Naptime for babies and toddlers can be a welcome rest from the busyness of mothering littles. Often when babies start to outgrow that afternoon nap mothers get frustrated because they miss the quiet that nap time provided. We’ve been doing an afternoon “quiet time” since my oldest stopped napping several years ago and it helps both me and our children.
Benefits of Quiet Time
My children all benefit from a break from each other and the normal activities of the day. Even though they aren’t napping, they are resting and enjoying some quiet in their afternoon just as I am. This is especially important if you have more introverted children. But can’t we all use some down time from the stimuli of the day?
I want all of my children to be comfortable being alone. Of course, they aren’t really alone in this scenario since all five of us are still in the same house but they are playing alone in their own spot. This is a valuable skill in our connected age. We’re celebrating boundaries as a good thing instead of a bad thing by having a designated spot for each person.
Quiet time also allows me some time to work, rest, and enjoy a few moments of quiet. This greatly affects the type of mother I am the rest of the day and allows me to use my skills to bless other people.
Practical Tips for Establishing a Quiet Time
The habit of quiet time can take a while to establish. Don’t allow this to discourage you. Start small with fifteen minutes and then snuggle on the couch and read. Gradually increase the time that your children stay in quiet time. Enforce appropriate consequences if they break your established rules for quiet time.
Give each child a designated quiet time spot (if they are not able to use their room or you don’t want them to rummage through the whole room) with a blanket or two and some pillows to be comfortable. This is their space. Let them be comfortable in it.
Rotate toys and books. Don’t give them the same thing every single day or they will get tired of it. Make a box for each day of the week or alternate what each child gets. Consider turning on music or audio books during quiet time. This engages their minds in a soothing fashion.
If you have multiple children that aren’t napping, quiet time works best (at least at our house) if they can’t see each other from their quiet time spots.
A note for the mamas- don’t do anything during quiet time that you can do some other time. Except for the rarest of occasions, I don’t do laundry or housework or anything like that during quiet time. I use this time to pursue writing and art and other things that I can’t do in the chaos in our days.
I don’t live for naptime or quiet time. I truly enjoy being with my children and think that this time with them is both a gift and a responsibility. But they are learning skills of boundaries and “entertaining” themselves while I get to use my own talents and skills in a way that’s very different from mothering. Quiet time is a major building block of the order of our days and children thrive with structure and rhythms. As a matter of fact, I do too.