Updated: May 22
I became a new mama at age twenty-three. I remember thinking “my baby needs to learn how to play on his/her own…”.
Quiet time started when my first child was four months old. I would set him in his crib with a mobile above him and leave the door cracked a little. He was fed and he was wide awake. I decided to go get things done around the house, shower, and perhaps eat something. I decided to set a timer for twenty minutes and see how he does.
This was the beginning of a huge and wonderful shift that has stayed with me through all my children.
As my baby grew, nap time became quiet time. Dedicated and personal. I made it my specific quest to make sure my baby was fully fed, fully wrapped, and that all his cues for sleep-time were in place so that I could enjoy the hours that he slept. (Check out this article for more)
When I began mothering and caring for multiple children, nap time switched naturally into quiet time. I would allow my children to play quietly in their room or at a designated space in the house.
Quiet time is a life changing practice that requires you to be diligent. What I mean by this is that you need to keep holding the boundary of what quiet time means as your children’s ages mature.
Quiet time benefits:
I have seen the effects of quiet time as my children have grown older. From infancy it was nice to get a personal break from entertaining them. I found that my children are naturally more curious, they take time to do what matters to them. My children have navigated discussions, arguments, and disagreements together – if needs be, I step in and help them navigate these interactions.
Quiet time gives them the opportunity to decide, for themselves, how they are going to manage their own time.
Some days, my children choose to sleep or rest. Oftentimes, I find my son just relaxing in his bed doing nothing. This is exactly what he needs. Throughout the day my son gets overstimulated, during quiet time, his room becomes a sanctuary of quietness – just for him. It is his time to renew and relax. After quiet time is over, he is more stable and more jovial as we continue with the rest of our evening.
Quiet Time Boundaries
Quiet time is a designated time period in my home. It happens from 1pm - 3pm every day, including Sundays (depending on when our Church service is).
Without fail at 12:45 pm, I am preparing my children for quiet time – making sure they are fed and have gone to the bathroom.
For the younger kids, I set out books, toys, and specific items of interest for them. I put up a gate on their bedroom door and I share that it is quiet time and that they get to play by themselves for a while.
For the older kids, I allow them to color, play with playdough, build puzzles or with blocks, etc. in different parts of the house. I share with them that this is their time to do quiet activities. I also make it clear that I am going to be reading and doing mom things during quiet time.
When there are big disagreements or fights, of course, I tend to the situation. If I am interrupted in my quiet time activities three times in a row, I will pause and remind them. I will ask them to tell me or show me their creation after quiet time is over.
Ideas for Quiet Time:
You can give your kid ideas of how to spend quiet time, reading, napping, coloring, doing puzzles, etc.
This can be a time when your kid can play freely in his room and find that there is space for him to just be.
What Quiet Time is Not
This is not a time for media or movies. If media is brought in, it defeats the purpose of self-discovery and self-motivated play. I highly discourage media during the quiet time.
If your child demands media and throws a fit, let them. Reestablish that you love them and that this time is set aside for them to take time for themselves.
Starting Quiet Time:
Have a discussion and share the changes that are going to be happening at a designated time every day. I have personally chosen the afternoon because my younger kids are tired and need a nap while my older kids are a little restless and need to get their energy out and explore with building or mental stimulation.
At first, quiet time can be hard:
1) they may want out of their rooms
2) they want a snack
3) They're bored
4) This is new, and they are all alone, etc.
The list is long, and you will find the tactics your child uses to get out of this. Hold true! It will take a couple of weeks of consistent effort to see the beauty of quiet time.
The key is to hold true.
A PRO TIP: I have found that when I spend time with each of my children throughout the morning – especially if I connect with them through their love language – that they are more adjusted and happier during quiet time. Real and quality interactions with them will help you prime the quality of their quiet time experience.
The QUIET TIME Promise:
More time to rejuvenate yourself.
Getting things done that need to be done during the day - paying bills, calling someone back, setting up appointments (doctors, hair, etc).
It sets a tone for your child to learn how to self-entertain, self-soothe, self-motivate, and to sit with one’s emotions.
More play time - unmanaged and completely free. Your child needs to play, it is how they work through the hard feelings they have and to express themselves in exploring ways.
I am now a military wife and I have found that the life changing practice of quiet time has seen me through deployments, uncertainties, and, in general, my own sanity. Quiet time has allowed me to reach the needs of my home more easily and to develop different passions that I have. Quiet time is a reprieve and a special time that you dedicated every day to the building of yourself and your home.
Every other part of the day, I dedicate to the rearing of my children and to the beautifying of our life together. I enjoy the way quiet time continues to shape our home and the needs of my children. If you are wanting more time to yourself, I suggest waking up early and carving out special time for yourself before the day begins.