Toddler years are the first time your little one is becoming more aware of routine and finding his sense of security in the rhythms of his daily routine. This period is a wonderful time to introduce Quiet time for Kids.
If you are still new to this concept, let us start at the very beginning,
WHAT IS QUIET TIME FOR KIDS
Quiet time is a short period of time during the day when your child engages in independent play and exploration.
The aim is to build some form of down time in a busy day for the child when he can spend time in quiet exploration or calming activities.
Children can spend time in their room/quiet spot of the room with books, puzzles or quiet activities/toys.
There are many benefits of of quiet time for toddlers, I have listed a few below.
Related reading : Low-prep indoor activities for toddlers.
IMPORTANCE OF QUIET TIME FOR KIDS
- Quiet time reinforces from childhood the importance of downtime in our day. Taking breaks from hectic schedules is not only good for the brain but also keeps the child energized and ready to take on the second part of the day.
- Helps the caregiver take a breather and recharge.
- We all know boredom gives birth to creativity. Adding Quiet time in the day we encourage our children to create and come up with their own ideas for play.
- Children learn to take charge. Quiet time is another great way to give children the autonomy they seek, which in turn drives motivation and confidence in self.
Related reading : Easy activities to do with a toddler at home
HOW TO SET UP QUIET TIME FOR KIDS
A good time to start quiet time is when the toddler has started skipping afternoon naps. Quiet time helps reinforce the idea that down time is an essential part of the day.
For toddlers set up a corner with a quiet time bin or shelf that include simple activities like puzzles, coloring books, lift and flap books for the child to engage in.
Start with 5 minutes a day slowly increasing the time each week by 5 minutes.
In a few weeks’ time the child should be comfortable with 20-30 minutes of quiet time.
Encourage your child to take charge. Discuss beforehand what the would like set up in his/her Quiet space.
WHAT TO DO WHEN TODDLER REFUSES QUIET TIME?
It is not recommended to force children into routines. If your child doesn’t enjoy quiet time, maybe he/she is not yet ready for alone time.
Take a break from introducing Quiet time and focus on other activities your child enjoys at the moment.
Maybe your child is seeking more time with you, over independent play. Fill the child’s cup with love and attention. Once that need is met it will be easier to introduce quiet time.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH QUIET TIME
We started quiet time when our son was 2.5 years old. He had dropped his afternoon nap and I was looking for a way to get him used to the concept of down time.
At 2.5 years we started with 5-minute increases in quiet time each week and soon enough he was comfortable with about 20 minutes of quiet time every day. I used to show him the hands of the clock so he had an idea of when we stop.
Quiet time activities for 2-3 year olds : I mostly set up lift and flap books, sticker books, puzzles, coloring books, invitation to play activities and sensory bins during the toddler years.
Toddlers will need some hand-holding with open ended activities set up by you and a visual for time. Don’t expect much at this stage and definitely don’t make it hard on them with too many rules. Keep things simple and go with the flow.
Quiet time activities for 4+ year olds : In time he started taking charge of his quiet time and set up on his own mostly using art and craft supplies and open-ended toys like magnetic tiles and construction sets.
Now, quiet time is a time he uses to work on his own ideas.
Another favorite at his age is audiobooks. On days he doesn’t want to do anything he sits with an audiobook.
I started quiet time with an intention to give both of us a break in-between the day, but, over the years I have seen immense benefits of such an activity with regards to how it builds his creativity, confidence, keeps him calm on emotionally rough days, builds his focus and internal drive to keep trying and pursuing on self-created goals.
None of these were benefits I went after intentionally, but seeing these characteristics develop has helped me appreciate unstructured play and importance of having open ended toys in the child’s environment.
If you are looking for a way to encourage self-directed work in your children, give quiet time a try. It is easy to include into your daily rhythms, doesn’t necessarily have to be afternoon time. Any 20–30-minute time of the day when general activity in the house is less is a good spot to include some quiet play time for kids.
Down time is very important for all of our well-being not just for children.
Let me know in the comments below are you ready to try quiet time. If you have any questions about quiet time for kids I am happy to answer them for you.