Sunday, January 17, 2010

Children's Book Monday - Quiet Time

Quiet Time.

Those two simple words make me smile, make my heart light, make me feel ready to meet anything the morning might throw at me because I know every afternoon, for at least an hour and a half, quiet and rest will reign in our home.

It is an anchor in our days.

We have held to a Quiet Time since the day Corban stopped taking a nap six years ago, and it usually involves a combination of beds, blankets, and books. (For the children, at least- for Mama, it is usually a busy, fruitful time... my quiet comes in the early morning before the *noise* awakens!)


The Boys usually occupy two separate rooms. They will collect stacks of books and drawing paper and pencils and sometimes listen to an audio book or radio show, but we've limited that to being used only during the non-reading part of Quiet Time; we don't want them to get used to having too many distractions while their minds struggle to comprehend what they're reading. It is good for them to spend some time apart; we've found that when we come together again, they are especially happy to see each other and spend the rest of the day inseparably.

I love to see the collections of drawings they complete during Quiet Time; standing at the counter and listening to their narrations of drawings or books they read is the best way to end that time apart! (The audio portion of today's Quiet Time description for The Boys brought to you by Living Books for the Ears- a wonderful (free!) resource for old time radio shows and classic books.)


Preparations for Eliana's Quiet Time is a delight for both of us! First, we tidy her bedroom and draw the blinds closed, filling the water bottle, turning on the lamp. The pretty, crocheted decorative pillow from Mama's bed is placed behind her own little pillow, and a box of library books is placed atop one of her little chairs for easy access. The timer is set for one hour, and she snuggles under the covers when I ask what music she would like to listen to. Lately, her favorite is Sing the Cold Winter Away, sung by Kathy Reid-Naiman.

This cd is a charming collection of songs; starting right off with "Snowflakes", a gentle tune that made Daddy, (who was helping tuck her in for Quiet last week on his day off) say, "Eliana! This song makes me want to crawl in next to you and have Quiet Time, too!" When I peek in on her as I pass with a basket of laundry or bucket of cleaning supplies, I can see her mouthing the words as she turns the pages of a favorite book.

Her other choice for music is a compilation of ballet pieces I put together on a cd from our collections of classical artists; my little girl loves the music of dance almost as much as she loves the art form of dance itself. This is a perfect accompaniment to Quiet Time- one can read quietly and not be as distracted as one might be by an audio book or radio show.

Because that is reserved for the second half of Quiet Time!

Once the timer has rung, it is reset for one half hour to an hour, depending on how much longer Mama judges little one to be able to remain Quiet. And then we choose between any number of audio books we have brought home from the library that week. In the last few months, Eliana has made her way through:

Sarah, Plain and Tall (Collection)
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Wizard of Oz
Alice in Wonderland
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek
Jim Weiss- Animal Tales, A Treasury of Wisdom, and Fairytale Favorites
A Little Princess

During this time, she is allowed to play with anything in her room, excepting the activites she needs help with; I tell her that if she wants to do something that she can't do on her own, she needs to save it until after Quiet Time. (Sometimes this works and she stays in her room for the full time, and sometimes it doesn't- I never really know when she's going to come barreling down the hall wearing nearly nothing and holding a dress-up dress that is inside-out, needing Mama to help!)


I combined this Quiet Time description with Children's Book Monday because I wanted to share how we are trying to enrich the experience of reading (if that is even possible!) for our children, and perhaps give you some ideas for your Quiet Time!

Bed, blankets, and books. And music and audio stories, too! What's your Quiet Time like?

Happy Reading! (For your library list this week, feel free to browse my newly updated Shelfari at the bottom of the page!)

17 fellow travelers shared:

spergerswoman said...

Elise, wonderful structure as always! Our "quiet time" has been a bit frazzled lately as the middle child just can't stay in bed looking at books as long as the oldest. She just has a different attention span. I love the idea of the timer and splitting things up a bit! As you know, we momma's need our time too! Thanks for sharing! Oh, and my new blog clothes will be up soon, thanks for sharing Debi with me!

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

Thank you for sharing, my friend. You had some great ideas and we are needing to a few adjustments here. :)

Have a beautiful week!

Jenny said...

We instituted rest and quiet during a pregnancy and it fell out of practice, until the next pregnancy. Our rest and quiet is 1 hour; the first 30 minutes spent reading, or looking at picture books if you can't read yet. The next 30 can be used, listening to quiet music, playing quietly with the sibling you share a room with, or simply resting.

Erin said...

I sooo desire a quiet time in my house of 5 rambunctious boys! However, it seems that during the littles' naptime is the only time to get some big-boy one-on-one or more difficult school done :-/ May I ask how you accomplish those things throughout your day while also fitting in quiet time?

Linda said...

What wonderful ideas Elise. I think, like you sweet husband, I would like to grab my pillow and curl up next to Eliana. She has been listening to some of my favorite stories.
Oh what treasures you are hiding in your children's hearts. Can I tell you what a wonderful Mama I think you are? You delight my heart.

jenny said...

Ahh! Quiet time is my friend!

Two nights ago I picked up Skylark as I climbed into bed--just to get my "Sarah fix." I just can't put those sweet books down, so I read the entire thing.

Amanda said...

This is a very special Children's Book Monday, as the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards (including the Newbery and Caldecott medals) were just announced moments ago! I'd be interested in hearing what you think about this year's picks!

Deidra said...

Oh wow. What a gift you're giving to your children. When mine were young we had story time, which often ended with a nap. It was quiet and wonderful...and remains suspended in time in my memory as one of the best parts of parenting.

Teri Selbher said...

Elise -
Wonderful post and so timely as I have been pondering a quiet time for our little one. She is 2 which makes me wonder what age you felt they were able to handle time to themselves in their own rooms.

As always, your words are deep and meaningful ~ a refreshment given the world's call to chaos. Thank you!

Beverly said...

I could picture our how sweetly this plays out in your home! At our house it is "quiet reading time," and since Shae gotten used to the longevity of it, they have it together in their room. I love the idea of compartmentalizing it! My girls read, color, play with blocks, and listen to either Christian songs or Narnia dramatized. Shana is in her crib, and Lena has full reign of the room, although she often snuggles in bed with her coloring or reading. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but I have been reading your blog for some time now, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your literary reviews. I love to read and am hoping to raise the 5 the Lord has given me to love books as much as Mama does! I spend over an hour today compiling a list from your Shelfari books. So thank you. My 5 children are 7 and under, and I don't have as much time as I would like to browse the library myself, so finding a source you trust, is SUCH a gift to me! Thank you for taking the time to do this. I just wanted you to know that I am one that is blessed by your efforts! May God bless you in return. Julie in St. Louis

Kathi Bailey said...

Our QT isn't quite as nice as yours, but we have done one for almost 3 yrs now.
You've given me some wonderful ideas.
Thank you.
- Kathi

Emily said...

Our Quiet Time is in a little bit of upheaval because of a two-month old, but I have one napper still, as well as the two older boys. They usually have 45min-1 hour of 'alone time' as well, and then I use the rest of quiet time to do read-alouds that are a little beyond the attention and comprehension abilities of their little sister. It is a sweet time with the three boys--two big ones listening, and a little pumpkin nursing or snoozing on my lap. I LOVE the idea of incorporating an extra 30 minutes of listening time, though, and I'm sure I'll be revisiting this post as Elizabeth outgrows her naptime. As always, thanks for the post.

Christine said...

It's wonderful to see a bit of your day in this post! We do have quiet times but not every day. What I do plan into every day, though, is an hour of time with a sibling (I pair a little with a big) and it has made their relationships stronger. It needs to be quiet play, not rowdy! Our quiet times would be more frequent but sometimes the day just gets away from us! I've also noticed that Zachary does NOT like to be alone! I guess that's a weakness of a fourth. Always surrounded by playmates. :)

Thanks for your post!

Kat said...

Our quiet times come from listening to the fragile songs of wilderness and wildlife, gentle breezes, refreshing rainfall, and the lovely creature chorus of birdsong. Kids seem to get right away that these sounds are worth listening to, relaxing into, and enjoying for their quiet times. Bernie Krause's album 'Nature' is just right for this, a portrait that allows restful, anxiety relieving soundscape to envelop the room.

Kat said...

Our quiet times come from listening to the fragile songs of wilderness and wildlife, gentle breezes, refreshing rainfall, and the lovely creature chorus of birdsong. Kids seem to get right away that these sounds are worth listening to, relaxing into, and enjoying for their quiet times. Bernie Krause's album 'Nature' is just right for this, a portrait that allows restful, anxiety relieving soundscape to envelop the room.

Elizabeth said...


I have to thank you for sharing your quiet time routine. My little 4 year old is giving up her nap, and we both have been struggling with finding a new rhythm for that time of day which was so peaceful, but lately has been full of tears (from both Mama and daughter). Bringing in a timer for predictablity and some music to soothe my sensitive girl (and me as I fold laundry in the living room!) has been such a blessing. And the audio books are such a wonderful idea as well.

Your words are always so gentle and beautiful. Our sweet Father has given you such a gift in your writings, and I want you to know that it encourages me as a young mother and wife so much.


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