Quiet time is crucial in home life, for sustainable productivity, for peace and rest and just time to be restful, in my home quiet time is sacred, It is practised 7 days a week, and in this post, I am going to share with you 5 tips for effective quiet time with children.
I have a no-nonsense approach to quiet time, it’s for the whole family, not just the children, and I don’t expect to have to entertain my children. Quiet time in our home serves the purpose of nap time for babies and toddlers, getting things done time for me, and quiet play for my older children.
- Make it a rule
- have a to do list
- provide options for your children
- remove distractions
- decrease screen time
Why should you encourage quiet time in your home?
- Everyone can benefit from quiet time, it helps to promote peace in the home, a break from stimuli and distractions.
how long is quiet time?
- at least 45 minutes, enough time to get some space and recharge, for both you and your children
- Two hours at maximum– this is when you really get things done! it taks a little training to get to this time, If you are just starting out, start with implementing the quiet time rules for 30 minutes.
My quiet times last two hours.
Dealing with boredom during quiet time
boredom is a GOOD THING. When your children are bored, they are forced to use their imagination, Imagination in both children and adults drives human discovery, where education of facts creates critical thinking, boredom, and imagination turn learned knowledge into the unknown, while it may seem fanciful at first, it is the most powerful drive the mind has for new ideas.
So rather than discourage boredom, we as parents should encourage it.
MAKE IT A RULE
Quiet time in my home is not optional, I am no-nonsense when it comes to my quiet time.
My rules are:
No talking to me. I am not available, we can chat all you like before or after, but when quiet time is happening, I prefer my children to think of me as not there at all.
No screens. As a treat, I do allow some screentime ( playing downloaded games on my phone) on the weekend. I am strict with the no screens rule on school days, it leads to addiction, fighting, and restless children afterwards.
No complaining to me if you are bored. If my children come to me complaining of boredom. I direct them to a job they can do, such as pulling weeds out of the garden, raking the muck from the chook pen, hanging washing. trust me, if you do this, they won’t come to your more than once or twice!
No hovering! I seriously can’t stand it when my kids hover, and in my home, if I let my kids hover, they will, making strange noises and giving me looks, until I could lose my mind. So I don’t allow it, It’s an hour or two tops, in 12-14 hours a day with me, leave me alone!
In your home, you can make rules to suit you, but don’t be too lenient, your kids won’t die from boredom, nor will their hearts break if they can’t be around you. I am all for my rules, because it’s time I need to get things done, and time for my kids need to be bored and start getting creative!
HAVE A TO-DO LIST
Before I started this blog and my youtube channel, my quiet times were filled with whatever, and I had no to-do list. I would work out, do my nails, I would clean or deep clean something, paint furniture or just nap if I had a baby that was still nursing during the night.
I could have done so much more if I had just a weekly to-do list for my afternoon time, when I look back I wasted so much time! I could have learned to sew, or started my garden or started this blog so much earlier!
IF you are in the stage of motherhood when you have a baby nursing through the night and young toddlers who wake up at the crack of dawn, I fully advocate for a nap, sleep will have you functioning better and when you need the patience to raise children and run a home, good sleep is vital for your health and your mindset.
I make two to-do lists each day, one at night and one in the morning. The night one I try and get done the next morning, and the morning one I try and get done in the afternoon.
I am all for bite-size, short term plans, and my to-do lists while sometimes long are filled with tasks I know I can complete in the time I have.
PROVIDE OPTIONS FOR YOUR CHILDREN
If you have children new to quiet time, and they aren’t good at being bored yet ( it really is something that is taught) then provide your children with no more than 2-3 options. IF you provide too many, they will jump around from choice to choice, and still complain they are bored.
Like I said, enforce rules, but help them out with options like.
- fill a bucket with water and 10 things that sink and 10 things that float and tell me about it after quiet time. (my kids like being given ideas like this, and it always leads to ideas of their own)
- Let them use a sheet outside to make a tent
- make a lego boat that doesn’t sink ( see who can make the biggest)
If it’s cold or rainy outside, I do things like;
- drawing competitions, the winner gets to choose dessert.
- card games or board games.
- And if they can’t be quiet, I put them to bed with a selection of books.
My rules apply, if they come to me after they have completed something I have set for them, and they know that quiet time is not over, I give them one warning, if they continue to disobey any of my rules I give them a job, ( usually one that is quiet or outside) and if they disobey again I put them to bed until quiet time is over.
This is for you mamma!
If you need sleep, leave your phone in the kitchen.
If you have things to do, again, try and leave your phone alone, use earphones, listen to calming or motivating music, or a podcast while you do whatever it is you want to do during your precious quiet time hours.
I don’t know how many afternoons I have wasted away scrolling Instagram or Pinterest and when I realised I wasted that time I always wanted to kick myself!
now, I have strict rules I have time blocks, and in those blocks, I have screen rules. The school time block and the quiet time block are phone-free, my quiet time isn’t screen-free, but it is phone free.
DECREASE OR REMOVE SCREEN TIME
This can be a problem if you are just starting quiet time in your home and your children aren’t used to it.
If you are starting out, start with 20-30 minute quiet times with your rules enforced. Set the timer, and give your children something to do.
If you have been relying on screens for distraction and want to phase out, or you just have a willful child then the best thing, is to go cold turkey, I know you might think of slowly giving it up, but every time they get that screen high (which is seriously what is going on) you take three steps back.
Place the screens if you have handheld ones, in places hard to get to or lock them away somewhere, and they just aren’t an option, if your children are used to having too much screen time, they will not know how to okay alone, how to imagine, how to be bored.
You will need to work through this, set your rules, and set your timer. It will take a week or two but if you are consistent, and follow through when the rules are broken, you will get your quiet time.
child training for quiet time
I am a believer in all things child training, I am in my home with them all day every day, and if I don’t take the time to train them, then quite frankly I start to dislike their company, little children though cute, can be little dictators and if you don’t take the time and patience to train them, to discipline bad behaviour in some way then your time spent with them won’t be all that enjoyable.
Do you have a child who is refusing and is most likely very disruptive of you and others.
first things first, how old is the child?
Do not assume that because they are 3-5 years that they don’t need a nap. Whenever my boys are being particularly grumpy during quiet time, I put them to bed, even my 8-year-old will emerge sheepishly an hour later after a much-needed siesta.
If they are cranky every afternoon and are between 3-5 and you have assumed they no longer need naps, well try a nap, allow one small toy or a book. If they do sleep every afternoon, and they are older, you may want to check if they are getting good quality sleep at night ( are they cold usually the most common factor for poor sleep), low sleep quality can drastically alter a child’s attitude during the day.
Have a screamer?
If you have a child that screams the house down when forced to have quiet time or take a nap then you have to discipline that child, you can do this however you choose to, do not give in to the child, quiet time is a learned behaviour, and so is screaming the house down to make everyone know they don’t like it.
Everyone in the home needs quiet time, your home will run smoother, you will feel better and quiet time prepares your children for boredom in other situations, especially out of the home, if you want children who can sit quietly and be okay with not being constantly entertained then stick with it, be consistent and in a week you will have quiet time in your home.
A child that starts fights with siblings
Disruptive behaviour during quiet time is punished with the same rule for boredom; receiving a job to complete.
If the child is too young to complete a task then I place the antagoniser in bed.
I am okay with a little mess, we do an after-dinner clean and so if there are toys or lego in the room it gets put away.
I am not a toy mother, I have a few, but not enough to leave a huge mess.
If you have children who are trashing the place every afternoon then my advice is to remove the toys and leave only a handful, if you can’t then you need to train a new behaviour.
An after quiet time clean up.
The same rules apply, no complaining, complaining will get you an extra job.
Everyone pitches in, if one child doesn’t help, and attempts a sneaky Irish exit then that child cleans alone.
If it’s just one child who is the messer then they alone can tidy up. They will think twice before doing it again.
Phasing out screens during quiet time
if you are currently using screens to distract your children to get your quiet time, I highly suggest you stop. when it comes to raising children you are in it for the long haul, and that means that you will enjoy the instant gratification that screen time brings, but the lasting effect of addiction is something that is hard to deal with and takes a lot more patience and pain to fix.
As a mother I have felt the effects of screen addiction in my children, they are quiet when watching the movie, or using some other form of screen time, but soon, that becomes their only experience of peace, they can’t sit still, they fight, they can’t focus, imaginative play is next to nothing, and you are left with trying to please a moody and petulant child/children.
When you remove the screens, the fighting is less, the play is quieter, they imagine and create and become happier spending time alone and outside. They learn to be bored and find things to do, and soon your days are filled with quiet learning and sibling bonding.
It’s not always as quiet, and I do indulge in screen time on the weekends, but for the most part I am grateful to myself for staying strong when sometimes I want to cave and let them use screens to give me peace, as it always come back to bite me when I have irritable children coming down form the screen high.
WEEKEND QUIET TIME
I practice quiet time on the weekends because I like to give my husband time to enjoy quiet in the home.
He usually needs to catch up on sleep with a nap or just sit and enjoy an afternoon with the children around but not being demanding.
On the weekends I allow screen time for the children, either a movie or my children have access to an old phone of mine that has several games on it.
My weekend quiet time isn’t as structured as my weekday time, I watch a show, or take a nap or leave the sleeping toddlers with my husband and go to town for a coffee or a walk. It’s usually on the weekends that I try new recipes or get some gardening done, I don’t block screen time, and I like to watch youtube or listen to podcasts as I work.
That is my quiet time, my second favourite time of the day (the 1st is my morning coffee)
I hope this post was helpful!
The simple mamma
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