting their 8 -10 hours of sleep each night and at least 30 minutes (preferably more) of no mobiles before they go to bed.

Holiday / Exercise / Change of Scene

  1. “Switching off” can be done in many ways – it´just important to do it.
  2. Stopping off for a drink or an ice-cream, going for a walk, a weekend away – anything that.changes and breaks away from your day to day routine.
  3. Exercise isn´t just good for our physical fitness, it´s great for getting a good night´s sleep and for our mental health too.
  4. While we exercise, our minds “switch off” and focus on our bodies and what we are doing.
  5. Not all children like sports – research together the different types of activities they can do – even a “video” of something they can do at home, like the Just Dance routines on YouTube.

planned quiet time

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous” – Confucius

  • No play dates, no homework, no organized activities.
  • Time to play, read, talk and be together.
  • Time to talk about the day, reflect on what you have learned.

How to schedule it in

  1. Talk to the children and ask them how busy they think they are – do they feel over scheduled?
  2. Have a family planner so everyone know what is happening when and schedule downtime in.
  3. Downtime can be different for each member of the family – define what it means to each of you and respect each other´s differences.
  4. For adults, taking regular breaks during the day to have a stretch, sit in the fresh air, take a short walk round the block, have a cup of tea or coffee – all count as downtime.
  5. Do not cancel or schedule in other things – make it protected time.

What do you and your family do to ensure you have effective downtime? Leave a comment below and let me know.