Implementing quiet time is a great way for providers to combat burnout but also has benefits for children as well. Read on for some strategies to start quiet time in your dayhome today.
Preventing Provider Burnout
As a dayhome provider, our days are non-stop from the time we open till the time we close. And providers with children at home still have dinner and bedtime to get through before having some time to themselves. Nap time is sometimes the only time of day for a chance to use the bathroom, have a bite to eat or just sit and be able to rest our bodies. This all helps prevent us from burning out and combats those feelings of being overwhelmed. So what happens when you have non-nappers in the group? Or no nappers?! Enter quiet time!
Benefits to Children
Strong self-regulation skills aren’t something that children are born with. Instead, they take time and practice to fully develop. And implementing a period of quiet time in your dayhome will help the children in your care practice their self-regulation skills. Remaining quiet, calm, and focused on an activity during the quiet time are great ways to practice self-regulation. And those self-regulation skills they are building on will serve them well as they enter into school in a few short years.
In a similar vein as self-regulation, mindfulness is a great tool for children to possess. Practicing mindfulness can help children learn to calm their bodies and minds – which can be extremely helpful in a classroom setting when a child is required to focus to complete a task. And what better way to practice this important skill than the regularly scheduled quiet time where a child can learn what it takes to quiet the mind and body?
While you’re away (safely) enjoying some much needed quiet time to recharge and reset yourself, your dayhome children are stretching their autonomy muscles. Without you being immediately accessible to them, they must learn to plan their quiet time period and keep themselves occupied. This unstructured time to explore in their own ways is incredible for developing those autonomy skills.
How to get started
So now that we understand the benefits of quiet time, how do we implement a quiet time in our dayhomes?
- The first week begin with 30 minutes a day then increase quiet time by 15 minutes each week until reaching a full 90 minutes.
- Give each child a defined space that is theirs for the duration of quiet time. This can be done using cots, yoga mats or work out mats. Perhaps your own children get to spend quiet time in their bedrooms.
- Separate out the children so they cannot see each other. This way they are less inclined to start up conversations. Strategically place the individual spaces by using furniture, walls, blankets or even a folding mat on end to block the line of sight from one child to another. Being careful not to block access to any exits and maintaining a clear pathway to each in case of an emergency.
- Set a couple rules.iIe: staying in their space unless they need the washroom, quiet lips and movements
- Put on some soothing music to drown out the small movements and noises of the children. Some recommendations are Enya, Mozart or Nature Sounds.
- Let each child pick out a book or two and maybe a stuffed animal for their space. Look and find books like Where’s Waldo are a favourite!
- For older children let this be a time for them to play with items they don’t normally have access to. Perhaps little Legos, certain craft supplies or special quiet time busy books/ bins etc.
- If it’s a day where you really need the quiet time for yourself, put on a movie. Even if you don’t generally watch tv there are some days we as providers need the quiet time even more than the kids do. So give yourself permission to put a movie on.
Implementing a quiet time might take a bit of work to introduce but it is so worth it. Everyone will be rested and recharged, ready to take on the second half of the day! You may be surprised by some still falling asleep now and then meaning they really needed the rest! And you may even hear from the children that quiet time is their favourite time of day and they look forward to it.
Fall Busy Book
Our fall busy book is a great quiet time activity just download, print and laminate!
It has 10 pages of fun activities designed to engage your children in literacy, numeracy, cognitive & socio-emotional development, and fine motor skills.