Instilling A "Quiet Time" with Children
Updated: May 25, 2020
A few weeks ago I started doing "Quiet Time" with Oliver since he's dropped from two naps to one nap. Quiet time = one hour in his crib with a few items. Quiet time also = one hour for me to work or shower or read. Sound dreamy? It is. Below is how I've adapted it to my 16 month old boy, however no matter the age of your child I believe it's a great practice to do in your home. It's been a great addition to our routine so I thought, maybe there's another mother out there that would love to give it a try. I started "quiet time" for a few reasons.
1. I want to teach my children a value for spending time alone in quiet.
Time in quiet, with no siblings, no screens, or no schedules of things to do is pretty rare for children. This is a sad reality because time alone cultivates SO many wonderful things:
This is honestly my number one reason for starting "Quiet Time". I want these skills to be learned and practiced by Oliver. We don't do much screen time around here, so this is my equivalent of "putting on a show for some quiet". Screens aren't bad, but they don't work the skills listed below. (They actually do the opposite) So with this quiet time method Oliver is working important brain/social skills while still accomplishing that quiet still time that's important for a family culture.
2. I'm a work-from-home mom.
I am currently working part time, which means nap times are office times. With Oliver dropping a nap, loosing that 60-90 min morning chunk of work was really throwing off my day.
3. Baby #2 Prep.
With baby girl on the way, I wanted to keep a similar schedule so that hopefully when baby girl naps, Oliver can have quiet time, and I'll have that little bit of time alone myself.
How We Quiet Time
At 10:00am I begin this ritual. Keeping a joyful tone is the key. It makes it sound like an adventure not a punishment. It takes about 4 min total to get Oliver down for quiet time.
Heres what I do:
1. "Oliver, it's time for quiet time. Let's go to your room and pick your friends and books!" This is the biggest tip I have. Keep your tone playful. I sometimes widen my eyes, say it in a whisper like it’s a secrecy mission and really play it up.
2. "Okay, Oliver, which two friends would you like to join you today?"
Oliver gets to pick 2 stuffed animals. I interact with the two friends in a silly way. I have little quick conversations with the stuffed animals and remind them of how much of an honor it is to be picked and go on and on about how good of friend Oliver is in assuring them that they'll love quiet time. (I'll admit, I'm very playful and animated in this step. It's quite the show for Oliver. :) ) Then into the crib, the 2 honored guests of the day go.
3. "Okay, Oliver, which two books would you like to have with you today?" Oliver gets to pick 2 books. I commend his decision with a few "what a great story!" or "oh I love this one!" and put the books in the crib.
4. "Okay, Oliver, last choice, which blanket would you like today?" Oliver picks one blanket.
5. "Looks like we are all set for a wonderful quiet time. All that's left is you! Let's count down, 3, 2, 1! I then pick Oliver up like a rocket-ship. Give him his pacifier (which we only use in the crib and car). Tell him to have a good quiet time. Close the door and walk out. Day one, Quiet Time was only 10 min, and I went in with celebration of how good Oliver was for Quiet Time. Then it slowly extended for a week until we were at an hour. *A note of safety - animals and books are chosen that are safe. Think through little eyes that could be pulled off and be choking hazards. I only use board books at this point to prevent Oliver from shredding or eating paper pages. I also use a baby monitor with Oliver for safety.
My plan is as Oliver gets older, quiet time will grow in freedom from his crib, to playing quietly in his room. It's not an every day occurrence, but it is for sure on weekdays. (Weekends are much more flexible) For those of you who say, "there's no way my child would do this" I just want to say, start small. Even if it's 5 or 10 min. If my 16 month old wiggly energetic extroverted Oliver can do quiet time, I'm pretty confident your child can grow into loving this time as well. Remember, you get to decided what the family culture you want to have in your home. Wishing you a great week (in a quiet tone), Abby
***Don't forget... the Cirkles are cheering you on!