Is your toddler fighting nap time? This usually happens around three years old. I recommend having them nap until four years old. Sometimes having your toddler nap can interfere with bed time. If that is the case then I always tell my clients it is time to start implementing quiet time. Here are some tips about helping with quiet time.
When should quiet time start?
When your child drops their nap (48 months), it is time to implement quiet time. Quiet time can be the same as nap time, or you can change the time. For consistency, I like to keep it around the same time as when nap was or when younger children are napping.
What should they do in their room during quiet time?
When you first start implementing quiet time, I would have your child go to the store with you to pick out a few quiet activities they can play with only during quiet time. Some examples are puzzles, dolls, stuffed animals, doll houses, legos, Lincoln logs, books, etc.
Let your child learn through play and have fun at the same time during this time. This is when they can use their imagination and learn different skills playing alone.
I do not recommend screen time. Quiet time is a time when your child can play and be themselves.
How long is quiet time?
Quiet time is really up to you. I recommend 45 minutes to 2 hours. 2 hours is my favorite it gives me time to prep dinner, work out at home, or get things done around the house.
Working your way up to 2 hours could take a little time. Start with 45 minutes for three days and then work your way up, increasing by 15 minutes every three days until you reach 2 hours.
You are going to need to set boundaries for your child. Your child is getting full access to their room without sleeping. I recommend keeping the monitor in the room so you can watch them. Let them know they cannot come out of their room. I would set a timer so they can hear or have a light in their room that turns a different color when quiet time is over.
If your child asks to come out for water, the bathroom, etc., I will make a pass they have to hand you. Give them one pass the whole time they are in their room that they can use. They should have to call for you to use the pass.
What if they fall asleep?
If they fall asleep, then they are probably tired. Their body told them that they needed rest. Let them sleep until the quiet time is over. Once quiet time is over, then wake them up. You do not want this to cause problems for bedtime.
If you notice your child falling asleep a couple of times a week during quiet time, they may not be ready to get rid of nap time. You may want to implement it again but cut the time to maybe an hour for nap time.
Benefits of quiet time
Quiet time benefits children but also parents. It is essential to give the brain a break in children. It lets them be themselves, be imaginative, and learn independent play.
Parents, you need the break. You need to be able to sit and relax or get work done or things done around the house. You need a brain break from your children, and that is okay.
Let your children have quiet time. If naps are done, then implement this right away. They need it, and so do you!