If you are a homeschooling mom (or a non-homeschooling mom for that matter) with young children, they NEED to be taking a quiet time.
(Recently, on our Facebook page, a lot of moms told me they can't survive without quiet time.)
If there is ONE THING that will contribute to the success of your homeschool it is YOUR sanity. If there is ONE THING that will contribute to your sanity it is the ability to have a sliver of peace and quiet - time when you can get a few things done, focus on yourself, or even close your eyes.
Quiet time was always non-negotiable when my children were younger. In fact, I asked them about it just the other day. My oldest (now 16) said, "I remember quiet time - 1:00-3:00 every day. We could go in our rooms and do whatever we wanted, as long as we didn't bother you!".
You read that right. Two hours. Every.single.day.
I need peace and quiet, and I'm willing to bet you do, too.
Your children need the valuable experience of entertaining and quieting themselves, as well!
How to Make Quiet Time Happen In Your Homeschool
I knew that if I was going to be a happy homeschooling mom I needed quiet. I did a few things to make that happen.
Don't Schedule Outside Activities in the Early Afternoon
I know - this might not always be possible when you have multiple ages in your home, but I tried my best to be sure the hours from 1-3 were protected on most days.
Having a consistent schedule - with quiet time coming right after lunch - was extremely helpful.
We would play outside before lunch (to wear people out!), eat lunch, tidy the downstairs, and then read a book or two before quiet time. My children came to expect this. My youngest would even go to his room after lunch to retrieve his blanket and a few books and then meet me in the family room for stories.
(I can't tell you how many times I read Are You My Mother? to my youngest during these years!)
Make the Entire House Quiet
This meant even mom was taking quiet time, too. If I made too much noise the kids would think they were missing out on something!
Many times this would be when I would turn on the classical music and just let the house be relaxed for two hours.
(Now that my kids are teens I miss those quiet times!)
Dole Out Consequences for Not Obeying/Offer Positive Reinforcement for Good Behavior
My children would receive consequences for not staying in their room during quiet time, and to tell you the truth, I rarely had to use them. We started the habit of quiet time early on and it was just expected, and I believe my children craved that alone time.
I was also intentional about praising my children for good quiet times - maybe a special snack when they woke up, or making a big deal about it when daddy got home from work.
What Can Kids Do During Quiet Time?
Quiet time is sure to fail if your children don't know what to do with themselves!
You need to train them in the habit of keeping themselves busy - if they aren't big nappers. Here are some things I tried to have available for my one child that just didn't like to nap:
- audio books - our library had a great selection of them and we would pay a visit to the library specifically for quiet time books!
- reading - reserve this time for their sustained silent reading each day
- handicrafts - knitting, finger weaving, rubber band bracelets, etc...
- having a special toy(s) in the room only at quiet time
I fondly remember one day when my stubborn 8-year-old girl didn't want to take quiet time. I convinced her to read books to our dog (who was such a sweet lap dog) because he needed to "do school", too. Sometimes you just have to get creative, moms!
What NOT to Do During Quiet Time
Do not allow electronics during quiet time.
Yes, I realize they are an easy way to keep children quiet, but they aren't the most productive use of a child's time, and they defeat the true purpose of quiet time: teaching our children to occupy themselves with something meaningful.
My own children were young in the age where iPads and tablets were just in their infancy, and we didn't have one. I have lived through having young children without the "luxury" of giving them a device, and I believe they are better off for it.
Throw tomatoes at me if you wish, but don't give your kids screens during quiet time.
Additionally, a glowing screen doesn't help our little ones' minds settle down so they can actually take a nap!
Invest the time to train your child how to occupy themselves during quiet time!
Resources for Quiet Time
Following are some of the resources I remember from our quiet times... it's just a good idea to have a good stock of things like this on hand in your home. Of course there are many more - these suggestions should just get your ideas flowing!
Make special things available ONLY during quiet time; your children will look forward to quiet time!
Sylvania SRCD243 Portable CD Player with AM/FM Radio, Boombox (Blue)Lite Brite Magic Screen - 150 Pegs, 4 Reusable TemplatesSpirograph Deluxe Design SetMelissa & Doug Scratch Art Doodle Pad With 16 Scratch-Art Boards and Wooden StylusMelissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards - Classic Toy With 120 Solid Wood Shapes and 5 Double-Sided PanelsLEGO Classic Large Creative Brick Box 10698AIO Classics #4: Bible Eyewitness: The Hall of Faith: 12 Stories of the Bible's Greatest Heroes (Adventures in Odyssey Audio)Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads With 200+ Beads and 8 Laces for Jewelry-MakingLearning Resources Beads and Pattern Card SetBristle Blocks Toy Building Blocks for Toddlers (128 Pieces in Bucket)