Keep Calm and Carry On
- What: Quiet time for kids
- When: Three years and up
- Why: Learn valuable skills, entertain themselves,
- Where: Your home
I rebranded nap time many years ago when my firstborn was four years old, much like I rebranded my old closet as a nook. But I’m still reaping the benefits of this spontaneous decision and hope you can, too.
My four year old sometimes needed a nap, and sometimes didn’t. I opted for the try and see method, but my son had lots of resistance to the idea of sleep during the day, despite his crappy mood. So I started calling it quiet time. He had to remain in his room quietly with the door closed for 30 minutes. What do you know, if he stopped talking, even with the lights on, he often fell asleep on his own. When he didn’t, I knew he didn’t need the extra sleep as much, and we could go about the rest of our day without worrying about meltdowns or him crashing somewhere.
If he managed the full 30 minute time period without coming out or making enough noise to get a warning, he got rewarded with 30 minutes of screen time of his choosing. (We programmed his screen with shows so we didn’t have to worry about inappropriate content.) You could offer other incentives if you don’t want to use screen time, though I found the extra half hour of quiet priceless with three kids in the house.
As a reward for my 12 hour days and no weekends, no benefits, and no salary, I got an hour of time on my own – assuming I wasn’t spending it with his younger siblings. In later years, it worked great to keep the house calm during naps for those same younger siblings.
Now it’s been almost a year since anyone in our household (besides me) has needed a daily nap, but the quiet time joy continues. My kids ask for quiet time. While we don’t have time to do it on a daily basis for the kids who attend school full time, it still comes in handy during school breaks, vacations, and just about any other long days at home together.
Somehow I’ve never used quiet time to put up my feet, binge watch Netflix, or even read a book or magazine. But I still have mom fantasies and luckily, my kids still love quiet time.