In our house, quiet time is non-negotiable. It’s the way we all survive.
How Quiet Time Started
What is quiet time, you ask? Quiet time is what happens when one or more of your kids no longer nap, but they are still young enough to need time to rest. Quiet time is time in the afternoon where everyone goes their separate ways for 1-2 hours to reset, relax, and recharge.
Sometime last summer-ish, we made the decision that Harlyn was done napping. Nap time was a source of complete anxiety for me and so was bedtime. Because Harlyn was fighting naps, it took a thousand years to get her down, and since she eventually did nap, she never wanted to go to bed at night. And I realized: I don’t have to feel like this anymore. Away went the naps, and with it, the bedtime struggles (for the most part, anyway).
But like any sane mother, I knew that with Maverick still of napping age, I wouldn’t want to have Harlyn running about the house while my toddler was asleep. And Harlyn actually still needed (and currently needs!) time to rest, even though she’s not sleeping.
The Benefits of Quiet Time
- The kids get a break from each other
Our kids generally love each other and play together a lot. But it’s hard to always be with the same person and not allowed any personal space. Nap time for Mav and quiet time for H allows them to spend some time without their sibling.
- Mommy and Daddy get a break
While we love our children, we also love quiet time. We use quiet time to get stuff done. I blog during quiet time (I’m actually typing this very blog post as quiet time is happening!). We may clean the house, plan a podcast episode, or start a small home project. We might read. Very rarely, Brandon watches TV or I nap. I’d say the most common way we spend quiet time is taking 10-15 minutes to clean up clutter, then going our separate ways (I head to the bedroom, and B will hang out in the living room). It’s just a great way for everyone to have some alone time!
- Physical and mental rest
While Harlyn is almost 5 and we prefer she doesn’t nap as to not ruin bedtime (read: stay up til 9 PM), she actually still needs rest. She needs to slow her body and her brain down for an hour or two daily because she just gets physically tired. School wears her out, and even going out to a store or two on a Saturday morning can make her tired. Quiet time truly helps her recharge so she can handle the rest of the day. Not having to talk to anyone, perform, or be on her best behavior allows her to truly relax.
What Quiet Time Looks Like
So around 1 pm every day, we do quiet time. Since Brandon and I work, the grandparents handle weekday quiet time (which is actually more like 1:30 for them because Harlyn gets out of school at 1:15 M-Th). If we’re out and about, we push it til we get home. Maverick is much more flexible than Harlyn ever was about napping, so timing is no longer the issue it once was.
Brandon puts Maverick down for his nap, and we get Harlyn settled into her room. The basic rule is: you can’t come out of your room until we come get you. No exceptions. We set Harlyn up with her water bottle, a snack, and whatever she’s decided to do during her quiet time. And since she has a Kids Kindle Fire (internet access and YT disabled entirely), on weekends, we do allow her to use it by herself in her room if she wants. I still have baby monitors in both kids’ rooms, so I can hear what app she’s using, and she knows what she’s allowed to use (no Sponge Bob, for example). Whatever she chooses, she must be able to do it 100% by herself, because she’s not coming out for help, and we’re not going in.
But a lot of the time, she doesn’t want to just watch videos or play games on the Kindle, so today, I’m giving you ideas of quiet time activities for preschoolers, and maybe what it could look like for you!
20 Preschool/Kindergarten Quiet Time Activities
- Baby Dolls/American Girl Dolls
- Simple crafts
- Lite Brite
- Play-doh (I realize that this one may not work for everyone. Harlyn happens to have a little table in her room and is able to use play-doh on her own without concern.)
- Figurines (Shopkins/Teenie Geenies/etc)
- Little People playsets
- Sticker books
- Aqua Doodle Mat
- Kindle/ipad (if you allow)
- Stamps (again, not all preschoolers can do this unsupervised, but Harlyn has so far been very careful with this)
- “Attic Toy” (sometimes, Harlyn will ask to get an old toy down from the attic for quiet time. This is actually a great thing because the toy feels “new” and keeps her occupied longer.)
- Stuffed animals
- “Special Days” (every once in a great while, Harlyn is allowed to come out early to spend time in the living room either crafting or watching Netflix. She loooooves this, but it has to be super rare or else it becomes her wanting every day to be “special.”
So there you have it! Quiet time is something that will live on in our house for a long time to come, because it’s truly beneficial for all four of us.
Do you do quiet time in your home? What do your kids do during theirs??