Welcome back my Quiet Time friends and happy Tuesday! I have polished up my Quiet Time Queen Crown and am so excited to answer the question that I get ask at least once a week:
“How can I get my little ones to actually have a Quiet Time?”
Allow me to be brutally honest, because I have been here myself. There was a period of time when I almost threw in the towel and decided that THIS little monkey of a preschooler of mine (not pointing any fingers, but it was that one with the blond curls) was simply not ever going to enjoy Quiet Time.
I didn’t want it to feel like a punishment, but that was what was beginning to happen. If Quiet Time was viewed as something negative, then we certainly wouldn’t get all of the amazing benefits from it!
Remember all those benefits I shared yesterday? The increase in attention, independence, self-confidence to name just a few? I wanted Quiet Time in all of it’s amazing glory!
So I changed my plan, adopted a very different strategy, and now could not imagine what my days would look like if I had indeed thrown in the towel on Quiet Time.
Well … actually I can imagine it … it looks just like me, but as a stressed out, unshowered Mama with a messy house who survives on coffee and is just a smidgen too snappy at her sweet little ones.
I can imagine it, but I don’t want to. I have really come to enjoy showering regularly.
Though I still do survive on coffee because … well, kids.
Today I am excited to share with you exactly what I have done to establish Quiet Time in my home – even with my curly blond little monkey.
The real key I have found is to be consistent and start very slow. But let me explain:
- Create a consistent time (or 2) each day for quiet time. We all thrive on rhythms and knowing what is coming next and what to expect. Having quiet time the same time each day is very reassuring and beneficial for children. We like to have quiet time right after lunch, and again just before dinner (our witching hour!) You might find some days you need an “emergency quiet time” – but most times having a consistent opportunity for quiet will avoid this need. Consistency is definitely key.
- Start for a very short time and work up. For very young children, start with a 5 minute Quiet Time. I know that sounds pointless, but it is so much better to start short and have little ones gain confidence in their ability to do this! Once 5 minutes is easy, and little ones are really engaged in the activities, increase the time by another 5 minutes. At this point, my little ones have a 45 minute Quiet Time without batting an eye.
- Set a visual timer. There are so many apps and visual timers out there. A visual timer is a great way for little ones to see how much time has gone by and how much time is left. This also plays up one of the benefits of Quiet Time: independence.
- Get yourself busy. Cleaning up after lunch, washing some dishes, any little task. If you are busy during your little ones Quiet Time at first, she will begin to understand that this is her time to be on her own.
- Stay close by. At first, it is very reassuring to little ones to know that Mama is still close by even though it is independent time. Make sure you keep busy though, because as soon as Mama’s hands look free, little toys will soon find their way!
- Define the space. For our Quiet Time, I like my boys to rest their bodies too. For this reason, they are not to be walking/running about. We started by staying on a blanket on the ground, but that was only for the first few times. Kids catch on to things very quick – and they will grow to LOVE and look forward to Quiet Time.
- Provide super engaging and super fun activities that only come out for Quiet Time. This last tip is the one that really got my blond curly boy on board with Quiet Time. Of course, it only needs to be this way for the first little while. Soon, children come to love Quiet Time for what it is — time to relax, rest, recharge, and play all on their own. But starting with awesome activities is a great way to ensure the love of Quiet Time happens nice and quick! This was why I wrote my eBook on A Year of Educational Quiet Bins – super engaging activities that kids love, and super simple for Mamas to prepare.
I’m hoping that these tips help you to feel more confident about getting Quiet Time up and running in your home. You can do this! Be persistent, keep it fun, and it will work!
Of course I am only an email away: HowWeeLearn@gmail.com – and this Quiet Time Queen is always happy to help. Each child in her kingdom shall love Quiet Time! Ahem …
Tomorrow is the last day in our Quiet Time series and I will be sharing with you exactly what makes a great Quiet Time activity (available now!) Be sure to come back friends – I have idea after idea after idea!
Tomorrow will be your crowning day Mama – so get ready … you are about to become a Quiet Time Queen too. (It’s fun. It involves uninterrupted phone calls, showers, and happy kids.)
Until tomorrow fellow Queens, Sarah xx.