Shhh. It’s Quiet Time.

 Posted by on November 3, 2009  Add comments
Nov 032009

When our eldest outgrew her nap I struggled with losing that quiet time for myself. I needed it! The three-month-old was napping. Why was now the time for the toddler to drop a nap?? I also noticed she and I were both able to handle late afternoons better when we had our afternoon quiet time. Since those early days, the lines blur as to just how quiet time came about in our home. I do remember in recent years reading some new ideas in Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Trained Mind.

However it came to be, quiet time is just that. Quiet. Everybody in their own spot. Separate and away. Each afternoon the baby naps and the rest are (ideally) quiet.

The rules: Everyone gathers what they need. Each one goes to a bedroom or other area of the house away from everyone else. Β No coming out of your room for that pair of scissors you forgot or a for a new coloring book. No calling mom. No computer. No tv. Put things back when quiet time is over. Enjoy having a bit of quiet in a blessed, busy household!

Children can:

  • Read books
  • Listen to the radio
  • Listen to a book on CD/tape (lots at the library!)
  • Color, work on an art project
  • Use their imagination – play with anything in the room
  • Write a letter, add to a journal

To start out reluctant quiet-timers, we focused on the child’s current favorite. Our eldest boy loved the Audubon First Field Guides. As an emerging reader, he would sit for as long as an adult would and listen to details on birds, insects, etc. My mother borrowed a few of the guides and read them on tape for him. For his quiet time he would gather his stack of guides and pop in the day’s topic.

Usually the child that is currently outgrowing a nap will have quiet time close to me.

Mom gets quiet time too! Yes you can catch up on household chores but make sure you allow yourself at least 15 minutes of something enjoyable. Have a cup of coffee, catch up on emails (mom is allowed computer time), prop your feet up. Apple Pie has aΒ  list of refreshing ideas just for mom.

But quiet time can also be a time:

  • the one learning to read might sit near me and practice with the latest favorite readers or books.
  • an older child can have one on one time with Mama.
  • to take the opportunity for a nature study by the window.
  • to work on a report or project.
  • to practice lines for drama troupe.

When quiet time is over it’s tea time and/or outside time. Since everyone has been apart for a while, usually siblings get along better and are so ready to play!

Know that in a perfect world all children obey and are quiet for the designated time. Be prepared for training moments. Also know that, as with any new habit, it takes practice. Like morning room time, you may want to start with a short time and work up to the amount of time you desire.

Ah. It’s quiet time.

Updated posts on afternoon quiet time:

-Homeschooling for over a decade now, Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos with five children. She shares a mixture of free art lessons, recipes and helpful homeschool habits at Hodgepodge. She and her husband, Steve, are also owners and authors at Curriculum Choice.

  20 Responses to “Shhh. It’s Quiet Time.”

  1. Sounds great! But do you have any ideas for children who share a room? We have “quiet time” in the afternoon when the little one is napping, but since the older boys share a room, it is never as quiet as I’d like it to be. I would love to be able to separate them for a while, but it seems unfair to whichever one is banned from his own room. Any ideas?

    Thanks for posting!

    • We have two sets of siblings that share rooms so they take turns getting to have quiet time in their own room. The youngest girl has dropped her nap so lately she has quiet time in a comfy chair near me.(she’s still learning πŸ™‚ We have a little corner of the family room with a bookcase and a basket of toys. A CD player is close by too.

      The eldest boy shares a bedroom with the baby so he has his quiet time in the downstairs guestroom/playroom. He just makes sure he picks something to take in there to keep himself busy. Listening to a CD really helps.

      We’ve also had children have quiet time in a corner of the master bedroom, in the living room or on the couch in the classroom. Since there are six of us here at home during the day we’ve found ways to carve out some little quiet time spots πŸ™‚

      Let me know how it turns out for your boys!

      • That sounds like a good system. We tried something like that for a while, but inevitably whichever one was downstairs would decide that was his own special time to ask Mommy a million questions πŸ™‚ We do have a finished room in the basement though and there is always the master bedroom. We’ll be trying it again today!

  2. Love it!!! I have always loved QT here, we got away from it but I just started it back.

  3. QT is a sanity-saver for sure. We all need a little time to recharge for the rest of the day. We call ours reading and resting time, but I like the idea of having a few other choices (as long as they’re quiet πŸ™‚ )

  4. Quiet times are SUPER necessary around here. Always have been. My two older boys actually slept until they were about 4, but my younger children have all given up naps a little earlier on. I have one toddler left who actually still sleeps the rest of us (5 kids + mom) all still have quiet time. It works well in a south american country where ‘siesta’ for most is normal! πŸ™‚ We have shared rooms too, but we split the kids up, one on the couch, one on the floor in the living room, etc. And we have the same rule… no getting up to get what you forgot and no asking if the time is up!! only go to the bathroom if it is urgent. πŸ™‚ oh yes. I DO love quiet time πŸ™‚

    amy in peru

  5. Thanks for mentioning that you don’t allow them to come out for the scissors they forgot, also. I always feel bad for them if they forgot something. At the same time I know they first of all need to learn to be more mindful and prepared, and secondly we need to not have the quiet time completely disturbed every 5 minutes by people being out of their places, whatever their “reason” is. So thanks for making me feel better about being strict there. πŸ™‚ I guess it’s kind of like the sudden need for yet another drink of water at bedtime for the little ones (after they’ve already had what I know is enough)… if you allow it, they’ll keep it up.

    • Amber, yes, afternoon quiet time is one of those habits that is such a HUGE blessing. But, just as you pointed out in examples, it does take time to build the habit. It’s not easy and takes diligence on the part of the parent. But it is so very worth it. Just like your bedtime example! Blessings, Tricia

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