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Stay Sane with Your Children by Adopting a Quiet Time Ritual

A young child lying on the floor and coloring during quiet time.

Learning how to slow down, rest, and focus on quiet activities offers many benefits for both children and adults. Here’s why establishing daily quiet time could help everyone maintain their sanity.

Given the current state of things, incorporating some regular quiet time in your daily schedule isn’t only advised, it’s necessary. Parents are struggling to stay on top of work, household chores, and schooling their children.

Meanwhile, kids might feel burnt out from too much screen time or worrying about the future. Needless to say, we all need a break. Working some quiet time into your daily schedule will provide just that.

How Quiet Time Benefits Kids

You might be desperate for a midafternoon break, but feel guilty at the thought of shushing your rambunctious child for an entire hour. Here’s the good news: kids actually benefit from quiet time, too.

Here are some of the great things that can happen when your child gets a healthy dose of quiet time:

  • Enhanced focus and attention: Children can easily be overstimulated, jumping from one activity to the next. By working alone in a quiet space, they’re able to focus more easily on the task at hand, such as putting together a puzzle without assistance.
  • Time for rest: Even if your child doesn’t nap, just having some “downtime” will help him or her reset for the rest of the day. This might help reduce meltdowns or fights with siblings. If you have babies and toddlers, try these tricks to help them nap longer.
  • Boost confidence and independence: If you’re constantly guiding your child’s activities, he doesn’t have time to see what he can do by himself. Alone time will give him the opportunity to explore the world around him in a new way.
  • Embracing boredom: We strive to keep our kids engaged, entertained, and stimulated. However, boredom is a good thing. It allows children to learn to feel okay without constant stimulation. It also helps them develop mindfulness, which is an excellent self-soothing skill.
  • Boost creativity: Having an empty space to just “be” allows the mind to wander. It’s in this space that creativity is born.

If you ever feel bad for enforcing quiet time, just remember the beneficial and enriching skills that are being strengthened in the process.

Break Time for Parents

A man relaxing in a chair with headphones on during quiet time.

Maybe you’re also juggling a full-time job while the kids are stuck at home. Or, perhaps you have loud, demanding, and exuberant children, who zap every ounce of your energy. Whatever the case, carving out a daily break is essential to help parents remain patient, loving, and sane.

Sure, your to-do list is probably overwhelmingly long. However, try to use quiet time to rest, rejuvenate, or practice some mindfulness, even if it’s just for 10 or 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised how recharged you’ll feel afterward!

If you have the time, spoil yourself with a power nap, but make sure you do it properly. Alternatively, you can sit outside with a cup of tea, catch up on your summer reading list, listen to an audiobook, or even take a walk if someone’s around to watch the kids.

How to Implement Quiet Time

The goal is to make quiet time a positive experience that everyone will grow to love. After all, if your child screams and protests the whole time, it defeats the purpose and just adds even more stress.

Ease them in by starting with a 15-minute block, and then increase the time by five minutes every day until you reach an hour. Just think: an entire hour during which the house is completely silent. Ah, what bliss!

For children who are completely resistant to this plan, try offering an incentive to get them through it. For example, you might promise a bike ride, a trip to the pool, or even some screen time after they successfully complete an hour of quiet time. Having something exciting to think about can help them during this period of stillness.

Eventually, they’ll learn to love and appreciate a small break from the chaos and excitement of their busy days.

Quiet Time Activities

A young boy playing with LEGOs.
Kamelia Llieva/Shutterstock

Every child enjoys different things. Some might enjoy just lounging around their room and daydreaming during quiet time. Others might need some form of stimulation to keep them from going stir crazy. Try to find the perfect balance for your child and tweak it as her interests change.

Here are some activities that work well during quiet time:

  • Reading: There are some excellent reading programs you might want to check out. If your child is too young to read, encourage her to look at her picture books during quiet time.
  • Writing: Get your child a journal and encouraging him to write down his ideas, dreams, goals, and feelings. You can also ask him write a letter to his grandparents—they’ll love receiving a handwritten letter.
  • Drawing: Set up a station for your child to doodle, draw, paint, color, and express herself creatively. Then, create fun ways to display the artwork.
  • Audiobooks: Listening to an audiobook with headphones is a great way to pause and slow down. And guess what? Audible is offering free stories for kids who are stuck at home!
  • Puzzles: Diving into a puzzle is an excellent way to spend quiet time. Set up a table so your child can work on larger puzzles over several days.

There are plenty of other options, like Play-Doh, origami, knitting, Legos, and more. Whatever piques your child’s interest will work, as long as he can remain fairly quiet while doing it. However, it’s important to avoid screen time during quiet time, as it can be overly stimulating and leave your kids feeling drained afterward.

Quiet time gives the whole family a chance to slow down, embrace stillness, and develop mindfulness. It also helps everyone “reset” for the rest of the day. Eventually, everyone will learn to love and appreciate having this time to dive deeper into personal tasks, thoughts, or creative expression.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »
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