Napping is essential – for me. I have to have a nap every day. One of my favorite saying is,
I take back every nap I ever refused as a child.
I need a nap. My children? Not so much. At least, they don’t seem to think so. Even when they sleep well they still need some time in a quiet environment. Maybe everybody does.
There are two kinds of quiet times in my house. There is a regularly occurring quiet time and an “as needed” one.
Our Quiet Time Routine
We have 2-3 hours that are quiet play time. If they are feeling antsy, I will let them run their wiggles out outside but I still expect 1 hour of lying down time. I should also mention that if they are playing loud or fighting, they lose the chance to choose when they do quiet time and must take a quiet time in another room.
After lunch, I spend some time with my toddler and then she goes down for a nap or at least lies in her bed and pretends to sleep. I then tell my older children that it is now quiet time until snack. They can choose when during that 3 hours, they will lie down to rest. I show them the “when then” chart and remind them of the rules (no loud play and don’t wake up Mommy). At some point they will ask if they can watch a movie. I point to the chart and say, “When you have finished an hour of quiet time then you can watch a movie.”
The hardest part is sticking to the chart, if they didn’t take a rest time, no movie. After a few days, the chart starts doing all of the hard work for me.
During those 2-3 hours, I take a 15-45 minute nap. Sometimes I am not tired, weird. I still lay down for at least 15 minutes to get my thoughts in order and make my work time more productive.
I have young children, so I take my naps on the couch in the living room. Yes, I can sleep through happy chaos. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time falling asleep at night, it’s too quiet.
There are days when they don’t do an official lying down quiet time. Normally it’s because they are too interested in whatever game they are playing to stop. They are spend time playing sweetly together, I still get a nap and work time so I let it go. Remember, I am letting the “when then” chart be the disciplinarian.
Mandatory Quiet Times
We have another type of quiet time in our house, the mandatory kind. If a child is crying over everything, refusing to use nice words, or just plain being mean, they need some quiet in their room alone. I walk them quietly to their room and tell them that they decide when they can come out. They need to listen to their bodies, and when they are calm, they can come join the family.
If they refuse to monitor themselves (coming out of the room frequently and yelling, for example) then they have earned themselves 30 min. of alone time. They are not allowed toys or food until they have done that 30 min.
Implementing a Regularly Occurring Quiet Time
If you want to start a quiet time in your house, there are two methods that you could try. You could train them or use a “when then” chart.
Training involves whatever way you trained them to sleep through the night. I have done sleep training with my kids, but am too lazy to do it in the day time. I know, I shouldn’t be, but I am.
I use a “when then” routine to motivate them to take a rest time. “When you have had 1 hour of quiet time lying down, then you may watch a movie or play on the iPad.” If they decide not to lie down for one hour then they don’t get to watch a movie after snack.
If you decide to use a “when then” chart, make sure the then is something they really care about.
4 Kids 2 Bedrooms
It’s a little tricky implementing quiet time when we only have 2 bedrooms. It would be much easier if I had a schedule and if my will power was greater than my children. Oh well.
It does take some creativity if they all want to do their rest time at the same time. It would be nice if my children were disciplined enough to take naps in the same room but they aren’t. It’s a process.
Aside from bedrooms, we also have a bench in the kitchen, a couch, and a cushion in the living room. Grace has even laid in the grass on nice days.
Don’t let your space limit you. Children don’t have to be in different rooms in order to be alone. I normally put whoever is being the most distracted that day, in the bedroom. Or start with all of them in nooks and crannies in the living room and whoever isn’t obeying gets put in the bedroom.
Typically, in my house, they rotate quiet times. The baby and toddler go first, and then the other two get a chance.
The Benefits of Quiet Time Abound
Training children is hard. Or at the least, I struggle with it. However, training children to do quiet time benefits the whole family. We all have more energy and ability to concentrate after taking some time alone.
What about you? Do you have a quiet time in your house? Is there any training advice you can add?