Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quiet time: who's it for?

(Picture credit Google Images)

I've heard many homeschooling mothers declare that as long as she has children at home, there will be a daily quiet time. I've always thought it to be a good idea, actually.

In 1998 I had my first child. He slept a lot. You know, being a newborn and all. In 1999 I had my second child, and my first was only 20 months, so there was still a lot of sleeping going on. Next child came in 2003 and the first two were 5 and 3.5 and both still napping. By the time child #4 came in 2007, we were well established in a quiet time/nap lifestyle. All of my kids have napped well into age 5 and 6, and my older children have been easy to train in quiet time ways, since it has been a daily habit and also quite a privilege to be allowed to play quietly or read or color instead of sleep.

Enter Canaan. (And if we're being honest, I sighed loudly here.) He *just* turned three. Not even two weeks ago. And he flat-out DOES - NOT - NAP. Period. Not only does he not sleep at naptime, it has been VERY challenging trying to teach him to play quietly for an hour while everyone ELSE is having a quiet time. He sneaks out ("But I *LOVE* my Sissy!"). He sneaks out again. He sneaks out YET again. He plays loudly. He comes downstairs.

He drives me insane. At quiet time.

And in light of the obnoxiously non-quiet behavior of the smallest child, the older children are acting a little less quiet during quiet time as well. Today I had two calls for help with a movie on the laptop, one child yelling for help with an annoying brother, another child coming OUT of his room to ask for supplies for tonight's potato head night at Awana, and yet another child yelling for help, resulting in annoying brother being banished to the downstairs with lots of tears as he went.

NOT relaxing.

Which got me thinking: who is this for?

Off the top of my head, I'd answer honestly that it's for them and for me. The children are rested after quiet time. After a busy, hectic morning, everyone seems ready for some downtime - some alone time. They come out with smiles on their faces, ready to face the afternoon.

But if I'm being really BRUTALLY honest, I think quiet time must be more for me than it is for them. Because if a disturbed quiet time leaves the children happy and Mother decidedly UNhappy, maybe Mother needs to suck it up and find other ways to help the children recharge during the day.

Will be praying and will update when our precious, wise Father answers.


  1. Bummer.

    Quiet Time happens when it happens around here. Ryan stopped napping at 2yo. I'm serious. Never been another nap. He's still awake at 9pm, singing in his bed.

    It took quite the adjustment but eventually everyone learns to disappear for their own quiet time as they need it.

  2. I am anxious to see what the other alternatives are that your readers may leave in the comments! We've always done the quiet time thing too since the kids were too old for naps, but sometimes I wonder if I'm just being selfish for pushing the issue b/c I really like to get a little rest myself!

  3. Jake refuses naps right now too, it is so tough the only great thing is that he falls asleep SO fast in the evenings

  4. I haven't had a quiet time in the afternoon since my oldest stopped napping! I used that time to do school with her while the others napped and what fun we had! It was quite an adjustment each time one of them stopped napping. At first I would get annoyed, but once I realized they were done napping, I was able to move on. It took great mental effort to get there, though! Now there is just no time for quiet time in the afternoon. If we are home, we do math and other school. It is rare, but occasionally it will be quiet while they all read...for about 15 minutes! I do stay up after everyone is in bed, so that helps. :)

  5. The closest thing we have to quiet time is an afternoon video. 45 minutes seems to give the older ones a chance to recharge, the 2yo a chance at falling asleep and some uninterrupted nap time for the baby.

    It helps the rest of the day go better for us, as well.

  6. It's for me.

    Here's what it looks like this in our house. Caden naps, Kya and Wyatt get out their sleeping bags and spread them on the living room floor. They alternate picking a movie. Wyatt inevitably falls asleep while the movie is on. Kya rests and I do whatever I need to do for two hours or so. If Kya doesn't fall asleep (about 50/50), she reads or does crafts until the timer goes off and/or Caden wakes up.

    I adore rest time. I think for homeschooling moms, it is essential to your sanity.