My 2 favorite words
Quiet time. Oh, how wonderful it is! I love my children to the moon and back. However, this is a time that I look forward to every single day. As a homeschool mom, I get worn down quick. Quiet time is my first real chance to hit the refresh button. Quiet time is essential! My kids do their thing and I do mine. It tends to be the most productive 45 minutes of my entire day.
With that said, it isn’t always perfect! Plus, there are the rare days we are out of the house and it gets completely skipped over all together. Not my best days productively, but usually a great day making fun memories with my kids. For the most part though, quiet time is a HUGE deal in this house. It’s absolutely needed. Plus, when it’s done right, it’s downright heavenly!
what the kids do
I have 3 kids. My 2 boys are older, school aged and my daughter is younger, learning mostly through play and enrichment. With the age difference, quiet time was quite the challenge at first attempt. I learned a lot, played around with different scenarios and methods, then found exactly what works best for us.
My boys typically work on math independently. Downstairs at their desks or at our kitchen table. Math is the one subject I don’t assist in (most of the time). My husband offers his guidance, but for the most part they are pretty much self taught in this area. Which is exactly why I chose this subject for them to do during quiet time. They are quietly working, which helps my daughter stay put. No noise = no temptation to get up and check things out. Plus, I’m not needed in the moment!
My daughter hangs out in her tent during this time. Easier said than done, trust me, I know! She used to get up often, but finally we got the hang of this thing. This girl has never been much of an afternoon nap taker, so quiet time quickly became a quick must for our family!
My daughter has a handful of go to items for quiet time. Books, magformers, magiclip princess dolls, and stuffies. Please take note of the beautiful cave like drawings on the walls of her tent. Coloring is no longer allowed as a quiet time activity, obviously. Love this girl, but she’s a handful! Anything that could possibly result in a mess, is not quiet time approved for this kid. The whole point of this 45 minutes, is for mom to refresh and possibly accomplish something. Having a huge mess to clean up at the end of all this, totally not worth it.
what I do
While my boys are busy doing math, and my daughter is independently playing or reading, I’m either working or taking my “coffee break”. If I’m being completely honest, I’m usually working. 45 minutes of uninterrupted productivity is like a slice of heaven to me. Do I want to be working? Probably not. Will I be thankful later when the work is already done? Heck yes!
I typically use my kids quiet time to catch up on household chores, do laundry, work the blog, budget, menu plan, or prep dinner. Any idea what I used quiet time for today? If you guessed “taking pictures for the blog” you would be correct! The pictures for this post, to be exact. Haha!
On days that I don’t need to be as productive, or just plain don’t want to be. I journal. Now, if my journal is caught up and I have no need for productivity, then what? I curl up on the couch, Coffee in hand, bible in lap. Yes! This is where it’s at mommas!
If I work hard the first few days of the week, I can usually reward myself on a Thursday or Friday and enjoy that simple quiet time on the couch. It’s so incredibly worth it too! Having those uninterrupted moments to catch up, followed by those moments of serenity, makes for a beautiful week of productive quiet time. This is exactly why quiet time is essential to the homeschool mom. Realistically, we need to get things done and have moments to ourselves. Otherwise, we have no sanity and I’m almost positive that sanity is important.
How it works
So, you are probably thinking this whole quiet time thing sounds great, right? However, you might also think it sounds extremely unrealistic. I was in that same place, once upon a time. I loved the idea, but didn’t know how to make it a reality for our family. With such diverse ages, it can be hard to find a good flow. Finally, we found ours and I’m so excited to share the method that works best for us.
Create a fun environment for the younger siblings.
For us, this meant purchasing a play tent. Quiet time in bed wasn’t an option… She thought it was a punishment or that she had to go to sleep. So, we decided to skip the battle and pitched a tent (quite literally). This tent was our first step in the right direction. I also picked up a cute mermaid tale blanket that can only be used for this particular time of the day. It not only makes quiet time special, but it also becomes something she can look forward to every single day.
Decide on an activity or subject that older siblings can work on independently.
We tried a couple different things in this time slot, and we all agreed that math was the best option for our family. Our boys are mostly self taught in this area and need little direction at this point. However, on the occasion they do get stuck, we certainly work through it together. This can also be great time for independent (silent) reading, quiet time in individual bedrooms, or other quiet activities such as puzzles. Doesn’t matter what the choice, as long as they aren’t a distraction to younger siblings and mom can catch a breather.
Pick things for younger siblings that will peak their interest and keep them engaged for a long time.
No electronics is the #1 rule for quiet time in our house. Quiet, hands on playing or reading only! Not sure where to start? Let me just say, magformers have been a lifesave in our house! So many endless possibilities with these amazing things. We also just recently introduced the little Lego sets to our 5 year old, and those have been a great addition to quiet time as well!
Books she can recite, puzzles that are simple, things she can be engaged with BY HERSELF is the main goal here. Think about what toys and activities keep your little one focused and playing independently for sometime. Start there, then add things in as time goes on. Multiple options you can cycle in and out are key. Keep them busy, not bored.
Pick simple rewards & or consequences and stick to them!
My daughter is young enough that most the time her “reward” for quiet time is more school time with mom. Sounds silly, but she loves it! After quiet time I do history with my older boys and she loves being included. I also have many motor and enrichment skill type activities we save for after quiet time. Kinetic sand, a bin of rice with cups for pouring, cutting actives, and lots, and lots of stickers. She lives for this stuff. My boys don’t really get any type of reward for quiet time. They do however get electronics after dinner if school and chores are done. They are quite a bit older, so expectations are higher. Plus, this works!
Now for the real fun – Have a conversation!
Sounds like a blast right? I’m serious though. Set expectations, let your children know long quiet time will last. Tell them where mom will be at, then talk rewards and or consequences. My boys know they are to be quiet, or there will be a price to pay. Younger siblings will not want to stay still and quiet if the older siblings are being loud and rambunctious. My 5 year old knows she has to stay put (bathroom breaks are the only exception) or she gets an extended quiet time and possibly looses her reward. It’s simple, but it works.
Last but not least, set a timer!
I got this adorable kitchen timer from Hobby Lobby for just a few bucks. No need to break the bank on this. It simply just has to be able to count down and ding. You can even use your phone if you want. Our personal quiet time is 45 minutes long. I started with 15 minutes one day and slowly started adding time. I couldn’t expect my youngest to just automatically be able to stay in one place for an entire 45 minutes. We had to work our way up there!
Feel free to leave a comment on how you do quiet time in your house!