21 answers

How Long Should "Quiet Time" Last?

My son just turned 4 and he's been taking naps less and less frequently since about 3 and a half. I don't care whether he actually sleeps during "naptime", but I do expect him to have quiet time if he's not going to sleep. When he was actually taking naps, he'd be in his room from about 1 to 3pm. But now that he's not napping, how long should I expect him to be able to remain in his room quietly? (The 2 hour thing is NOT working out, and I don't want to fight with him over it since I do think it's too long for a 4 year old to lay in bed or read books.)

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Thanks for all the suggestions! We actually saw his doctor this morning for his 4 year check-up and she said to either skip the nap altogether (if he's not too much of a bear by doing so) and put him to bed earlier, or to give him an hour of quiet time in his room. As I said, he has been in there for the 2 hours he used to nap, and he is usually good at laying in bed or reading quietly for the first hour...it's the second hour where he gets up, opens the blinds, brings out his toys, etc. So for now, we'll try the one hour of quiet time. If he falls asleep and gets more, great. Otherwise I'll still have an hour of break time for me in the middle of the day. Thanks again for your advice, mamas!

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my 3 year old either naps or plays in her bed from 2-4. Sometimes it's not quiet (I heard her ask for a volunteer from the audience the other day....) but she stays in her bed and it gives me downtime.

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My kids have 60-75 minutes of quiet time every afternoon. It's wonderful on those days that I actually get 90 minutes -- those are the days that my youngest falls asleep.

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We do an hour. It doesn't always work out, but I try. If it's a hard day and everyone's out of sorts then sometimes we will bring pillows and blankets into the living room for an hour of cartoons while mommy puts her feet up on the couch. I keep reminding myself that my babies (3 and 5) will soon be going to kindergarten and beyond. Then I'll miss the struggles of everyday life.

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I say an hour.

I used to tell my daughter "Mommy needs your help. I need a 1 hour nap, could you help me, by staying in your room? Or you can read your books here in my bed next to me if you are quiet. "

Worked for us.. Sometimes she fell asleep and I would take advantage of the extra sleep..

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4 yrs old? I'd say you'd be lucky to get 15 minutes of him staying quietly in his room by himself without "needing" anything from you. This is the age of "I'm thirsty" "I'm bored" "I'm hungry" "I can't reach that toy" "Mooooommmmmyyyyy! I need to use the baaaathroooom!!!" "Am I done yet? How many more minutes do I need to be in my room? Am I done NOW? How about NOW? NOW?..................NOW?" You get the picture. 15 minutes. Tops. (^_^) Good luck!

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Quiet time should be for as long as the child is capable.
They can't tell time on a clock.
1 minute, can seem like 1 hour to them.
Keep things relative.

When I have quiet time with my kids, (but they usually still nap), we ALL do it, together. And my kids don't have to do it only in their room. They just have to be "quiet" and nothing electronic on. Or I nap and lay down... and they follow suit.
Or, I tell them, Mommy is working... and no talking... this is not play-time... but you can play quietly on your own. They understand.

Go by your child's ability... for it.
You don't have to fight him on it.
Not all kids, can self direct themselves. Nor at this age.
Napping for 2 hours and being quiet, is very different from being "awake" and quiet for 2 hours. I don't even think I can do that, and I'm a grown up.

all the best,

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I agree with the other moms. My daughter is 5 and she takes an hour of quiet time every day. My 9 month old son takes a nap during the day time. So when my daughter gets out of pre k and has lunch she takes an hour of quiet time. Usually no more then that unless she falls asleep. good luck.

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My DD stopped napping at two...quiet time? Uhh..no. She hits the ground running in the morning and crashes and burns at night...sleeps 12 hours. Quiet time? Doesnt happen with us. Nor do I "expect" it to happen.
I think it all depends on the child.

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45 minutes to an hour. No longer than that or you're asking for trouble! :)

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I think it depends on the child, but an hour should be sufficient to give him (and you) the downtime that's needed.
Oh how I miss naptime for my two!!!!!

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I'd say an hour is good.

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my 3 year old either naps or plays in her bed from 2-4. Sometimes it's not quiet (I heard her ask for a volunteer from the audience the other day....) but she stays in her bed and it gives me downtime.

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About an hour is reasonable. And earlier to bed on the days he doesn't nap...

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My son has been having an hour of quiet time since he stopped taking naps at around 3 (he's almost 5 now). If he falls asleep awesome, if not - no big deal. We eliminate almost all of the "issues" before he starts his time, i.e he goes to the bathroom right before & "gets it all out", he has a cup of water with him in case he gets thirsty, he takes some books with him & is supposed to stay on the bed. Quiet time is for resting, not playing so he doesn't have toys to play with during that time; actually he normally has his quiet time in my husband & my room (not tempted my toys that way). Also, he has a clock so we tell him what time he can get up; if he starts at 1:30 then we tell him that he can get up at 2:30. I fully believe that you can expect a 4 year old to do this - we had a few issues at first but after getting used to it (maybe a week) all has gone well for the most part. BTW - he's a very active boy & is normally going a mile a minute. HTH

1. Quiet time doesn't have to be in his room. The two of you can play quiet games, you can spend quality one on one time with him, you can work on projects like making a photo album of him and your family. There are lots of things you can do.

2. If you really need the break from the kids to get something, in my case anything, done then I think an hour of playing quietly is enough to enforce. My grand daughter can play dolls in her room for hours.

Oh I wish we'd been able to switch naps into quiet time! LOL... for our adhd kiddo... that just wasn't an option. For one thing, I needed to be on accidental-suicide watch when he was a toddler 24/7. Leave HIM in a room by himself from 2-5yo, and more likely than not... you'd hear a crash 5 minutes later as he fell 10 feet to the floor (he would stovepipe the corners in his room)... or he'd "test" the structural integrity of a, b, c, d (once including how hard he had to "run at" his screen in his 2nd story window in order for it to pop out). But more likely, a person had a grand total of about 120 seconds before he was racing out of his room (or any room) breathless & laughing wanting to "show you something amazing!!!".

So we didn't have "quiet time". If he wasn't asleep, I HAD to have my eye on him the rest of the time.

So people may bash movies and the computer, but that's where WE got our quiet time. (I could actually relax if his bum was safely glued to a chair playing starfall.com, or iSpy, or watching a beloved movie... whereas I could NOT relax at any other time.) I still had to stay in the room with him... but I could be doing something else (reading, working, what have you).

As he's gotten older *I* can get quiet time as he's hyperfocused on something ... but for HIM to get a rest ... his nose has to be in a book or his bum has to be velcroed to the computer chair or couch.

I am assuming your mean quiet time (nap time) not time out right? when my kids and daycare children hit the age where naps no longer worked we would each take a turn picking a movie. rule was quiet time lasted for an hour. each time they got up and messed around the time started over lol. So mine would lay on their cots and quietly watch a movie each afternoon after lunch and then quiet time was over. kids are pretty smart lol. some of them would pick a half our dvd instead of a nice hour and 20 minute disney one.

My 5 yr old girl is on the couch during quiet time for 1 hour. Usually, she watches a few shows, and lays with a blanket.

My 2 yr old boy goes into his crib at 2pm, and whether he falls asleep or not, (about half the time) he rests until 3:30. I believe that the quiet time without falling asleep still is good for him to be alone without the stimulation of his sister, or TV, or whatever else.

My Son quit taking naps about that time too. He is now 4 ½.

For us quiet time equates to cuddle time. That is when we sit on the couch and read books.
If I need to get something done like laundry, I'll put on Curious George, his favorite show, and have him lay on the couch with his teddy bear =-) If my husband is home he does the same thing.

His quiet time usually lasts 1 – 1 ½ hrs.

what the heck is "quiet time" LOL!!, if I tried to put my kids in a room by themselves they would be bouncing in and out every couple of mins.

maybe you can put a dvd on in his room, or some cimple computer games.

Have you ever thought of maybe letting him skip the "nap time" and just put him to bed a little earlier and get your down time then. I have three children and while my two sons 2 1/2 ans 1, still take naps my daughter now 6 stopped napping at 1 1/2. if she got so much as 30 minutes during the day she would be up all night. So we cut the naps out and pushed the bed time earlier. I am happy to say that all three of my kiddos go to bed at 7 and thats when I get my time. One other thing I'm not sure if your son will be 5 in time for kindergarten this year but if he is or even if hes not taking out his nap time might help hiim prepare for school. My daughter goes to a full day Kindergarten and if she hadn't already been a non napper i would have made her one before she started school just to help get her used to the schedule. Just a thought. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

it should last 1minute for a one yr old. two min for a two yr old etc

My kids have 60-75 minutes of quiet time every afternoon. It's wonderful on those days that I actually get 90 minutes -- those are the days that my youngest falls asleep.

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