I can't remember exactly when we started doing this but our family takes downtime pretty seriously.
It has been our way for all of us to take a break from... well... all of us when we have a full day together. Usually, after lunch or after coming home from a day of outing, I call a household wide downtime. First Satchi was weary of the idea but after incorporating it almost every day throughout the very busy summer schedule, it has really become a part of our rhythm.
It happens sometime between 1-4pm depending on the day's schedule. Usually, Satchi goes to kid's room and listens to her favorite audio stories for about 30 minutes on her bunk bed then she sets a timer for another 30 minutes to either just continue resting on her bunk bed (but no audio story) or do an activity that fills her soul. Sometimes she writes a letter at her desk, reads her Tintin books or chooses to take her shower. I ask her whatever she chooses to do... do something that is for her heart and make sure that it is an activity that she can do on her own. The mood was harder to navigate afterward when she was just listening to the audio story during her downtime. When the stories ended after 30 minutes, she would act more clingy and whiny... (kind of the opposite of what I had hoped for) So we established a clear rule that she needs to do something that is away from her audio story with her choice.
Coco sometimes listens to the audio story with her sister. But I am noticing more and more that she enjoys tinkering with her drawings or making a collage with whatever I curate on my analog table. She loves the process so much that I have given up to be protective of my special goodies... and I just let her use it without being too precious. She loves all the little analogue trinkets I have collected over time. Stamps, stickers, special papers... all of it. As long as she doesn't need a major hands-on support from me during the time, I try to be open to what she chooses to do.
What do I do during MY downtime while girls do their own things? Sometimes I literally shut down. Since I get up early to work when the house is quiet, I can easily use my power nap around 2pm... Even though I might not feel tired, I try to lay down and close my eyes and feel surprised by how much I need the 10 minutes of centering. Sometimes I read books and that has been inspiring and productive. Whatever I do, I try to give myself some space from everyone.
Afterward, we all come out of our own downtime from different corners of our house... excited and ready for the 2nd part of the afternoon.
Do you take regular downtime?