As parents of carers of any age children, we can get rather obsessed with entertaining and stimulating the little ones but quiet time is also an important activity to undertake and build into your routine. It gives you and the children a chance to be peaceful, quiet, thoughtful and relaxed.
Quiet time activities:
Why bother with quiet time?
Tips for a successful Quiet Time
We all know how important reading is for children and that reading to even the tiniest toddler will help them in so many ways, but it can be frustrating if you find that your child loses interest after a little while or simply won't settle when you are ready to read a book.
The first thing to remember, is that this is not unusual. Every child is different and while some love the idea of a book, the pictures, the page turning the flaps etc, others are not interested. They don't want to lift flaps or look at the pictures. They consider reading a book as something passive, they sit back and listen and perhaps fall asleep rather than get involved. Or, they will just lose interest and walk away. The answer is not to force them to sit, be still and listen. It is our job to inspire them.
Children typically need 12 - 14 hours sleep in every 24 hours and if your toddlers are getting their quota overnight, they may not need a daytime nap. Young children who aren't napping should be encouraged to take a 'quiet time' during the day as this rests them a little and let's them get through the day more easily. To introduce a 'quiet time', put your little one in their bedroom and let them play with puzzles or toys on their own for a while - 30 minutes is long enough for most children. If they require a nap then you may find that they fall asleep during this period on their own.
A 'quiet time' helps with the transition from taking daytime naps to doing away with them altogether. Some children will continue napping even once that have started school, but most children will give up naps anywhere between 2 and 4 years old. Sometimes children give up naps because they simply don't appear to need them, other times you will stop your children napping because it doesn't fit into your daily routine. If you have older children and have to do a school run, or if you have other daytime commitments, then it's quite possible that this will interfere with nap time.
Children need time to interact with adults and to play with other children, but they also need time on their own during the day. Whilst they crave the love and attention of their parents and indeed grandparents and feel loved and special when they share games and activities together, it is also important to give them some space and let them develop their own sense of self through solitary play. This can be in the form of some daily "down time" where they might retreat to their bedroom at a certain point every day. You can build time into your daily routine, perhaps after lunch. Select some books together for your child to look through and encourage them to sit on their beds to read them. Or perhaps encourage some peaceful play time with a few jigsaw puzzles and some gentle music. Or, just explain they will have some time to play on their own in the room, doing anything they like at all. Either way, make sure you are not at the centre of the activities, make sure your child is free and alone, even if it is just for a short time. It's important to allow your children to develop skills to amuse themselves, and, its great to have a bit of down time your self!
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