Words cannot express how grateful I have been for older stay-at-home mom friends who have shared so many tips with me. One of the best bests of advice I have received was to institute ‘Quiet Time’ when your toddler/preschooler drops his or her afternoon nap.
What is ‘Quiet Time’?
Quiet time is simply that. A time in the day when your child entertains him or herself independently, allowing the parent or caregiver some time to rest or get some work done!
During today’s Quiet Time at our house, I’ve cleaned up, washed dishes, baked a coffee cake and typed this blog post.
‘Quiet Time’ (also known as ‘nap replacement’) allows me to take a break in the afternoon when I would otherwise be busy all day long with my three-year-old (who talks non-stop) and who, now, no longer needs a nap. Thankfully, Little Man napped right up until age three and a half; however, he has just dropped his afternoon nap. (If he naps, he has trouble falling asleep before ten.)
One of the biggest challenges I faced in setting up ‘Quiet Time’ was having ‘Quiet Time’ in a small space while the baby is napping. As you can imagine, quiet play for a three-year-old, often involves noise and talking to himself.
So, how do I make Quiet Time work in our small space while the baby naps?
Initially, I thought Little Man could do Quiet Time while being in the living room with me. I was too scared to risk having him wake the baby from his afternoon nap.
At three, “play by yourself” and “you can’t speak to mommy right now” translates to maybe (if I’m lucky) 10 seconds of silence and then, “Mommy, read me this book!” Or “Let’s play messy messy castle.” Joy.
I quickly learned that Little Man would have to be in his ‘room’ for Quiet Time. So I decided to use my best friend, my Audible app, to help me achieve the perfect Quiet Time solution.
After lunch and two books, I put the baby down for a nap and tell Little Man it’s time for Quiet Time. He sits in his bed and listens to children’s books on Audible for an HOUR at least and sometimes up to two hours all while the baby naps; this allows me at least an hour break in my afternoon! Let me tell you this: It’s marvelous! Little Man is happy listening to stories, and I’m happy, sipping a cup of coffee and watching the news!
Since the boys are in close proximity to each other, I use a sound machine near the baby which blocks out the noise from the Audible app. Both boys are happy resting and so is this mama!
If your child has his/her own room in a larger space, he or she could play with toys during this time, too. If you search Quiet Time boxes on Pinterest, you’ll get tons of ideas of activities your child could do during this time. My Little Man often flips through books while listening to his audiobooks.
Don’t give up!
Setting up Quiet Time can take some effort and willpower. Initially, there was some whining and exiting his room to come tell me that he’s ‘all done with Quiet Time’. However, a week later, the routine was established.
If your child is really struggling, set a timer and just start for a short period of time before increasing it.
Go download Audible and download some great kid’s books, or find some quiet toys and set your child up for quiet fun. Personally, I love Audible and the audiobooks as Little Man gets hooked on the stories and feels like he’s getting a special treat when he listens to them for a long time. There’s no temptation for him to ask me to play with him; the stories hook his attention.
And while I’m having my break, he’s developing self-discipline and listening skills. It’s a win, win for all!