Today I am sharing some of the tips that I have found make for a successful quiet time. My girls are ages 4 & 1. My 1 year old naps at noon until about 2:30 or 3 depending on the day. My 4 year old doesn’t nap, so I give her an hour or so of quiet time. During that time I can take a rest and re-charge, or if I’m feeling wide awake that day just catch up on things. Use the bins for whatever suits you best but the idea is to have your child spend some time alone (Mom you will be the best judge of if you can leave them alone or if they will require supervision for safety) engaged in their own activities.
FYI, the labels you see on the bins were made with the DYMO LetraTag Label Maker. Here is the one I own:
- Set aside time to prepare 2 weeks worth of quiet time activities in advance. I feel like this has been one of my biggest struggles and ultimately the downfall to quiet time. When I have only built a few bins, I was recycling the same bins too often and Miss V got bored.
- Use what you currently own first. Go through your kids toys and add those things to the bins first, not only will you save money, but you are helping to cut down on toy clutter as well =). PS: If you are already doing a toy rotation, use toys they haven’t seen for a while in the week 1 bins. Put the ones they are currently playing with in the week 2 bins.
- Add something new or present it in a manner it hasn’t been used before. When adding something new, I mean something as simple as a new glitter pencil or maybe a new batch of homemade play-dough. It doesn’t have to cost much, or anything at all. If money is tight, try the dollar store, or if it’s tighter still, add a sensory filler like dirt from outside, sand (see Bug Sensory Play), rocks or rice or beans from your pantry.
- Use the bins for quiet time only. The exciting things about these quiet time bins are their novelty. If you are on a two week rotation, last weeks bins will feel new again when their cycle comes around again.
- Choose things they can do on their own without assistance and with little supervision. Mommy wont get much quiet time if the activities are too challenging or a safety concern.
- Add a variety of different items. I like to add something crafty, something challenging, and something fun to each bin.
- Add items that you will not need to replace every time the bin is used. Aint’ nobody got time for that.
- Add a fun snack. This is something Miss V always looks forward to.
- Set out a durable picnic blanket for easy cleanup. Sensory bins are a lot of fun and they keep Miss V entertained the longest, BUT the cleanup can be discouraging. Thankfully I have a solution, see this post for how I contain quiet time mess.
- Mom, REST! I’m guilty of not taking my own advice. There have been days where I have been frazzled and tired and the house was a mess and I couldn’t relax because of it. I chose to clean, but I was overtired and could have used a break. On those days even though I had a long to do list, even just a portion of time to rest would have been good. My advice, if you are struggling with patience, if you are exhausted, just rest. Once quiet time is over and your little ones are done napping, it’s back to it, so take the time you need during that quiet time to recharge.
If you want to see some more photos of my quiet bins, check back tomorrow to see a weeks worth.