Quiet Time for Kids: What It Looks Like + Why You Should Do it

What quiet time for kids is, and how you implement it in your home

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My babies quit taking daily naps around three years old. After that, we start “Quiet Time” in the afternoons to replace that nap time.

A few weeks ago we talked about Summer Boredom Busters on my blog and my Instagram Stories and so many of you responded saying that boredom is good for your children. I 100% agree, and that’s a huge reason we have quiet time in our home.

I want to share what our quiet time looks like, a few tips to make it successful, and why it’s a really good thing for everyone.

what our quiet time looks like and why you should do it too
quiet time for kids. What it looks like and why you should do it too.

What is quiet time?

It’s a dedicated one to two hours in the afternoon where the boys are in their room, playing quietly, with no electronics.

Depending on the day, I have them do their quiet time separately (one in my room and one in their shared room), or if they’re getting along I’ll let them do quiet time together in their room.

During the summer, we do quiet time after lunch so everyone is full and no snacks are needed, and we’ve already had the entire morning to have an adventure together. During the school year, they come home from school in the early afternoon, we have a snack together and play a game or two, and then they go to quiet time.

 

Why do we do quiet time?

I’m a firm believer that every person on the planet needs a daily block of time to be still, let their mind wander, get lost in a book for an hour or two, or have a dedicated time to just have nothing to do.

After mornings of fun during the summer, we all need some time to let our minds calm down and relax. And during the school year, after a full day of working and learning, they need some time to just unwind and have some dedicated personal time.

On the days that my boys do quiet time separately, they’re so excited to see each other again after being apart for an hour. On the days that they do it together, they build incredible LEGO creations and feed off of each other’s creativity. And every single day they come out happy, rejuvenated, and much more calm.

 

What kind of structure do we have in quiet time?

I provide almost no structure. My only requirements are that they stay in their room unless they have to use the bathroom, and no electronics are allowed except an audiobook. When we check out CD’s from the library, they use their CD player in their room, but we also download digital audiobooks from our library Overdrive account, so they listen to those on their iPad. They know if they use the iPad for anything besides the audiobook they’ll lose it, and so far that’s worked really well. If you can’t yet trust your kids to stay off other things on the iPad, just stick to the CD player.

I’ve shared some of our favorite audiobooks HERE!

A few tips to get started with quiet time

 

Start small, and communicate your expectations.

If your kids haven’t ever done quiet time before, they’ll probably resist it on some level. Try starting with ten or fifteen minutes. Do that for a week, and then try twenty minutes. Work your way up. If your kids are old enough to understand time, be honest with them, and tell them your expectations and that in a few weeks the time will be an hour.

If they’re small and don’t understand time yet, try setting a timer in their room, or getting a clock that counts down minutes so they know when they’re done. Don’t set a timer outside the room or they’ll be out every five minutes asking how much longer.

 

Give them toys that will let their creativity soar.

Typically we do LEGOs or paper and crayons. These are the two things that let my boys be the most creative, and are great for keeping their hands busy if they’re listening to an audiobook. Also a lot of days my 8 year old chooses to just sit on his bed and plow through his stack of novels, and my 5 year old looks through shorter picture books from the library.

I’ve also heard about some parents who swap out toys daily so they play with a different thing every day. You do what works best for your kids!

 

Be consistent.

This goes back to communication and expectations. Your kids will probably try to talk you out of quiet time regularly, but don’t give in. Even if you make quiet time a little shorter on some days, try to do it every single day (we even do Saturdays and Sundays and on vacation) so it becomes part of their routine.

And to be honest, they need this quiet time on vacations and weekends more than ever! 

 

Quiet time is going to look slightly different for every family, depending on the ages of your kids and your family structure. But I promise that implementing quiet time into your homes will make such a difference in your home.

If any of you do quiet time too, I’d love to hear your perspective and any other advice you could add to this!

 

Photos by Priscilla Frey

 

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12 Comments

  1. Landen says:

    We actually do 3 a day, most of the time. One right after he wakes up (around 6), then one around 11 and one around 2. They last the duration of his CD, so he knows when he can come or (the CDs are between 45 min and an hour). He has a much happier and better day if we do all 3. The first one in particular makes an enormous difference. We skipped it twice this week and it made the day so much more difficult. He was just grouchy all day.

    • Merrick says:

      I like the idea of spacing them out during the day. A great idea for younger kids who couldn’t do 2 full consecutive hours. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Paige Flamm says:

    We used to be so much better about quiet time during the school year, but we’re awful during the summer. We need to get back on the bandwagon with it!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  3. Claire says:

    Yessssss! We have been using an “ok! To wake” clock since my odkest was in s toddler bed. When he started transitioning from naps we just had him do 2-3 days a week of naps and the others Naturally became quiet time because he bever fell asleep. Some days iTs a battle still, but he knows it happens eveyday so he fights it for like 30 seconds. Haha.

    • Merrick says:

      Yes, I love this! They might fight it, but if you’re consistent they never fight for long 🙂 Mine do the same!

  4. Daria EDU says:

    I am absolutely in love with your blog!
    It is so incredibly exciting. I adore it.
    Thank you for sharing, girl <3

    -Daria
    https://dariaed.com/time-for-a-break/
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/daria-edu-19010657

  5. Jeanne says:

    I’m going to share this with the caregivers we have for our 3 girls (my mom & dad and my FIL). Both my husband and I work outside the home 5 days/wk. School gets out tomorrow (Hallelujah!) and all 3 will be with them for the summer. an afternoon break for everyone sounds great! My 4 year old still naps in the afternoons, for now, but she’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall so implementing “quiet time” sounds like a good plan. and the older 2 could use a break too, even though i know they’ll fight me/them. thanks for this merrick!

    • Merrick says:

      I’m so glad this helps you too! I’m sure your caregivers will appreciate a little quiet time to themselves every afternoon too 😉

  6. Meg Bird says:

    Merrick,

    I love this post! just wondering if your littlest also gets quiet time even if he still naps? During the school year did the older two do quiet time without the littlest because he had his after lunch? I have a toddler now with one on the way and I’m wondering what this might look like for me once my toddler outgrows nap time.

    • Merrick says:

      My littlest does not get quiet time — just a nap!

      And during the school year the older kids did their quiet time about an hour after they got home from school and my baby was still sleeping. Does that answer your question?

  7. vex 3 says:

    wow, a room for the kids is very modern and very clean cool

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