Starting Quiet Time With Your Toddler
It’s 1:00 pm and you’ve been counting down the minutes to nap time. It’s been a long morning of snacks, playing, snacks, a few meltdowns, and more snacks. You do the routine you’ve done a thousand times before. But your child won’t nap. The rest you both need eludes you, and the afternoon stretches on.
Sound familiar? As parents, we understand the importance of rest and rejuvenation, not just for ourselves but also for our little ones. While most children transition out of napping as they grow older, it doesn't mean they no longer need a break during the day. At Sleeper Teachers, we believe in the power of "quiet time" to provide children with a much-needed opportunity for relaxation and independent play (and, let’s be real, rest for you!). In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of incorporating quiet time into your child's routine and offer tips on how to establish a successful quiet time session. If you aren’t sure whether or not your child is ready to drop the nap yet, check out our blog article here .
The Benefits of Quiet Time:
- Rest and Recharge: Even though children may have dropped their nap, their bodies and minds still benefit from a period of rest. Quiet time allows them to recharge and refuel, promoting better overall mood, attention span, and behavior.
- Independent Play and Creativity: During quiet time, children have the chance to engage in independent play, which fosters their creativity and imagination. By providing them with special toys or activities reserved solely for quiet time.
- Emotional Regulation: Quiet time provides children with a space for self-regulation and emotional processing. It allows them to unwind, reflect, and manage any stress or frustrations they may have encountered during the day. This can contribute to improved emotional well-being and resilience.
When Do Children Typically Drop a Nap?
On average, most children drop their nap between the ages of 3 and 5. However, it's important to remember that each child is unique, and there is a wide range of normal when it comes to napping patterns. Some children may drop their nap earlier, around 2 years old, while others may continue napping until they are 6 or 7 years old. It's essential to observe your child's behavior and cues to determine if they are ready to transition away from napping.
If you are struggling to drop the final nap (or knowing if your child is ready), check out this blog of ours.
Establishing a Successful Quiet Time Routine:
- Start Small: Begin with a short duration of quiet time, such as 15 minutes, and gradually increase it as your child becomes more accustomed to the routine. This gradual approach helps them build the habit and prevents overwhelming them initially.
- Choose Special Toys or Activities: Create a quiet time bin with toys or activities that are reserved exclusively for this period. These special items will pique their interest and keep them engaged during quiet time. Rotating toys periodically can also help maintain their novelty.
- Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to encourage your child's participation in quiet time. Reward them with praise, stickers, or small incentives when they stay quiet in their room for three consecutive days. This approach reinforces their good behavior and motivates them to continue the routine.
- Time Indicators: Utilize visual timers, okay-to-wake clocks, or hatch lights to provide your child with a clear visual cue of when quiet time begins and ends. This helps them develop a sense of time and creates structure within their day.
Products We Recommend for Quiet Time
As Sleeper Teachers, here are a few of the quiet time products that we use (and love) for our own children.
None of these products are necessary for quiet time, but they can all be helpful.
We like to place quiet time toys, books and activities in a separate bin or box and pull it out right before each quiet time session starts. This preserves the novelty of the products and is a great way to entice kids to start quiet time -- with their special box!
Time to give it a try!
While children may outgrow the need for a daytime nap, incorporating a dedicated period of quiet time into their daily routine can bring about numerous benefits. From providing essential rest and recharge to fostering independent play and emotional regulation, quiet time offers children the opportunity to thrive and grow. By starting small, using special toys or activities, and employing positive reinforcement, parents can establish a successful quiet time routine that benefits both their child and themselves.Follow the guidelines in this article to get rid of those short naps and get baby napping longer!
If you want to see the Sleeper Teacher kids doing quiet time in action, check out this reel here.We recommend trying the suggested adjustments included in the post for at least a week before seeking additional help. If you haven’t seen the changes materialize into a successful quiet time routine, it’s possible that a deeper dive into your child’s situation would be helpful. If 1-on-1 guidance with a fully customized plan, shared digital sleep log for tracking data and trends, and daily accountability and support is something that you could benefit from, please reach out to us here for a free introductory call with one of our consultants. And if you’re still not sure, head over to our reviews page to read how impactful teaching independent sleep was for our clients. Lives change when everyone in a family sleeps!
- KidsHealth. (2019). Sleep and Your Preschooler. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleep-preschool.html
- Psychology Today. (2015). The Benefits of Independent Play. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/creative-development/201505/the-benefits-independent-play
- The New York Times. (2019). Napping May Help Children Learn, Some Studies Suggest. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/parenting/napping-children.html
- National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Toddler Sleep. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/toddlers-and-preschoolers/sleep-patterns/toddler-sleep
- HealthyChildren.org. (2020). Transitioning to One Nap. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/sleep/Pages/Transitioning-to-One-Nap.aspx
- Sleep.org. (n.d.). Napping and Your Preschooler. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/napping-and-your-preschooler/