When your baby stops napping, quiet time is the next best thing. Check out this quiet time routine free printable!
Quiet time is amazing, if your kid will do it. My 4 year old is super extraverted and wants to be around people 24/7. I on the other hand, need a break from all people and noise throughout the day or I go crazy. When my son stopped napping I quickly realized that quiet time wasn’t going to be his favorite thing. I tried everything from busy boxes to candy bribery, and in the end just let him watch a bunch of TV on days he didn’t have preschool.
The busy boxes were great, but they didn’t last very long, and were a pain to clean up. It made quiet time seem like a huge chore, and he actually wasn’t that quiet. The candy bribery just made me feel like a terrible mom because every five seconds he would come ask for more and I’d give in, just wanting him to leave me alone. The TV was amazing. He could watch for four hours straight, but I of course felt like an even worse mom because it was all he ever wanted to do once he got in the TV “zone”.
I bounced back and forth between the three of these methods for about a year and tried a few other things but nothing was really working. Preschool was the only thing that was saving me. Then my 18 month old went through a no-nap stint and I seriously didn’t know if I would survive!! Luckily I had a spark of inspiration and realized quiet time could be a ROUTINE. I thought about all the things they actually do that are quiet and figured that maybe if they switch off between them, they’d like it a lot more.
I think of it like stations. Each station lasts for about a half hour, giving me two full hours of uninterrupted (for the most part) quiet time. I’ve been doing it for over a month now and IT IS MAGIC!!
The first station is reading books in their rooms with the door shut. They can play with any toys that are already in there too as long as they’re quiet. This gives me a sure, immediate break. (sometimes I reward them with juice or a snack and my 4 year old thinks it’s the coolest thing to get to take it in his room)
The next station is doing an art project. I have a little kids desk set up in my office so they can come paint, color, or do play-do while I work on whatever I need to. This is the “loudest” part of quiet time and they occasionally ask me to help them do something, but because i got a good half hour of them in their rooms I can handle it. I keep any sort of play-do or art supplies in a bin in my office for easy cleanup.
The third station is doing something educational on the ipad. I have a few educational apps downloaded and he can choose which one he wants to do.
The fourth station is the biggest reward in my 4-year-olds eyes. If he’s been quiet through all the other stations then he gets to watch whatever show he wants. Having this last is definitely the key to success, and it allows you to let them binge for a minute if you have a lot to get done, without feeling like you let them watch hours upon hours.
You can create your own Quiet Time Routine based on your children’s interest, or use this free printable. I would love to hear how it goes so definitely let me know! Also if you’re having a hard time finding freedom in motherhood, check out our Motherhood challenge!