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Rest Time for non-nappers

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My boys are 5 and 3.  I really want to encourage a "down time" in early afternoon-- I think it is important that they have time to be quietly by themselves.  They, however, disagree.  There is always so much moaning and complaining!  Does anyone have advice about how to make a quiet time more palatable?  I'd love details on every aspect of how you do it.

post #2 of 8
Maybe they would do well with a more structured quiet time? Do they play/do projects independently? Google 'quiet time boxes' & you can get some good ideas of activities to rotate through with them.

My DS really won't play alone at all, so I have to include myself in his quiet time. Generally we listen to music (a playlist of his favorites) or audio stories, so he'll cuddle up with me while we listen. We don't do this every day, just when I REALLY need a break, so I'm not sure how well it would work as a daily thing. If I'm not too tired, I just read to him myself, it gets us both sitting quietly for a bit at least.

What is the goal of your quiet time efforts? Do you want them to self-entertain? Do you want them to give you a break & some space? Do you want them to rest their bodies? Take a break from over-stimulation? Any answer is valid but your goals might change our suggestions for you...
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the very helpful reply, crunchy mama.  My goal is to have them each:

  • practice being by themselves (especially DS2, who depends on his brother for all matter of entertainment)
  • have some more restful time for their very, very active bodies 
  • give me some downtime, too (I'm 31 weeks pregnant.)


I've never heard of the boxes you suggest; I'll go google those now.

post #4 of 8

Awesome question, I can't wait to read more replies!  I have two boys, ages 5 and 6, and we homeschool so I really understand your need for space and quiet time.  When my younger son napped, my older ds did great with looking at books for an hour in his bed (blessed!), but once ds2 stopped napping, he did not grasp the quiet time concept at all.  So, it turned into 2 boys playing in their room while I had quiet time.  That was fine for a while, but they're getting bigger and louder and I really do want them to find some value in having quiet moments to themselves and I also want to get them into independent reading.  SO, all that said, here is what we are trying:  they hate the idea of having to be quiet.  I am asking that we all sit in the family room together, each with a book or magnadoodle, journal, etc.  And I set the timer for 10 minutes.  I tell them that if they can get through the entire 10 minutes without talking then they get to do XYZ.  For us, that is their TV time for the day, so it's a pretty big reward.  I intend to increase the amount of time and then eventually get myself out of the equation so I can do whatever.  But at this point, even the 10 minutes of utter silence is pretty awesome!  Then they can watch TV for 30 minutes and I get a little more down time.


I don't know how well this will work with a three year old.  My just turned 5 year old who highly objects to quiet time needed a second chance on the 10 minutes of silence every day for the first week!  I tried really hard not to be frustrated and just gave him a quick SHH with an "oops" look on my face and he quieted back down.


If they can be in separate rooms, I might try audio books, magnadoodle, 3 small toys, etc.  And I would definitely step up the time gradually.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

GraceandGranola-  I like the idea of doing rest time in community-- and I think, once they are a little older, that might work.  But right now when they are together, they are loud.  :)  And they share a bedroom, so I've had to send one to my room each time.


We're at 30 minutes, but DS2 still comes out 1 or 2x during that period.


DS1 expressed an interest in having his own CDs to put in the CD player- I may try that.  But really, let's be honest-- my firstborn is not the problem.  He likes being alone and quiet.  It's my monkey boy who has a harder time.


So... any other suggestions targeting a 3 year old are more than welcome.  I will try to put together some "Quiet Time Boxes" before baby arrives.  I'm trying to get him interested in picture books that you can "read" to yourself (think Goodnight Gorilla.)  He likes taking things apart.  Hmmm.  I've also tried making short CDs with gentle music that last as long as rest time should-- saying, "come out when the music stops!"  Maybe it's time for a new playlist.  I'll try that today.

post #6 of 8

I use music. My ds is 3.5 and could be transitioned out of napping now, but I need a break in the day (I have  a 5 mnth old) and with a rest time he gets more evening time with dad.  Anyway, sometimes he sleeps, sometimes he just rests in bed.  We got him some headphones, and he gets to pick an album to listen to on the mp3 player.  When the music is over, he can get up.  He's not always enthusiastic about rest time, but he really likes listening to music.  Having the headphones made it special, and I think helps him stay in one place.  Now I can just do a cd in the stereo in the bedroom and that's fine.  oh, and the type of music seems to make no difference - he can pick the craziest stuff to rest to, and still sleep to it if tired.


... off to check out quiet time boxes for when the current plan ceases to work ...  :)

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

blackbird, what type of MP3 player do you use with him?

post #8 of 8

it's a big old cowon iaudio that I got years ago to bring my music collection with me for a year abroad.  So it was not a nap- or kid-oriented purchase.  My brother got his kids (2 and 4yrs old at the time i think) ipod shuffles and i believe has found them to be a good kid product.  Anything small would probably work.  I'd look for one with no screen/touch pad (or a really basic/limited screen) so messing with the player doesn't become the activity.

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