When our eldest outgrew her nap I struggled with losing that quiet time for myself. I needed it! The three-month-old was napping. Why was now the time for the toddler to drop a nap?? I also noticed she and I were both able to handle late afternoons better when we had our afternoon quiet time. Since those early days, the lines blur as to just how quiet time came about in our home. I do remember in recent years reading some new ideas in Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well Trained Mind.

However it came to be, quiet time is just that. Quiet. Everybody in their own spot. Separate and away. Each afternoon the baby naps and the rest are (ideally) quiet.

The rules: Everyone gathers what they need. Each one goes to a bedroom or other area of the house away from everyone else.  No coming out of your room for that pair of scissors you forgot or a for a new coloring book. No calling mom. No computer. No tv. Put things back when quiet time is over. Enjoy having a bit of quiet in a blessed, busy household!

Children can:

  • Read booksDSCN5094
  • Listen to the radio
  • Listen to a book on CD/tape (lots at the library!)
  • Color, work on an art project
  • Use their imagination – play with anything in the room
  • Write a letter, add to a journal

To start out reluctant quiet-timers, we focused on the child’s current favorite. Our eldest boy loved the Audubon First Field Guides. As an emerging reader, he would sit for as long as an adult would and listen to details on birds, insects, etc. My mother borrowed a few of the guides and read them on tape for him. For his quiet time he would gather his stack of guides and pop in the day’s topic.

Usually the child that is currently outgrowing a nap will have quiet time close to me.

Mom gets quiet time too! Yes you can catch up on household chores but make sure you allow yourself at least 15 minutes of something enjoyable. Have a cup of coffee, catch up on emails (mom is allowed computer time), prop your feet up. Apple Pie has a  list of refreshing ideas just for mom.

When quiet time is over it’s tea time and/or outside time. Since everyone has been apart for a while, usually siblings get along better and are so ready to play!

Know that in a perfect world all children obey and are quiet for the designated time. Be prepared for training moments. Also know that, as with any new habit, it takes practice. Like room time, you may want to start with a short time and work up to the amount of time you desire.

Ah. It’s quiet time.

Updated posts on afternoon quiet time:

-Tricia homeschools five children from preschool to middle school, mixing up a classical and Charlotte Mason style. You can find her facing that daily dose of chaos at Hodgepodge. She contributes a mixture of writing for The Curriculum Choice, $5 Dinners, Passionate Purposeful Parenting and is a.k.a. Hodgepodgemom.