Quiet Time For Kids: A Precious Gift For Tired Parents

I am a great advocator of quiet time and feel it is an essential part of your child’s daily routine as they grow. But what is it, why is it so good, and how can you maximise this precious time?

What Is Quiet Time for Kids?

Importance of Quiet Time for Kids

So why is quiet time so important to the overall well-being and development of your child?

Quiet Time For Kids Featured

Establishing a Quiet Time Routine

On top of all the benefits listed above, establishing a quiet time routine can be a great way to give both you and your child a much-needed break during the day.

So how can you establish this all-important part of your little one’s daily routine as they grow?

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Make Quiet Time A Part Of Your Daily Routine

As you previously did with nap times, try to schedule quiet time at the same time of day, so your child knows what to expect.

This could be after lunch, before nap time, or in the late afternoon. A predictable routine can help your child feel more secure and calm.

2. Create A Calm And Quiet Environment

Choose a space in your home where your child can relax and unwind. This does not necessarily need to be their bedroom although that is a perfectly acceptable location.

Alternatives could be a cosy corner with pillows and blankets… Or a designated quiet time for kids area with books and toys.

Make sure the space is free from distractions or screens like TV or loud music.

3. Set Clear Expectations

Let your child know what is expected of them during quiet time. This could include reading quietly, playing with quiet toys, or simply resting.

Use positive language and be clear and consistent with your expectations. Do not be harsh with your quiet time rules, but you can also use a visual timer so your child knows how long they have left for their downtime. (Sand timers work great!)

4. Be Flexible

While it’s important to have a routine, it’s also important to be flexible. If your child is having a hard time settling down, try adjusting the routine or activities.

You could also try incorporating calming activities like deep breathing or simple yoga.

5. Make It Enjoyable

Quiet time doesn’t have to be boring!

Encourage your child to choose activities they enjoy, like colouring or listening to music. You could also read a book together or play a quiet game.

By establishing a quiet time routine, you can help your child develop important skills while also giving yourself a much-needed break.

Remember to be patient and flexible, and to make it an enjoyable experience for both you and your little one.

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Promoting Self-Directed Play

Quiet time for kids is going to be more successful and beneficial if your little one is able to play and explore alone.

Some children find it easier than others and there are things you can do to ensure your little one is able to entertain themselves and set them on the right path to self-directed play.

Encouraging self-directed play is a great way to help your little one learn to entertain themselves but you need to offer the right kind of activities and most importantly you need to show them how to do it.

To promote self-directed play, provide your child with a variety of toys and materials that they can use to entertain themselves. These can include things like blocks, dolls, art supplies, books and puzzles. It’s also important to give your child space and time to play without interruption.

Designated quiet time is an ideal time to set aside to encourage self-directed play. During this time, your child can choose what they want to do and how they want to do it.

If your little one is struggling to engage in this type of play alone it is OK for you to help them on their way.

Quiet Time Activities

When it comes to quiet time activities for kids, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are a few ideas and quiet time toys to help keep your child entertained during their quiet time:

Melissa & Doug Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Bundle For Kids, Ages 3+

These classic 24-piece wooden puzzles are easy to grasp, lift and fit together to create bright scenes of the ocean, being on safari and walking among dinosaurs! Perfect for a quiet afternoon toddler activity, these puzzles will be a wonderful addition to any toy box.

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My Favourite
Crayola 48 Washable Sidewalk Chalk Set: Assorted Bright Colors

This set of vibrant chalk sticks will give your little one endless opportunities to get creative! With an anti-roll shape, washable properties and a bright array of colours, it is the perfect companion for any play session.

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Paula's Pick
Lovevery Building Block Set

Possibly the most comprehensive wooden block set ever created!

This beautiful and brilliantly designed wood block set promotes spatial, language, and problem-solving skills through bright and solid wood building blocks, planks, shapes, people, magnetic wheels and dowels with a toggle string. All are safely kept in a wooden storage box and a cotton drawstring bag for storage at the end of a busy day!

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Quiet Time And Screen Time

In my opinion, quiet time should not include screen time.

Screen time needs to be well monitored especially in the very young and quiet time is certainly not the time or place to be introducing screens to your little one.

It has now been well documented that too much screen time for young children can lead to behavior problems, delays in language and social skills development, and limited attention span.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends limiting screen use to one hour per day of high-quality programming for children between the ages of 2 and 5.

For children under 2, no screen time is recommended other than video calls or chats with relatives or close friends.

To avoid disruptions during quiet time, it’s best to avoid electronics altogether. This includes televisions, tablets, and smartphones.

Instead, encourage your child to engage in quiet activities such as reading, drawing, or playing with quiet toys.

By limiting screen time and encouraging quiet activities, you can help your child develop important skills and habits that will benefit them in the long run.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly through a healthy nighttime routine? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions About Quiet Time For Kids

Looking for more information about quiet time for children? Here are the answers to the most common questions.

How Long Should Quiet Time Be For A 3 Year Old?

Quiet time for a 3-year-old should be around 30 minutes to 45 minutes. It’s important to remember that every child is different, so adjust the time based on your child’s needs and personality.

For example, if your child is starting quiet time for the first time, start with 10-15 minutes and gradually add to this as they get used to spending some quiet time by themselves.

How Long Should Quiet Time Be For A 4 Year Old?

Quiet time for a 4-year-old should be around 45 minutes to an hour. Again, adjust the time based on your child’s needs and personality.

What Are Some Quiet Time Activities For 4 Year Olds?

Some quiet time activities for 4-year-olds include reading books, coloring, playing with puzzles, building with blocks, and playing with quiet toys like stuffed animals or dolls.

What Are Some Good Quiet Time Music Options For Young Children?

Classical music or instrumental music without lyrics is a good option for quiet time. You can find playlists on streaming services or create your own playlist with calming music.

What Counts As Quiet Time?

Quiet time is a period of the day when your child spends time alone doing independent and quiet activities. It can be in their room or play area, and they can read books, color, play with quiet toys, or do any other activity that is calming.

What Is A Quiet Zone For Kids?

A quiet zone is a designated area in your home where your child can go to have quiet time. This can be a specific room or a corner in a room that is comfy and away from the busy parts of the household. Make sure to have soft furnishings or cushions and calming activities and toys available in the designated area.

What Age Do Kids Stop Doing Quiet Time?

Every child is different, but typically children stop doing quiet time around the age of 5 or 6 when they start going to school full time. However, I would encourage quiet time beyond this age as many children will still benefit from some daily downtime (especially if they have had a hectic day at school).

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.