We've been using a "quiet time jar" to help my older son stay focused with quiet indoor activities while his baby brother naps.
I've written before about how Kiddo goes berserk in evening. It's an ongoing problems, and every "solution" we have tried to introduce works for a while, but then wears off.
The standard parenting advice is to have a consistent bedtime routine. Well, we've had a consistent routine for 3 years! It is really the period between dinner and bedtime that is the hardest for me. Most of the time,my husband is not yet home and before New Kid came along I could always sit down and read books with my son to calm his energy before bed. This isn't working anymore, though.
The quiet time activities jar:
My latest tactic to master the pre-bedtime hours is the "Quiet Time Jar".
I covered a cardboard salt container (I have been hoarding them, because I knew they'd come in handy for something!) with fancy paper and gave it a label. It's a little bumpy and messy, but seriously... if you want pictures of beautiful handmade crafts, this is not the blog for you.
I wrote down quiet activities on wooden craft sticks and put them inside the jar. (If you need some ideas see the comments below or check out my giant list of Indoor Activities for Kids) Kiddo can add his own ideas as he thinks of them, too. Each evening he chooses an activity out of the container -- either randomly or by design -- to occupy himself.
So far this strategy has been paying off. I know nothing lasts forever when you have kids, but hopefully this will keep us going for a while.
I'd love to know what all of your quiet time activities are!
Bona Fide Mama says
Girl, I recently had the exact same idea, only my activities were going to be written on paper and put into a sack. I even made a list of the things to include. Only I never got around to actually making it. I like the craft stick ideas. That's fun. Gonna probably have to steal this. Good luck with making it work!
Alycia in Va. says
Hey,do whatever works. I hope you have prolonged success with this strategy.
Starr Weems de Graffenried says
Ah! I've been hoarding salt containers, too. I knew there was a reason for it.
I have the same problem with the "night insanity" and I have yet to find a solution that sticks.
If we keep jumping from tactic to tactic, maybe we can outrun it until they grow out of it! 🙂
debbie koenig says
Um, my solution is to let jr watch TV during that post-dinner, pre-bedtime hour. Don't tell anyone, but it totally mellows him out.
Meanwhile, though, I love the sticks idea! But does kiddo read, or does he pick one stick and you read it to him?
Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog says
This is genius! You are brilliant!! On behalf of all stay-at-home moms, I thank you!!!
You crack me up--your honesty is a hoot!
I think everyone has a bit of an issue with that weird post-dinner/before-bedtime period. Not only are parents tired but kid(s) are, too!
We used to listen to WXPN.org's "Kids Corner" radio show--dance, sing, etc. and then, head up to bed. In the summertime we go out into the backyard but in the winter...it's pretty much "hanging out in Ben's bedroom while he plays with Playmobil guys, etc.."
If I think of any better ideas ('cause that was a total non-help), I'll let you know. 🙂
Mom and Kiddo says
So far these are the quiet time activities:
Play with trains
build with blocks
make a collage
draw with oil pastels
listen to book on cd
but if Kiddo comes up with others, I'll let him add "approved" activities
Request you to give us the list of activities you do with your kid that will help us as a guideline!!Very Creative idea:)
Momand Kiddo says
Read my comment above, I list the activities.
Wow and Now says
Great post. Quiet books are highly customizable and can be created for almost any and every learning activity.