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Quiet Time

Child with building blocks

So it is time for you little to transition out of napping. What a sad day! However it is better to preserve her night time consolidated sleep and this means she is getting older and her body does not need the day time sleep any more.
So, what is quiet time and what is its purpose?  Quiet time is when a child is alone, preferably in her bedroom, enjoying some down time.  She can be quietly playing in her room, reading books, putting together puzzles or whatever she enjoys to do, the key words being, quiet play. Sometimes these “quiet play” choices have to be predetermined by you, if that is the case, just have a few activities she can do during this time.  Even a special quiet time box of activities she gets to do during quiet time is helpful.
The purpose of it is to give everyone a break during what used to be nap time. It can help avoid tantrums, battles over rules and boundaries, etc.  It also is necessary when your child is transitioning out of a nap.

How does quiet time work? You would want to have quiet time during what used to be nap time.  So if nap time was at 12:30 pm, then that would be the time when quiet time would begin.  I suggest starting out with a small amount of time and working for more time.  Start out with 10 minutes of quiet time in her bedroom, set a timer, tell her she is to have quiet time in her room until the timer buzzes.  Tell her that once the timer buzzes she can come out of her room and do________.  I usually suggest this be a short TV show because usually that is motivating to children and can give you a little more down time.  Over time increase the timer by 5 minutes at a time until you get to 45-60 minutes of quiet time in her bedroom.  Still offer an incentive after she successfully completes quiet time in her bedroom.  The goal is for her to have 1-2 hours of down time.

Quiet time should happen around the time that nap time used to happen.  If you are transitioning out of a nap, quiet time should happen every day that she is at home and for at least 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks, her body should be used to not having day time sleep and then it is your choice if you want to keep quiet time or not.  I highly recommend the use of quiet time until your child begins school and when your child is in school, its very helpful during the summer.

What do you do when quiet time isn’t working?  The biggest reason quiet time does not work is because it is not happening every day that you are home or it is happening too late in the day and your child is over tired.  So be sure to stay consistent making it happen every day and start small.  The goal here is success.  So if your child can’t handle 10 minutes in her room, start out with 5 minutes.  Then praise, praise and praise her for doing what you have asked of her and make it seem interesting or something special that she gets to do.  She gets to do quiet time because she is such a big girl now . Talk it up.  Then when she chooses to come out of her room, give her one warning, after that if she comes out then she doesn’t get the incentive and keep walking her back to her room every time she comes out until the timer buzzes.

About the author

Shannon Glenn

Shannon Glenn is the owner and founder of Sleep Well Children Consulting and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist. She is dedicated to helping parents assist their children and babies in developing healthy sleep habits. With a B.A. in Psychology, Shannon has worked extensively with children and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings.  She has been offering sleep solutions for over six years.  

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