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Quiet Time: What it is and why you need it

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Spend enough time browsing the parenting side of the internet and you will no doubt hear the words "quiet time" thrown around. But what does it really mean? And why are the internet moms out there doing it?

What is quiet time?

Quiet time is a common name for a scheduled independent play time for kids. It can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or more. Independent play is any time kids are playing without the help or interference of adults. Typically quiet time is around an hour in the afternoon when your little one plays alone in another room without adults interrupting them (and without them interrupting you!) It is a great nap time replacement, but is also an important time for all kids (and adults) to rest and regroup.


Who needs quiet time?


Quiet time does not discriminate, it is for everyone! Independent play is a skill. Kids do not come hardwired with the ability to play, learn, and entertain themselves for long periods of time. Just like any skill, it takes practice! Insert, quiet time. From the day you bring your baby home, they can start to develop this skill! Ever feel like you don't have enough hours in the day to be a parent and get everything done around the house? Quiet time will completely solve all your problems!....

Okay maybe not all of them but it will give you one extra hour a day to do the things you want or need to do, and sometimes an hour can go a really long way!


Why do I need quiet time?

Kids learn and develop through play. Independent play is important for children's development of problem solving skills, imagination, creativity, persistence, and as the name suggests, independence. Kids interact with others and with their toys differently without adult intervention.

Have you ever been sitting alone watching your favorite show, only to have someone sit down next to you and start the world's worst game of rapid fire 20 questions (that you never asked to play)?

"Who is that? What are they doing? Wait, why did that just happen? Woah, who is that person though? Where did they come from? How did they get here? What happened before this? Where are they again? But isn't that person dating that other person? And who is that?"

(Anyone who has ever had a four year old can relate).

I think this is how kids feel sometimes when adults interrupt play. We, as adults, tend to (with the best possible intentions) interrupt an activity the child enjoys to quiz them endlessly about every shape, color, animal, sound, letter, and number until it is no longer fun for them.

You and your child both need a little alone time!

What does quiet time actually look like?

Quiet time will look a little different in every family and age group. For babies it may look like letting them play in their bouncer without intervening until they really need you. For toddlers it may look like phasing out their afternoon nap to be replaced with 30 minutes of quiet play time. For preschoolers it may look like an hour of completely independent play after school each day. Quiet time may take place in a playroom, a bedroom, the living room, or wherever there is a safe space with engaging toys to keep your child's interest and give you peace of mind! It could be with siblings playing together or separated, in the mornings or maybe it's in the evenings while you cook dinner. There is no one right answer for quiet time, so try some things out and see what works best for your family!

How do I start quiet time?

Pick a designated space,

You can always change it later.

Set up a routine that works for you

Like you would a nap or bedtime routine.

Set realistic expectations,

And remember that your little one is still learning this skill, it will take time and may be tough at the start!

Be consistent and persistent.

They may struggle or fight it at first, it is HARD practicing new things, but stick with it, they will get better the more they practice (even if the first few times last 2 minutes and end in meltdowns)!

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Full of more details on how you can get started setting up quiet time!


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