Quiet time for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Let’s talk Quiet time for Toddlers & Preschoolers

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Mamma, it's Okay

There will come a day, Mamma, when your toddler no longer naps.

You’ll take her to her room for nap time, like you’ve always done & she just won’t go to sleep & in that moment you’ll realize that your mid-afternoon break is gone forever.

Mamma, I have good news for you!

I’m going to help you get that break back, because we all need some quiet time for that cup of coffee; or glass of wine – I don’t judge.

Ready to get started? Grab my recommended products.

If you have a toddler; you know that a toddler sleep schedule can be all kinds of messed up; so any break that we can get – we need to take.

I’m going to break down exactly how to get your child into a quiet time routine, as quickly and as easily as possible.

When should kids stop taking naps?

According to Dr. Harvey Karp from Happiest Baby says about 20% of 2 year olds don’t nap. Then by 3 years old that number doubles to 43%.

At four years old 74% of kids have stopped napping & 85% of 5 year olds stay away all day long.

This means that Mamma, you are not alone.

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How do I implement a daily quiet time routine?

I’m going to tell you exactly how to start Quiet Time & make it work.

  • Time
  • Expectations
  • Tools

Keep reading to find out exactly how I implement Quiet time in my home & some tips to get it started for the first time.

Before the Big Day

You’ll want to decide these before you start quiet time. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

What time will quiet time be?

The first thing you want to decide is when quiet time will be.

You’ll want to be as consistent as possible. I have a routine set up on Alexa & each day, she announces when quiet time is.

Jolene thinks Alexa is a real person; so she doesn’t get mad at me because Alexa is telling her to go to quiet time.

For some reason she tends to listen to Alexa better.

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Where will your child have quiet time?

Will your child have quiet time in their room (highly recommended) or in your room? Either place needs to be quiet and relaxing.

You’ll want to decide & keep it that way – no going back & forth, Mamma.

How long is quiet time?

Next, you want to decide on how long quiet time will be.

I recommend at least one hour but it can be up to 2 hours, some parents can get away with 3 glorious hours.

If I keep Jolene in quiet time too long, she ends up falling asleep. So, I’ve taken my quiet time down to 1 hour; sometimes I push it longer.

& if she ends up falling asleep; I don’t wake her. I should – but I don’t.

How do I get my child to stay in the room for so long?

You will most likely have to work your way up to this time goal & I’ll teach you how.

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You may want some tools.

This is where you will want some kind of color changing light, you could use a sound machine, an echo dot, or a TV if there’s one in the room.

I’ve used all of the above & my favorite is by far the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine.

You can choose literally ANY color for it to change to – make it fun & let your child choose the colors for quiet time!

During quiet time; I turn the light blue. Then at 2:20 (or when quiet time is over) it turns yellow. I can program what time these happen or do it manually.

At the end of quiet time – Jolene yells, “Mommy, it’s yellow!” & she knows that signals the end of quiet time.

I also have a nest camera in JJ’s room; so I can watch her the entire time she’s in there.

The Bottom Line

Have some sort of visual that shows it’s “quiet time” & a visual that signals the end of quiet time.

You could even use a sign or stick something under the door.

I would have fun with it & say, “When quiet time is over, I’ll put a little note under the door! You can’t come out until you see the note!”

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My toddler refuses quiet time and won’t stay in her room.

I have these super cool door thingys that keep the door cracked but toddlers and preschoolers can’t open them.

Eventually, you won’t have to use them but at first they are helpful so you don’t have to sit at the door. Note: I still use mine.

The Big Day – Your first Quiet Time

You’ll want to explain to your child what quiet time is & why you will be doing it.

“You need some time to rest and relax & so does Mommy.”

Go over the expectations:

Say: “When the color is blue (lullaby is playing, TV is on __, etc.) you need to stay in your room.

You can lay in bed, watch your iPad, read books, play quietly with your toys, etc.

I don’t have any screen time limits; so JJ can watch her iPad the entire time if she wants.

“When the color turns yellow (lullaby turns off, TV turns off, etc) quiet time is over and you can come out.”

Your child can’t tell time.

Now the nice thing here is that your child doesn’t know how long an hour or two hours is.

This means you can play with the time. You’ll want to start off slow.

  1. Take your child to their room & get them set up.

Typically; Jolene goes into her room and lays in her bed. I put the blanket on & she watches her iPad.

  1. Tell your child it’s quiet time & you can’t wait to see them after. You can even bribe them – sorry, not sorry.


Jolene gets a pop after quiet time, EVERY day. It’s not really necessary though.

This will work without a bribe – it just might be a little bit harder to get started.

  1. Leave your child in their room & go take a break (it may only be 15 mins this time, Mamma. So don’t get comfy!)

Watch your child. Every child is going to react differently at this point. I’ve never had Jolene cry it out – but I’m not against it.

My child completely lost his shit!

This may happen. You have two options. You can let him cry it out or you can stand by the door and talk to him.

Option 1

Let your child cry & stay away. Keep quiet time pretty short though; because the crying will exhaust your child & make them super grumpy after quiet time.

Option 2 – more my style.

Stand by the door & talk to your toddler or preschooler. Tell them that you can’t let them out until the color changes to yellow.

Let them know that you can’t wait to hang out with them & as soon as it turns yellow – you will let them out!

You may be spending the entire quiet time right by the door for a few days but this is the more gentle approach.

Keep it short

The MOST important part here is to change the color or signal the end of quiet time every single time.

It doesn’t matter if you only keep them in there for 2 minutes – signal the end of quiet time.

This will allow your child to start understanding that they will get to come out as soon as that signal happens.

If your child is giving you a really hard time at the beginning keep them in for only 15 minutes & then move it up by 15 minutes until you reach your time goal.

It will work & if it doesn’t reach out to me and I will troubleshoot with you.

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Relax Time

Once your child understands the concept of quiet time and really && I mean really trusts that you won’t let them out until that signal happens; you will get your full quiet time.

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    I’d love to hear how your quiet time went?

    If this post about about quiet time helped you – I would love for you to share it to help others!

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    4 Comments

    1. Alexis June 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      My 3.5 year old JUST stopped napping and I was so sad! She’s started playing in her room by herself longer and I’ve thought about quiet time but wasn’t sure how to get started. I love the idea of having a routine set up on Alexa. I’m definitely gonna be trying that!

      1. Josephine June 23, 2020 at 4:51 am

        Hi Alexis, I hope you get some quiet time now that naps have stopped! Let me know if there’s anything I can help with!

    2. Kay June 22, 2020 at 6:41 pm

      My little one is about to turn one. I will have to remember these tips for when this day comes! I loved that you added that your kiddo listens more to alexa lol

      1. Josephine June 23, 2020 at 4:51 am

        Hi Kay! Yes! Enjoy your naps as long as you can; but when that ends this routine will be here for you! 🙂

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