Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Life Changing Magic of Quiet Time

Linking up with Sweet Little Ones for some Tuesday Talk! 

We are big fans of quiet time.  Well, 2/3 of our household are big fans of quiet time.  Luke claims he doesn't like it but seeing as he doesn't really complain and seems pretty happy during it, I think he hates it much less than he likes to think he does.

Last summer, at 3 and some odd months, Luke started to resist and give up his naps.  I wrote about that struggle then.  My introvert self wasn't ready to give up that block of (mostly) silence in the middle of the afternoon.  I love spending time with Luke but I think it's good for both of us to get a break halfway through the day.  (And a recent day where quiet time got all kinds of messed up showed...we really need that break in the day, all of us.)  It helps me hold my patience a little better through those trying mornings and refreshes us all for the late afternoon/evening.  It's probably not for every kid and family but it has worked really well for us so far!

Here's how we do it.

1) Consistency
Other than holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), weekends at the lake, and the super occasional day out of the house (like 5 times a year), quiet time happens every day, approximately 1:30-3:30.  After lunch is cleaned up and a bathroom break, we head upstairs.  Luke knows it happens even if Dad is home.  Even if we've had a busy day out of the house, we are almost guaranteed to be home during those hours.  Keeping it very consistent means there's no (or less) battles over if it is going to happen.

2) Toys just for quiet time
One big thing that helped him like quiet time was keeping toys in his room primarily for quiet time.  His Duplos have been up there almost constantly for 6+ months and he plays with them every. single. day.  His Star Wars "guys" also live in his room and get played with almost daily.  He has a ton of books in his room (Berenstain Bears are an overwhelming favorite right now).  All of these things could come downstairs or he could play with them other times of the day but he rarely does.  They are for quiet time and they keep him busy!

3) Set time limit
Two hours.  It's always the same.  No matter how late we start, it's two hours.

4) Lock the door (but still can hear)
This might sound mean, but we latch his door shut.  None of our (80 year old) doors have a lock but his door can't easily be opened from the inside (something I found out the very hard way when Luke latched it with us both inside before quiet time one day.  It was a panicked 10 minutes until I got it open.  Luckily Luke hasn't been able to duplicate my method).  If we don't latch the door he is downstairs every 10 minutes.  We still keep a baby monitor in his room so I can hear if he needs to go to the bathroom or if he's yelling for me.  And he doesn't really mind the door latched, doesn't even mention it anymore.

5) Settle him down
We start quiet time with a story and then we've gotten in the habit of building some Duplos together.  It helps settle him down and gets him playing with his Duplos or having books laid out for him to look at and gives him some last Mom or Dad time (and us some Luke time) before the door is shut.

Am I using my child as an excuse to fulfill my own childhood dream of owning all the Berenstain Bear books?  Why, yes I am. 

6) No expectation of sleep
I gave up on this months ago.  I don't expect him to sleep.  He super rarely does (maybe once every other week).  It was much easier when I just stopped expecting him to.

I don't know how much longer we will keep this up but I have no plans to stop anytime soon!  If he gets to be a big brother he'll be sharing a room eventually so that or kindergarten will probably determine when we stop! For now, huge fans and it's helped us all keep our sanity a little bit more.

How long did your kids nap?  Any other quiet time converts?  

 Sweet Little Ones

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