Four Tips for Quiet Hour

Angela left a comment yesterday asking about Quiet Hour.

I want to know about your QUIET HOUR. You mean we can send all the kids to a quiet spot for an hour and I don’t have to feel guilty that I need some peace???? Sometimes I think my head is going to explode if I don’t get a little reprieve in the day. The adopted children yell MOM, MOM, mom every minute……. I don’t know how to break them of it.

When I originally established Quiet Hour, all of my children were securely attached, neurotypical kids, which made it easy.  I found a spot for each child, on their bed, on my bed, in a sleeping bag in the hallway, on the living room sofa, even on the stair landing – wherever they could be alone.  They took a stack of books, schoolwork, drawing materials, quiet toys, anything that helped them happily pass the time, as long as it did not make noise.  Everyone rested for an hour.

Life changed with the addition of our children from “hard places.”  Quiet Hour, as it was, did not work for my highly-anxious, attachment challenged children.  However, it was probably even more essential for the rest of us.

Solitude may cause children from “hard places” to feel isolated, abandoned, anxious, or vulnerable.  We must set the bar low enough for them to be successful at Quiet Hour, and give us a few moments of rest. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Keep your children very close to you, but still resting.  If they can’t bear to be in a room away from you, try putting them on the sofa, the floor, the hallway, but in a place where they can still see you.  I’ve even pulled a large chair away from the wall and put Legos behind it for a child to have a play place.

2. If they can’t keep from talking to you, try giving them something to listen to with earbuds. Offering my ipod, or a small DVD player helps those who can not occupy themselves for an hour.

3. When they talk to you, answer in a whisper with as few words as possible, reassure them with touch, remind them it is Quiet Hour.

4.  Try 10 minutes and slowly lengthen Quiet Hour as their ability to tolerate it increases.

These days I have a simple routine with my three youngest. In the early afternoon (no later than 2:00, so we’ll be done before the school kids arrive home) we gather on the sofa with our stack of books.  I read the Bible to them, then our nature study book, followed by our current read aloud – Farmer Boy.

Then Eby heads to the room he shares with Little Man, where he draws and plays quietly. Sunshine goes to her room to read, and Little  Man goes to the living room sofa with a stack of books, and lately, a bin of Legos on the coffee table.  He is anxious about being away from me right now, but from the sofa he can hear me in the kitchen/family room, and often see me as well.

Have a great Friday, friends.  The sun is just coming up at my house and children will be awake soon; early morning is the ultimate quiet time for me.

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This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Courtney
    September 28, 2012

    love this! it's ALWAYS been a sweet spot in my day…quiet time in the afternoon! this past summer, it became a very sweet time for my older kids together…some day i would allow the older 3 to play QUIETLY in one of their 2 rooms.

  2. Laurel
    September 28, 2012

    Quiet Time. Oh.My.Yes. An essential part of the day for busy mamas of large families.

    We had an afternoon quiet time for many, many years. While The Littles took their afternoon naps (and mommy, too, if I'd been up a lot in the night) . . . the older kids each had a quiet reading spot.

    When we added kids from hard places . . . yes, reading on the living room couch was quite acceptable.

    Hope you are settling back into your at-home routine after being gone for a week. We are gearing up to be gone for 3 days (with kids), home for 2 days, and then gone again (without kids) for 8 days. It takes a lot of work to be gone for a week (and we don't have any wonderful grandparents or aunties to come stay with the kids).



  3. angela
    September 28, 2012

    Thank you for this! I think it is doable here. I need to make it part of the routine. I don't need it so much on school days, but like last week, when school was closed because of the smoke we had to deal with a lot of behaviors and I get so tired. . . and then there are the weekends. Days that lack structure. Sadly, I'm already dreading next summer because of how my Missy handled the lack of structure this past summer. I can't imagine doing that again…. for her, or for the rest of the family. (I need a full time summer school program. And for a 9 yr old developmentally delayed child, that seems to be impossible to find).

  4. Debbie
    September 28, 2012

    I never did quiet hour with my older bio kids because I never thought of it. Wish I had! It started with me when I had a foster child that, well, drove me kind of crazy. He asked all day long if I would play with him and had no idea how to play by himself for even 3 minutes at 5 years old. He had been living with relatives who let him watch T.V. all day long.

    So I could have a little respite during the day I started giving him quiet time when his sister was taking a nap. I put him in the playroom and told him he could play with anything he wanted as long as he did it quietly for 5 minutes. The first time he just stood in the doorway. I ignored him. After a couple of days he started to play. I then increased the time by 5 minutes each day. He actually started to like it and would put himself in there right after lunch. Eventually we worked up to an hour. Sometimes he fell asleep. It helped his imagination tremendously! He did not have one before quiet time.

    When my oldest adopted daughter, now three, started to give up naps a few days a week, I immediately started quiet time. She gets to fill up a basket of toy and books and can play or "read" quietly on top of her bed. I set the timer for one hour. She falls asleep about half the time. She usually gets off the bed once and I put her back on with a stern warning not to do it again because it is interrupting Mommy's quiet time. She is learning to use her imagination quite a bit. I have noticed that this has transferred to other times when she is playing. I'm hoping it will also help with reading skills as she gets older.

    It helps me to get all the stuff done that I need quietness for, blogging, emails, bills, and I usually start the initials of dinner preparation as well.

    Quiet time is the best kept secret out there!

  5. sleepyknitter
    September 29, 2012

    We have Nap Time at our house. Our two younger ones will sleep for as long as three hours, and the oldest one plays quietly in her room while the younger two sleep. As soon as our middle child wakes up, nap time is "officially" over for everyone — she tends to "rule the roost". Sometimes she only sleeps for an hour, and sometimes not at all, but when she does sleep, it's usually for three hours (thank You, God, for all eternity!). We let them take quiet toys to their room. We never negotiate about the time, place, or action of nap time — at our house, this is not a time for compromise, largely because of the type of employment that my husband and I have. We do a large portion of our work at home (he's a PhD candidate, and I am or at least was a professor). The kids come up with Purvis-style compromises in other areas of their day, but not for Nap Time — Nap Time is what has allowed us the little bit of sanity we have left. 🙂 As the children are growing older, now 3, 5, and 9, we will probably start referring to Nap Time as Quiet Time. I think your suggestions in this post are wonderful!

  6. Cheryl Vanderwell
    October 15, 2012

    We called it 'Rest and Read' time when our older kids were younger and still call it that with our two youngest. We would take 60-90 minutes after lunch and do something quiet. If the kids were tired enough it gave them a chance to nap. I have always worked the night shift (as an RN) and feel behind on my sleep most of the time! I would nap also, get a jump start on dinner or simply sit and read. Whatever it is, it is a sanity saver!


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