There comes a time in a child’s life unfortunately for parents when they no longer seem to need their day sleep and are quite happy to be up for hours at a time. Problem is that mum or dad still need their nap time and they do too as they can’t really sustain being awake for the whole day with no ‘rest’ time. If they have younger brothers or sisters then this too is a great reason to move to still have a rest.
Now is the time to introduce what I call ‘quiet time’. Quiet time is rest time or quiet playing time in their room. There are certainly ways to make ‘quiet time’ more successful for your child. Firstly have a regular time each day for quiet time, it is in their room and it is at least an hour in duration. If you are consistent with having quiet time everyday after lunch it will go much smoother and there will be less protest.
If an hour is too long for your child to concentrate and play by themself, then start with a shorter time like 10-15 minutes and then pop into their room and tell them what a great job they are doing playing quietly and reading etc. They will grow 2 inches taller with this praise and it is also a great opportunity to quickly chat about what they have played with and offer other ideas as to what to do.
What can they do during quiet time? My suggestion is mainly quiet activites especially when others are resting or sleeping. Give them a pile of books on their bed to lie down and flick through, or puzzles, or other learning activities. Some parents have the no toys rule, I believe so long as it’s quiet and your child is resting they may be pushing a car or two around their bed. The added bonus of quiet time is that children are learning to play independently and to be creative. If you do not keep toys in their bedrooms because they are up all hours playing at night, then put a few selected puzzles, toys in their room at quiet time and take them out again when it is up.
You can quickly make a poster together of the types of activities they can do and write the word and draw a picture so that they can look and remind themselves what other play they can do. Placing the poster on the back of the door is an ideal spot as you will have the door closed during quiet time.
To set your child up to be the most successful, remind them of what you are expecting before quiet time, eg. Take some water in a spill proof cup, going to the toilet rules, no loud bagging toys or musical instruments. You will find quiet time is essential for your family, yourself and for teaching your child who to unwind, a skill we all need more practice at.