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How to Keep Older Kids Busy During Quiet Time

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A reader question came through asking about how quiet time works in our house. Abby asked, “What do your older younger kids do during nap time – the ones who are too old to sleep?”

This question came in response to my post, How to Create the Quiet Time All Moms Need. If you have not read that yet, you may want to before reading this post. In that post, I talk about why quiet time is important and more of the “how to” about it, but Abby is looking for what my kids do during this time, so that is what you will find here.

So for Abby and other readers who want to know how my kids stay busy, this is how it works for the kids who are too old to sleep every day.

keep kids busy during nap time

We generally require nap or quiet time in our house for kids until they are in first or second grade. This depends on how it works into the family homeschooling schedule for the day. If the only time available for someone to teach the younger kids their school is during quiet time, then quiet time is no longer something available for these school aged children. My preference, however, is for kids to have this quiet time as long as possible. Thus far, every child in our family has had quiet time until they are at least seven years old.

For me, quiet time is something that has always been so valuable to me that I have purposely arranged our daily schedule so that my younger kids are up later than most kids their age are simply so they are tired during the afternoon. To me, I crave that break during the day more than I do an early bedtime. Being “off duty” for a time in the afternoon renews me and is so beneficial to me for getting through the rest of the day that dividing my “on duty” day with the little ones who can be so exhausting in half with a quiet time is worth its weight in gold.

It is also amazing how kids still need this quiet time. In fact, I have had all of my kids still sleep at least three days of the week while they were busy doing their other things during quiet time. Because my kids are up later, they are tired enough that when they are reading, coloring, or even playing quietly they just give in to their heavy eyes and end up falling asleep.

Being up later also carves out time for us to spend together as a family in the evening after chores have been completed and the older kids have returned from practices. This family time in the evening for devotions and reading an educational yet fun book is just so important to everyone in the family that no one wants to miss it. This is a second benefit to kids having that rest time in the afternoon – they are able to stay up later without being a grump.

So then, what do our older kids do during this time?

I send them to a room on their own and then:

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We have a few simple portable CD players, like this one Sylvania Personal Compact CD Player and the possibilities are endless. Stories, songs, books on CD. This CD player is invaluable in our home.

All of our kids have loved, loved, loved, listening to Adventures in Odyssey. We have countless CD’s, and this series is a family favorite Disc – Adventures In Odyssey: Silver Anniversary (12 CD)

While listening, kids sometimes play with action figures, felt boards, or even Army guys or football guys. You can find some of these resources here:Set of 4 Felt Storyboards w/ Storage Bag – Three Little Pigs, Gingerbread Man, Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood Football Guys: Black vs. Gray Baseball Guys

Of course reading is always an option, even if they are just “reading” the pictures.

My boys love legos, but I find this is not a good option for the boys in my house during quiet time since there are always legos left around…maybe even in their bed, under pillows, in with their clothes, and that sort of thing. Maybe your boys could manage this better.

My girls enjoy playing with their polly pockets or maybe their loom bands during this time. They can generally manage the cleaning up part relatively well.

I allow them to take a coloring book and a few pencils or crayons into their quiet time if they choose.

Unless you like having a big mess to deal with, you will want to limit what they have each day. Tucking the few things of their choosing into an easy to carry caddy like this one 4 Piece Art Caddy Assorted can be a great way to keep their things all together.

We also provide our kids with a clock or timer so they will know when quiet time is supposed to end. Knowing that they control when they can come out, because their time has expired has worked so well in having them stay in their rooms without coming out at all unless it is to use the bathroom.

If you crave a quiet time but have kids who are too old to nap, try some of these ways to keep your kids entertained. They have worked so well for us with our five older kids thus far. They deserve a quiet time, and so do you!

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