Establishing Quiet Time at Home

Bahar Youdai, OTR/L - April 16, 2020

Every quarantine unit is experiencing togetherness more than ever before. Whether it’s virtual school, getting through the evening routine, or having meal after meal side by side, we’re naturally embedded into each other’s days. This constant closeness makes it extra important to establish quiet time at home. Quiet time doesn't have to mean naptime (though it can) - it can be playing with Legos, reading a book, or drawing a picture. Our little ones have quiet time at school and it is a normal and important part of their day! Quiet time helps children develop the independence to self-soothe or play on their own. 

Kids are used to quiet time during the day, whether nap time at school, reading time in a nook, or quiet car rides to and from school. For some kids, the initial excitement of being home all together is starting to shift. Our little ones may feel overwhelmed by the constant changes that are going on and the mundanity of the day to day. We have found an important way to help everyone in the family stay regulated is with a little bit of quiet time everyday. In addition to setting quiet time in your daily schedule, you can create a “quiet corner” or area of the house that can be used for when your little one (or you!) wants to have a clear mind or a calm body. Quiet time is equally important for parents’ mental health and happiness too. We can all use the alone time to wind down and take a break!

Here are some tips for establishing quiet time in your home:

  • Schedule it in! We recommend at least one hour of quiet time a day. This can be broken into two 30-minute increments if that works best for your family. Add it to your child’s daily schedule so your child has a visual reminder of when quiet time is!
  • Quiet time for your little one should be quiet time for the whole family. It can be confusing if your child is told it’s quiet time and a sibling is watching a movie. Set quiet time rules and stick to them! This is a time where each person has their own alone time. 
  • Use quiet time as a recharge between the ‘school day’ and family time. Since we are all at home, transitions have become a little blurred. Designating a quiet time can also help with regulation during transitions. 
  • Establish a quiet corner or room in the house that anyone in the family can use when they need solo time.
  • Use a timer! You can set a timer to give your little one an idea of how much time is left. This way they are expected to check the timer instead of asking mom or dad.
  • Set clear expectations about what quiet time is. It’s a time for your child to look through a book, work on a craft, play with a toy, cuddle with lovey, or nap! Ideally you don’t need to be hands on with your child during quiet time so that you can enjoy the benefits too.

Quiet time is a positive time for the whole family! We want our little ones to be okay with some alone time in the day. The goal is to give your child an opportunity to self-regulate, have a calm body, and learn to play on his or her own. I hope you can enjoy the benefits of well-deserved quiet time too!