For the past several years (especially in the summer when all my kids are home), we have a daily “quiet time”. It has been a game-changer for our summer routine and has been so beneficial for me and even more for the kids! If you’re feeling like a quiet time would never work for your family, hopefully these tips will help you get it started and make it work for you.
Quiet Time: What is it?
Our quiet time is typically a 1-hour period during the day when everyone is in a separate room of the house and plays quietly on their own. I can’t even tell you how beneficial quiet time is for our entire family. We typically have it after lunch (which is also when my toddlers would nap when we were in that phase of life).
It not only gives me a chance to recharge and have a few moments of peace, but it’s incredibly beneficial for my kids. With a big family, there’s a lot of stimulation, noise, and constant energy. Quiet time give the kids a moment to be alone. It gives them a chance to play on their own. It encourages their creativity and helps them build the skill of self-entertainment. I also notice that my kids are often incredibly creative during quiet time and I love seeing the things they come up with during that time each day.
Our quiet time rules are as follows:
- No screens
- Everyone in a different room
- Stay inside your room
- Clean up before you come out
Quiet Time: How do I start?
We’ve spent years working on our quiet time skills and it takes work and persistence to implement, but is SO worth it.
Here are 6 tips to get your started:
- Start SMALL. Don’t expect your kids to go from no quiet time to one full hour right at the beginning. Start with 5 minutes. Do that for a few days, complimenting your kids along the way, and slowly add more time until you get to your desired time span.
- Make it FUN. If you talk about quiet time like a punishment, it will feel like a punishment. Try getting some “quiet time only” toys that your kids are excited about. We also have a quiet time treat basket and the kids get to choose a special treat as they enter quiet time.
- Set your kids up for SUCCESS. We have a bunch of different types of toys in bins and I usually let the kids pick a couple bins to take into quiet time with them (in addition to some books). You want them to have some objects or crafts or items they can be creative with so they don’t feel like they’re just stuck in a room for an hour with nothing to do.
- Get them a CLOCK. It won’t feel very peaceful to you if your child is asking every 2 minutes how much time is left. They need to be able to track their own quiet time without asking you. My older kids have clocks already in their bedrooms that they use. Toddlers could use a timer, or light-up-clock if they can’t tell time yet.
- Be PERSISTENT. Depending on the child, this could take time to implement. In the beginning, they may resist quiet time. They might come out of their room over and over again and you will need to take them by the hand and walk them back in each time. If you are committed and stay persistent, they will learn that you mean business. I have had kids who resisted more than others, but after being consistent, the ones who resisted most have benefited most and shown the most creativity in quiet time.
- Keep them IN their room. I’ve used a child-lock door knob in the past to prevent children from coming out of their room during quiet time. Especially in the beginning (when you’re right outside the room anyway), this can help them learn the skill of staying in their room faster than you taking them back in each time they come out.
I am not exaggerating when I say that quiet time is one of the best routines we’ve implemented with our family. It’s taught my kids patience, creativity, independent thinking, and routine. It allows us all a re-charge in the middle of the day and when we all come together again we’re rested and happy to start the second half of the day.
No, it doesn’t always go perfectly. There are sometimes bumps and obstacles that come up (especially in the beginning), but the pros FAR outweigh the cons. And if you’re somehow feeling guilty for implementing a quiet time for your kids, I can promise you that it’s JUST as beneficial for them as it is for you!
Our Favorite Quiet Time Clocks
Our Favorite Quiet Time Toys
I hope you’ve found these quiet time tips helpful! If you have any additional tips or questions, I’d love to hear them in the comments.
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