Before my son gave up his daily nap (some time ago now), I remember reading somewhere about having 'quiet time' as a subsitute. Whilst I thought it sounded like a good idea, I had trouble imagining how it would work in practice. However, when the time came to give up my son's nap, my husband and I introuduced the idea of quiet time as an automatic.
It turns out that it's worked a dream. In the beginning, anything that meant no nap sounded like a fun idea to my son so he took to it happily. Of course, what it consists of depends on you and your own way of doing things. In our house, it means we take some time to do some things by ourself, quietly. We're not strict about the 'quiet' aspect too much. If my son wants to spend his quiet time playing instruments, singing, listening to music, that's fine by us. I guess for us, the important bit is keeping himself happily occupied for a certain amount of time.
Here is a list of typical ways our son spends his quiet time:
- Listening to music or to a story CD
- Lego building
- Playing with a favourite toy of the day
- Drawing / 'writing' / stickers / inkpad and stamps / cutting / sticking
- Pretend music class (singing and playing with a variety of instruments)
Quiet time used to coincide with my daughter's main nap of the day after lunch. Once my son started attending nursery in the afternoons, we switched to a shorter quiet time in the mornings, again while my daughter had a brief nap. When he starts school in September, it will naturally disappear during the week but I imagine we will keep it up on the weekends. Maybe we are lucky but our son enjoys his quiet time. He knows it's a limited amount of time and he often shuts the door on us and just gets on with it quite contentedly. We always make a point of doing something together right after quiet time as a clear change of pace.
Do you do quiet time? Have you any kind of structure to it? Does your child seem to enjoy it? What do they typically do during quiet time? If your child is still napping, do you imagine you will switch from nap to quiet time when the time comes?