Little girl sitting on the floor of her bedroom, playing with blocks


Quiet-Time Boxes Will Save Your Sanity As Your Kids Stop Napping

Aug 23, 2017

The end of nap time makes parents panic because nap time is our alone time.

New parents are often told to sleep when the baby sleeps, but that never did happen for me. I tried! I would lie down, close my eyes and wait for sleep to overtake my exhausted body. But sleep never came.

The end of nap time can be stressful for parents. Having a couple of quiet time boxes on hand will help secure downtime for both yourself and your child.

While I’m not a napper, I am someone who needs downtime. In fact, I crave peaceful time alone.

When my kids were napping I used the time to get stuff done around the house in peace. I would fold laundry while catching up on my favourite TV shows. I would make phone calls, pay bills and do dinner prep. Sometimes (and this was my favourite) I would simply sip on hot coffee and get lost in a book.

Nap time was important to my sanity and well-being. So when my son started showing signs of giving up his nap, I went into panic mode. How was I going to keep this toddler busy so that my newborn was able to nap? How would I cope without at least a small amount of quiet alone time? Plus, without an afternoon rest, he was absolutely miserable by dinner.

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I decided that he, just like me, needed some downtime — even if he wasn’t going to sleep. And a quiet time box was exactly the right tool to make that happen.

A quiet-time box is a small box filled with noise-free activities to keep young children entertained while alone in their room. There are very few rules for quiet-time boxes: the activities must be safe to be played with alone, age appropriate, and (of course) soundless. Mess-free items are probably best, too.

You probably already have many items that can fit into a quiet time box hanging around the house.

And it worked! Whenever my children fought their nap, rather than spending an afternoon struggling and begging them to sleep, I handed over their quiet-time box. The deal was that they didn’t have to sleep, but they did have to stay in their rooms and play quietly.

More often than not, I would find them asleep when I went to check in. Even when they didn’t fall asleep, I took comfort in knowing they had some downtime, and I felt more refreshed after having had an hour to myself.

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It’s easy to feel pressured to entertain our kids' every waking moment. So of course the end of nap time can be stressful for parents. Having a couple of quiet time boxes on hand will help secure downtime for both yourself and your child.

You probably already have many items that can fit into a quiet time box hanging around the house, but I find brand new loot works best at keeping them entertained by themselves.

Here are some items that work well:

  • Puppets
  • Paper dolls
  • Board books
  • Puzzles
  • Toy cars
  • Action figures
  • Blocks
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Farm-animal figurines
  • Finger puppets
  • Wind-up toys
  • Snap bracelets
  • Magnetic games
  • Lacing games
  • Foam letters and numbers
  • Felt games or felt food
  • Lego Duplo
  • Mess-free colouring kits
Article Author Natalie Romero
Natalie Romero

Read more from Natalie here.

Natalie’s passion for writing was reignited as she blogged her way through the pain of her son’s health issues and NICU stay. She is the wife of the world’s greatest foot rubber and mother to an amazingly loyal little boy and a fiercely independent little girl. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night, Natalie is getting a crash course in the juggling act that is the life of a working mother, though she does occasionally drop a ball or two! After spending much of her life trying to be perfect she has learned to rock her shortcomings and is not afraid to admit when she’s failed. This parenting thing can be tough and Natalie believes the best way to survive it is by keeping it real and by leaning on your tribe.

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