You want it?? Do you really really want some quiet time? Here’s what I did…
Make sure you pick a time when your younger kids are napping, it would defeat the purpose to have your toddler running around while your preschooler is sleeping. For us, 1pm every day (meaning at least 6 days a week), is quiet time for everyone…
I put down the toddler for her afternoon nap, and the preschooler and I go to his room. We read for about 15-30 mins to unwind, and then I have a few rotating buckets of age appropriate activities. For my 3 year old, good activities are buckets of trains and tracks, duplos, a 12 piece puzzle, cars and trucks, matching game, play cooking pots and utensils. I put three buckets out at a time, and always leave a stack of books in his room. Often I’ll also put a preschool music or Bible song cd or audiobook on his stereo. Before I leave, he is reminded that it’s quiet time, and during quiet time he is to stay in his room and play quietly. Quiet time in this house varies between 2-2.5 hours each afternoon.
So, what do you do when little one just follows you back out of his room, ready to play, bushy-tailed and wide-eyed? This is the time to pull out your inner tough mom!
Trouble Shooting options:
1. Sit outside his door and tell him if he leaves his room, you’ll put on a child safety gate.
2. He laughs, and comes out to see you, put on a safety gate.
3. He climbs over the gate, put 2 gates on the door, one over the other. (yeah, we do that)
4. He karate chops the bottom gate off, when you’re done clapping, start taking away favoured toys, one per karate chop.
5. He says “I have to go pee”, I usually let him go. If he’s dorking around too long in the bathroom, I do a countdown, and he’s got to be back in his room before I get to “3”… or “10” when I’m too lazy to follow-through with #4, (which is most days… I’m working on it!)
…. this sounds like a big job as I type it out. But really, he lost interest usually around #3, and started playing with a toy. I sat near his door for about a week, and then I was free to do what I needed to do after that, with a little less supervision required each day. You may occasionally have to pull out the gates again, but generally a good threat will do the job.
And start enjoying a little quiet time in the afternoon!