Having a set schedule for naps has always been important to me as a mom. With so many little ones, I needed a break during the day to recharge, catch up on things, and be alone! I’ve always had the girls nap at the same time in the afternoon but when the oldest no longer napped, I knew I had to come up with something so I could still have some quiet time myself.
There are a lot of blog posts and ideas out there around the idea of a quiet time. The most important thing, like getting your kids to nap, is do whatever works for your family. Quiet time isn’t going to look the same for everyone. This is what we do, and if it’s helpful for you great, but if you have a good system already, stick with it!
Here are a few reasons why I value quiet time in our home:
- Our bodies are made for rest. Even though a nap isn’t required anymore, it’s important for them to rest to get through the day.
- Alone time is a good thing. Extroverts might find this hard, but I think it’s important to learn at a young age how to spend some time alone. How to entertain yourself, recharge, imagine, and day dream.
- Spending time apart makes playing with each other fun again. By lunch time, it’s most likely that someone is getting on someone else’s nerves. Spending some time away from each other and alone, makes them excited to play with each other again after quiet time is over.
- Mom needs some time too. What I do during quiet time is different every day, but I use it to do things that I’d prefer to do when the kids aren’t around: blog, work, read, drink tea, etc.
The sacred quiet time in our house is from 1-3 most days. Brinn generally naps two hours and the older two will have quiet time for around an hour and a half. Sometimes we’ll start it earlier, sometimes later, sometimes not at all if we have somewhere to be. I begin by having the older two (non nappers) sit on the couch with books while I put the youngest (almost 2) down for her nap. When I come out, we’ll read a couple books together and then I get them set up for quiet time.
I have Lenna start her quiet time in my room and Reese starts in the older girl’s room. In the beginning of introducing quiet time to each nap graduate, I start them off with a quiet time bin. Everyday I’ll fill it with quiet activities to keep them busy. I add a variety of things, so they’re not all similar. For example, one day the bin might include: magnet dolls, notebook & pen, books, finger puppets and pom poms & egg carton. I keep two cupboards of activities and rotate them in their bins. Now that they’re used to quiet time, I’ll let them choose their activities some days and fill bins for them other days.
They take their quiet time bin to their respective room and close the door. After 45 minutes I have them switch rooms & activities for another 45 minutes. I’d be lying if I said this happens every day. This is generally how it goes, but not set in stone. Every week I try to spend some one on one time with each of them during their quiet time. I’ll let them sit with me at the table and color while I work, or sit with me on the couch and snuggle. It depends!
They are to stay in their rooms, unless they have to use the bathroom. Towards the end of the quiet time I’ll see them peeking out, anxious to see Mom or play with their sister! Most days they just start playing with each other right away, and other days they’ll ask to watch a show on the ipad until Brinn wakes up and we go do something fun.
The key to making this work is consistency. Lenna has always been a rockstar with quiet time. She craves it I think. Reese had a very hard time in the beginning. She would come out of her room constantly and definitely didn’t have the stamina yet for an hour and a half of quiet time. After time and practice she has become very happy to play alone and happy to decide what she’ll do all by herself for that time. As they get older, I’ll probably reduce it to an hour, but for now I think it’s a good fit for them.
Don’t let quiet time become a big task for you because it defeats the purpose! Some people fill five boxes and rotate them one for each day. Others have their kid pick 5 things before quiet time and that’s what they play with that day. A little planning does help!
Like I said, this is what works for our family and I hope it helps if you’re looking for the next step after napping.
Do you use quiet time in your home?
What ideas have worked really well for your family?