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Does your child get grouchy in the evening, but doesn’t really need a nap anymore? Or maybe it’s you who needs a break to recharge? Moms need a break and it’s good for children to learn to entertain themselves quietly.
Alone time is good for everyone, especially introverts. If your child is an introvert, quiet time each day may even improve their mood and behavior the rest of the day. I know it definitely helps my oldest and he enjoys the time to himself. The time alone gives him a chance to unwind and play independently without interference from anyone.
And not only is quiet time beneficial for young children, quiet time gives moms a chance to take some time for themselves and is a great opportunity to enjoy a hobby, pamper themselves, or just rest. Most moms could always use a little extra sleep.
How To Get Started
It’s easiest if you start having quiet time at the same time that was previously your child’s nap time. Try to keep quiet time at the same time each day so your child knows what happens and will be ready to wind down if they have lots of energy. It is helpful to plan a physical activity in the morning or before quiet time so that it is easier for your child to play quietly and calmly.
Designate a room, preferably their bedroom, for quiet time, so your child can lay down if they are tired. Occasionally they may want to sleep instead of playing.
Remove anything from the room that you don’t want your child to play with or touch.
Make sure there are several quiet non-messy activities your child can do safely without supervision. The activities you choose should depend on your child’s age and maturity level. Some ideas are building with blocks, looking at board books, putting together large puzzles, coloring, and playing with dolls or stuffed animals.
Starting Quiet Time
If your child no longer takes naps, start by choosing a time to start quiet time. For my boys quiet time starts at approximately 2:00 pm or immediately after lunch. Anytime should work but afternoons will be easier since that gives your child time to play in the morning. You may also want to consider coordinating quiet time with a younger siblings nap time. My oldest has quiet time at the same time his brother takes a nap, which makes it much easier for my youngest to sleep.
Start by talking about quiet time in the morning, so your child knows what to expect. Try to make it sound fun. When it is time, have your child go to your designated quiet time area and make sure they know what activities they can choose to do.
Ideally, you’ll want to work towards about an hour of quiet time, but in the beginning, start small. At first, start with 15 minutes. Then increase the time gradually by 5 or 10 minute increments until you reach your goal. Always remember to be patient, and be happy with any progress no matter how small because it may take longer with some children.
If your child still takes naps, plan to have them stay in their room every day at the same time even if they don’t take a nap. My three-year-old hasn’t completely stopped taking naps; so I give him the choice of a nap or quiet time in his room. Sometimes he will play quietly for a while, then lay down and take a nap, too.
When quiet time is over, either you can go tell your child or you can set a timer so they will know when the time is up. With my son, I have him stay in his room until I come get him, unless he needs to use the bathroom.
Problems and How to Solve Them
Child doesn’t want to be alone
At first, it may be hard for some children to play by themselves because they feel alone. If your child feels this way, it may help if you sit just outside the door, so that they know you are still close. Then gradually reduce the time you sit by the door until they learn to be comfortable playing alone.
What to do when children who share a bedroom both need quiet time
If you have two children who share a bedroom, either choose another room for one of them or have them each stay on their own bed during quiet time.
Child has trouble playing quietly
Experiment to find what works for your child; everyone is different. Some ideas to try are: play some quiet background music, offer a different quieter activity, show by example how to play quietly, etc.
Consistency is very important when teaching a child something new. So, just be patient and consistent and it will get easier for both of you eventually. Do you include quiet time in your child’s schedule? Let me know in the comments below.