When I had two children, I was guaranteed a naptime break every day. Fast-forward a few years and naptime is still in place for the 4 and 2 year olds, but my older son and daughter (10 and 7) don’t need that kind of sleep during the day.
I do still need a break in the day to accomplish projects “solo” after a full, busy morning. So we instituted “quiet time” for our older two to give everyone a time to step away and recharge (because kids need that too!).
At first, it was pretty loosey-goosey, which basically resulted in the kids wandering aimlessly, asking for the iPad every chance they got!
So I came up with a few ideas that I wanted to share with you if you’re needing some inspiration for quiet time activities for older kids! These engaging activities have worked well with our own children for a couple of years and I hope they help you as well!
How to Structure Quiet Time for Older Kids
Come Up with a Workable Amount of Time for Rest and Quiet
I have set into place 90 minutes of quiet time for my children. You may want more or less depending on your needs, but since my kids are older I know they can handle that amount of independent activities. We break up our quiet time into 30 minute blocks.
Decide on Age-Appropriate, Stimulating Activities
For the first 30 minutes, my children read. They have to be “real” books, not digital books. We often visit the library or pull old favorites out of our own heaping collection of books to mix things up. My 7 year old daughter is in her room and my older son is sitting in the downstairs living area because he shares a room with his brother. They might also do a devotional during this time.
For the next 30 minutes, they play, draw or color (still in their respective areas). We have a number of activity and coloring books which our 7 year old loves. Our 10 year old really just likes to create battles with his favorite Legos :).
During this same time, they can listen to a CD with headphones on. We try to keep these Bible based, since as Christians, we care deeply about what they are exposed to and want it to be quality, character building content. It’s a great chance to nurture their faith by hearing! Further on in this post, I’ll share with you the new favorite audio adventure CDs our kids listen to!!
For the last 30 minutes of quiet time, we let them use their chosen electronic device to play games. Our 10 year actually likes to continue listening to his audio stories while he plays his apps. We are very careful about what apps we let our kids use and we monitor their access to the internet (i.e. they don’t have any access).
Don’t Get Upset if You’re Interrupted
I want to be accessible for my kids during their quiet time if they have an honest question or request. I do enforce that they must stay in their rooms for the full time unless there’s something urgent (or they have to go to the bathroom of course!). It’s harder for the 4 year old to do this on the days he doesn’t take his nap but the 7 and 10 year old do a great job! It involved a lot of repetition at first, reminding them gently that this is mom’s time alone and their time alone too. Having a chance to pause and rest is great for every person in our family.
Our New Favorite Audio Stories on CD That We Love!
As I mentioned, our kids love to listen to audio stories or music during quiet time. Their very favorite new audio series they have been listening to is called Audio Adventures: The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty from Heirloom Audio.
They’re adventurous stories of Christian heroes who have been used by God to affect history. I love, love, love that my kids are learning about some incredibly interesting people while growing to understand how God has ALWAYS worked throughout the history of the world.
The historical figures include William Wallace, Sir Frances Drake and others. The stories feature young people who “team up” with these heroes from long ago and learn to demonstrate virtue, bravery and faith.
They’re listening on the portable CD player. It looks like they’re watching a video and they look so serious! But they absolutely love these stories :)
They are produced by Bill Heid, who teamed up with producers who had previously done Adventures in Odyssey and Lamplighter Theater and actors like Sean Astin, Kirk Cameron (and a man from Star Wars who I didn’t know but my 10-year-old was excited about!) to create these action-packed character-building tales that testify to God’s power. Of course, all I had to do was say “it’s like Adventures in Odyssey” to my kids and they were sold–ha!
When asked, my 10-year-old said: “They’re really exciting and I really like the Dragon and the Raven best!”
My 7-year-old said, “I thought they were just for boys but they’re not. I really like the CD with the blond lady on the back!” (Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey who is the voice on In Freedom’s Cause about William Wallace–that comment made me LOL!)
We feel they are appropriate for our 7 and 10-year-old kids for sure and have been good so far for the 4-year-old. There is a lot of action in them but it hasn’t scared him at all. He actually has been jumping up and down during the most exciting parts of the stories–super cute!
I’m thinking these stories will also be a great activity for our long car trips to see the grandparents!
Find them on Amazon!