There is a sacred time that occurs here at casa de phillips on most days between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 pm.
We call it Quiet Time and it is glorious.
Many of you may be scratching your heads and thinking, “Aren’t their kids starting to get a bit old for naps?”
The answer to that question, my friends, is “Yes and No.”
Allow me to explain.
Most homes in suburbia are quiet around 5:30am. Rooms are still dark. The only sounds that can be heard are the soft ins and outs of breathing as family members continue to slumber.
Here at casa de phillips, around 5:30am the pace is a bit more…interesting.
Usually one can find someone attempting to hide a light while he/she plays covertly in their room.
A little girl might be spied with dress up clothes already put on over her pajamas.
The mother of the household is gone during that time, working off that peppermint mocha at the gym while the father of the household is getting ready to head into work.
Although the children of casa de phillips are supposed to stay in bed, asleep, with lights off until at the very earliest 6 am, there are days when that does not happen. I cannot really blame these two early birds, as they are the off-spring of two early birds themselves. Because of our early wake-up time, a time of quiet in the afternoon is essential.
During the quiet time, the boy often reads and does independent school work. He also uses that time to create his newest invention (the latest is a recreation of Bowser’s Castle crafted from discarded boxes that is as tall as he is). The girl reads and usually naps for about 45 minutes or so. I have talked to other mothers, with children much older than mine, who also have a daily quiet time in their homes. It restores balance, creates a time of peace mid-day and helps mom gather her wits before the evening routine settles in.
isaac with his Mario that he made a few weeks ago during quiet time
I have had parents ask me how in the world I am able to get my two kiddos to observe quiet time. Because it has always been a part of our day from the beginning, the observation of this time is fairly easy. However, there are some basic tips that can help any household create a downtime for kiddos and parents during the day.
If a house has not had a quiet time and wants to create one, parents must provide guidelines for children in order for them to understand what they need to do (and not do) during this time. In our house, Evelyn must be in bed during quiet time because she still needs to fall asleep most days. Her brother, however, is allowed to play quietly in his room once his school work/reading have been finished. These guidelines allow the children to understand what is expected of them during quiet time. They know they are allowed to leave their rooms to use the restroom, but must quickly return until quiet time is over.
Create an activity box
Some children do not understand how to do “quiet.” If this is the case, provide a box of quiet activities for the child to enjoy during quiet time. This can include books, crayons, paper, soft toys and stuffed animals. Children have to be taught how to play quietly as it is natural for them to be loud and use their bodies in dynamic ways. Providing a focused tool that can be utilized during quiet time enables kids to successfully remain quiet during the set time. Remember to only allow the child access to the box during quiet time to keep it special.
Have a beginning and an end.
Sending kids to their rooms to “be quiet” for an indefinite amount of time will prove to be unsuccessful and frustrating. Let kids know when quiet time begins and when it will end. Provide a clock so the child can be in charge of knowing when quiet time is over (even very young kids can read the hour on a digital clock…both of mine have had clocks since around the age of three).
Plan for the “after”.
In our house, after quiet time is over we have snack. If the weather is nice, the kids go outside. Sometimes we also go on errands after quiet time, depending on our supper plan. After being still and peaceful for a set amount of time, children will need space to exert some energy. Allowing them to do so will also make for a more peaceful dinner and evening routine.
When the children were little, I never let them miss a nap. We worked our entire schedule around their sleep patterns. This is not something that works for everyone, but it worked for us. Their sleep was important and we made it a priority. Now that they are big, we do not make a big deal to be home for a rest time everyday (nor does our schedule allow us to be home every afternoon). However, on days that we are home, quiet time is essential. We are consistent with our quiet time routine and let the kids know when there might be a change in the routine. Consistency allows kids to know what to expect and when to expect it.
Do you observe a quiet time with your children at home? If so, how do you go about doing it?