Today I wanted to talk about some advantages of quiet time when your child is no longer napping. My 6 and 8 year old still have quiet time when they are home. The usually lie in their beds and read, or just play quietly in their rooms for a bit of time. I realized recently the big advantage of this one day after my son had a camp out in the backyard with my husband. He went to bed really late and woke up very early the next morning. Luckily, he was so used to quiet time, he just went into his room and ended up falling asleep for about 2 and a half hours!
By 3 or 4 years old, some children have stopped napping, although some still continue. The only time I suggest working on giving up naps is if your child will be going to kindergarten where they will not be able to nap. If that is your case, you could start shortening the naps and eventually getting rid of them, at least during the week. Be open to your child still taking a nap on the weekend however.
I encourage quiet time when your child is no longer napping. When they are starting to give up naps, but still sometimes need them, this can be a consistent calm time where they can fall asleep if they need to. You can have them lie quietly for a bit of time and if they do not fall asleep, they can read or play quietly for the rest of the time. It is a good time for them to calm down and just get away from everything, even if they do not fall asleep.
Try to have quiet time for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the age of your child and how likely they are to have quiet time and not get upset. You can also start with less time and gradually add on time. The idea is to have your child relax, not have them get so worked up they do not rest at all, so think about how much time your child can really do.
I also recommend using some sort of timer or clock so that your child is aware of how much time they have to spend in quiet time. This will hopefully avoid their constant coming out and checking to see if it is time to come out yet. You can have a clock that will change color at nap time or a timer (this is better if your child is definitely not going to sleep, or if you check in right before it will go off since we don’t want it going off and waking up your child!). If your child has a clock in their room that does not change color, you could also draw a picture of the time that it is okay for your child to come out.
Do you do quiet time in your home? Feel free to comment below!
by Michelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions