The end of nap time is a sad (sad!) day. For the last few years, you’ve had a couple of daytime hours to get things done around the house, catch up on Facebook, or call a friend without the constant interruptions! And now that time is gone…or is it?
When toddlers and preschoolers drop their afternoon nap, they still need some alone time to decompress (and time alone will help with late afternoon meltdowns too). It also teaches them a valuable skill–how to amuse themselves without technology or YOU!
Before implementing quiet time, talk about it with your child and explain what quiet time means:
- It’s a time to play with quiet activities in your room by yourself
- That you’ll set a timer (this one is my FAVORITE for this age since it’s a visual representation of time!) for 45 minutes and come and get him or her when time is up (make sure you set a timer downstairs to go off a few minutes before your child’s goes off)
- If he or she feels sleepy, it’s fine to lie down and close your eyes (This shouldn’t turn into a 2 hour nap though!)
If you make it feel like a privilege to have quiet time, rather than an obligation, you’ll be able to get your child excited about it! Tell your child that big boys (girls) who are too old for naps get to have quiet time!
Here are some quiet time activity suggestions for the 3+ crowd that have been successful for my clients:
- Books, books, books – pop-up books, flap books, picture books – if you make a weekly trip to the library for a stack of new books, your child won’t get bored with the selection! Here are some tried and true favorites kids will keep coming back to:
- Puzzles – if you’re offering more than one puzzle, it’s helpful to “code” each puzzle with a letter or number on the back of each piece so clean up is easier if your child takes out more than one at a time!
- Mess free coloring book sets – definitely don’t want regular markers, and even washable ones can create a mess!
- Mazes – make sure to have a crayon with the book so your child can complete some pages!
- Felts Boards – these are great because each time your child plays with it it’s different!
- Play Mats – this was one of the best investments – keeps them entertained for hours!
- Figurines – for pretend play with their favorite characters
- Stickers books – these are great because the stickers can be reused over and over again!
- Lacing –
- Color recognition/sorting – stacking set
- Building/fine motor – colorful, interlocking set
Things you do NOT want to include: anything with noise or a battery.
The most important thing about these activities is that you need to rotate what you offer your child. If you have a “quiet time bin” and put EVERYTHING in at once, it will get old quickly. Try rotating the contents of the activity bin, giving a couple of books and one other activity each day.
Remember to give a plastic tray if your child’s room is carpeted so he or she has a place to color or do puzzles.
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