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  • Ever Deane

Transitioning your toddler from naps to quiet time

Oliver napped consistently until around October 2020 when he turned three years old and it was daylight savings time and we said goodbye to daily naps. It was really sad for me because I had a two month old and I needed to rest so badly after being up at all times of the night but we just went with it.

I knew before he stopped them that I wanted to do a “quiet time” even if he didn’t nap and it’s been the best for all of us, we transitioned right away.

What’s a quiet time?

For us, a quiet time is a set amount of time (one hour) that your child is in their room playing or reading by themselves (or even a nap if they need) so you can have a break - at least if you time it correctly with the baby’s nap!

[Baby sleeping on the left, while toddler plays in his room on the right]


How we set up a quiet time

At first, we played something my toddler wanted like cars to give him some quality one on one time before heading upstairs after lunch to read a book and sing a song in bed. It's key to connect with them before expecting them to play independently for a length of time.

I told my toddler that he could stay in his bed and rest/nap or he could play quietly for 20 minutes, I would come and call him when the time was up.

It was really hard for him at first, he called me to help him with random things, and called me every 5 minutes to ask me when the time was up. I would go in and remind him it’s “5 more minutes” and “play, read or nap until I come get you” and something like “mum needs a break, have fun my boy.” After about ten days of 20 minutes I went up to 40 minutes and after two months we were at an hour with no interruptions (apart from the occasional number 2).


Making quiet time a success for toddlers and caregivers

One of the most important things in having a quiet time that works for the toddler and the parent, is guiding the child to know how to play independently, having consistent quiet time routines and having toys/games that interest the toddler and rotating them to keep them fresh and exciting each week.

I’m going to write a post about toy rotation (check my Instagram reel about it in the meantime) but that has really helped to keep toys feeling new and fun for better engagement.

For Christmas, Oliver got this MELLA Ready to Rise clock, (I have a post coming about it) and it is great for setting up a quiet time. You can choose how long you want to set the "nap time" to be and it will go green after that amount of time. Oliver loves coming to find me when it turns green and we go tidy up his room together.

Another thing that really helped us was having a potty in the room but we recently said goodbye to the potty and he just comes out of his room and uses the hallway bathroom if he needs to go.

One last thing is to make sure the toddler's had some one on one with you before they play by themselves, otherwise they might be bored already and it will make quiet time more difficult. Be patient and then enjoy your time to reset and take on the afternoon.

Any questions about quiet times?

Do you do something similar to give yourself a break?

Till next time,

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Hi, I'm Kendra

I am a qualified Montessori teacher and yoga teacher up to my ears in diapers, toy cars and the best kisses a mama can handle. I am passionate about connecting with moms and supporting each other on this journey of motherhood. I share family-friendly recipes, my pregnancy, postpartum and parenting journey, Montessori inspiration, and products we loveI am a South African living in the US with my hubby and two boys.

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