When your child transitions out of naps, it can be one of the most devastating events of all motherhood! It can leave us reeling for months. Especially if your toddler is like mine and still needs a nap but won't take one. Ugh! Melt downs every two seconds over stuff like I pressed play on the wrong episode of Paw Patrol or I put his green juice in the yellow cup instead of the orange cup. Well, you may not be able to force your child to take a nap, but you can enforce Quiet Time. Quiet time is a set amount of time each day that your child will focus on a simple activity (no screens!), ideally by themselves. The solitary component of quiet time is what actually reaps a lot of the benefits of doing it. At first, it may be difficult for your child to get used to, especially if they are used to a lot of stimulation throughout the day. I think the results are so great, you will definitely want to try and incorporate quiet time into your day with your kids, no matter their age.
Important Components of Quality Quiet Time Include:
Alone time for the child (be available but not present, if age appropriate).
Quiet and simple activities that do not involve screens (activities may include coloring, puzzles, books on their own, building, legos, etc.).
Let the child decide how he or she wants to spend the time in the given parameters.
Try to minimize distractions.
Do it for a set amount of time as part of their daily routine. Start small and increase it as your child gets used to it.
Now for Some of the Benefits:
Quiet Time teaches kids how to be alone.This is an important skill in life. Kids who have quiet time are more confident and feel less lonely, even if they are alone. Building a relationship with oneself is an art and it takes time and practice, but it is a relationship that will keep giving as time goes on.
Quiet Time builds leadership and problem solving skills.When a child is left alone to occupy their time, they can use their creativity and self-directed interests to fill it. This will also require that they solve their own problems in their own way. Such opportunities build confidence in children when they are able to see the results of their own thinking and creativity.
Quiet Time increases attention span.
When a child can focus on one simple task, their attention span can increase without interruptions in their thought process or in their imaginary world they have created. When my son plays with his Tegu Blocks or Legos, he can be all consumed in his own little world for hours. His abilities to focus and concentrate have also served him well in school and when he's trying to learn a new skill.
Quiet Time can improve sleep.When a child is not used to silence, it can be unnerving to them when they are faced with it in the middle of the night. Also, part of the reason why we sleep is because our brains need to process all of the information and stimuli we received during the day. If we get a chance to slow down for a part of the day and process some of those things before we go to sleep, we just may sleep more peacefully.
Quiet Time can minimize boredom.
If a child is constantly being entertained and his brain stimulated, as soon as all the action stops, the child may process it as being bored and could be uncomfortable in handling the situation. They may even act out to increase the energy level of their situation to relieve that boredom or uncomfortable feeling since they do not know how to handle it. When a child is used to having to come up with activities for themselves, they will be less bored and more comfortable with a low-key environment.
Given that we are a community of moms, parents, and people in this together, we want to hear from you! With all of these amazing effects from Quiet Time, will you try it? Do you already do it? What are some things you have noticed when you incorporate Quiet Time into your day? Tell us in the comments!
Written by Callie Lippard