Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quiet Time Activities

As my child has grown it has been more difficult for me to find quiet activities that will keep him entertained. He is a VERY active 20 month-old boy that is always on the move. For us, Sunday is a day where we try not to turn on the tv and to find other means of entertainment. With the weather nice, it's easy to go outside on a walk. But, even then we don't always want to go outside. This doesn't just apply to us on Sundays, either. I need some ideas for "quiet time".

So, my questions to you are: -What kinds of activities has your child/children enjoyed for "quiet time"? -What are some tricks to keep your child actively engaged in the activity without getting frustrated?


Anonymous said...

I found a great book at Goodwill (meaning super cheap) of Elmo going to school. All the pages are felt. The back of the book has a pocket with a bunch of felt characters and pieces for the child to "create the scene" and tell the story their own way. Even very small children have enjoyed doing it. The felt is easy! You don't have to really be that coordinated to stick felt characters to the pages, then rearrange. See if you can find fun things like this that are interactive, but still easy to do. If you can't find something like that for cheap, you could always make your own!

I also really like the "First Look and Find" series. No reading required. Even babies and can find the objects in the picture. The pages are big, bright and colorful. I always feel like I'm getting my money's worth with this series. And you can probably find your child's favorite characters!

If you want to do music time, you can softly play primary/children's songs and give the child a streamer or scarf to play with. I like to just attach ribbons to the end of a dowel rod. Young kids love twirling and moving to the music. (Even boys.)

If your child likes to get his hands messy, you can have him make pictures for Grandma, cards, etc. where you help him put his finger and hand prints on the page. Even if he does just two or three, it takes time to set up the paint, print, and then clean up afterward. :) And grandma always loves home made art or cards! Also birthday cards, cards for neighbors, thank yous etc. You can work on acquiring a whole pack of cards to use at appropriate times, just doing a few at a time.

I also will occasionally show the book of mormon or bible animated movies on Sundays. While TV or other movies are off limits, the kids are allowed to choose a church related movie on Sunday.

Really, I think that all kids learn attention and focus, but it's harder for some than others. Some are blessed with more energy! Some just naturally have longer attention. But if you can work on a daily basis to extend your son's attention span in all play, then he will eventually learn. You can do it gently, like when he runs off to get into something else, call him back and say, "Hey I was still playing with you! Come back! The lion needs to hear you roar!" or whatever it is you are doing. Try to sustain his attention on one activity for at least a minute, working toward two minutes because he's almost two, before he runs off to a new toy, book, or activity. Gradually extend the focus time. Longer attention means they'll tolerate quiet time more easily because they have greater internal control.

I feel like established reading time every day helps also. Every day before naps, even the toddlers have story time. Short stories first, and grow into longer ones. During these quiet times the child learns to sit still and listen, an important skill in school and at church.

Boys, in general, are a lot more rambunctious than girls! They have more energy and are on the go a lot! Take it slow, but actively try to sustain attention span and focus every day and then "quiet times" will become easier along the way.

Anonymous said...

I've tried to think of more ideas for you. These aren't original, but maybe they'll spawn more creative ones? ;)

I like to rotate the kids' toys, so they are new and exciting. Perhaps you can reserve some of his toys as "Sunday toys." This box only comes out on Sundays. He'll entertain himself with these "new" things because he only sees them once per week! Of course, the Sunday toys should be rotated occasionally too to preserve the novelty effect.

As a very small child in my home, we started having Family Hour on Sundays either before or after church. The order went like this: sing opening song, say prayer, do scriptures (which meant learning the articles of faith because those are 'scriptures' too), review calendar items, everyone gets a turn to make comments (kids' comments are hilarious), have a short lesson, and have closing prayer. Then on Monday night we would do Family Home Evening which consisted of an activity and refreshments.

So Family Hour actually took up between 1-2 hours on Sundays. I cannot ever remember having a Sunday without it. Even my baby brother and sister would be there, even before they understood what was going on. Mom did this intentionally to help keep people quiet and Christ-focused on Sundays. The new nursery manual provides age appropriate lessons that would be excellent to reiterate in Family Hour. Mom would also create lessons from the Friend magazine. At the time, my mom was my nursery leader so she would often repeat the lesson she taught in church. Most toddlers love repetition, and I felt I could contribute in some way to the lesson because I knew what was going on.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I really loved the comments above -what great ideas. This is a fabulous topic Kym, I hope others comment so we can see some more ideas.

I'm with you and the above comment, we keep the TV off. I think we've only watched TV once on Sunday in the last couple of years and that was when we all had the stomach flu and were miserable. But, I do let my kids watch one (sometimes two if I'm desperate) living scriptures video. We've watched "The Testaments" or "Legacy" on Sunday as well.

But as a general rule, the TV is off.

We like to take walks (like you said), but if you aren't up for a walk, one of my favorite things to do is get a big blanket and have the whole family lay out on the lawn in the shade. It's so relaxing and you can be outside without expending energy (you know, like on fast Sunday when you don't have any, or in the heat of the summer when it is too much to walk).

Books are also key for quiet time for my kids. My daughter doesn't always take a "nap" but she still goes into her room for naptime. Sometimes she just reads the whole time. I think she is used to being quite for a few hours in a row because of that.

Playing with toys quietly with your kids while listening to church music or quiet music is also fun.

We sometimes visit family on Sundays too, that's a nice quiet activity usually.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I think Sundays are really about family time. While you may not find boating at the lake to be an appropriate family activity for Sunday, I think having a family picnic in the backyard would be! I love Tannie's idea about the blanket in the shade! How fun!

That got me thinking about taking family trips to a nearby temple to walk around the grounds. If you have one close by that might be a fun trip, but also significant too, not just taking up time.

One attention activity my mom did with us as toddlers, and I do now, are finger plays. She had a whole book of them. We did them everywhere and anywhere, especially when we had to sit and wait, like at church or Dr's office. An easy church one is, "This is the church house. See the steeple? Look inside and see all the people! Close the doors, hear them pray. Open the doors, and they all walk away." You do it by clasping and opening both hands to look inside.

You can also bounce 3 fingers on your other hand and chant, "Three little monkeys jumping on the bed! One fell off and bumped his head!" and so on until you only have 1 finger bouncing left. If your library doesn't have a book of finger plays, make some up! Babies love them because they don't have to be able to talk. They can use their fingers, watch, or bounce along with the rhymes, whatever their ability is.

There's always coloring. But I do really like sticker books. I have to peel the stickers for the kid, and we don't really do it right with 2 year olds, but they love sticking the stickers on the pages. Sometimes you can get them to the put the sticker where it's actually supposed to go. If not, it doesn't matter because they are focusing and creating something they like!

I also like to make nursery/sunbeam "yearbooks." I know what lesson they are on, and they usually make a craft in class. We talk about it at home, and I record their thoughts. Draw more pictures in their book. I cut relevant pictures from church magazines, and child gets to use a glue stick to add them to their book. At the end of the year, I have a spiral/other type of notebook of the child's drawings, art, and thoughts of the gospel principles he learned. Kids love to look back at these because it's their own work. These are also useful to hand to them to look at during sacrament meeting.

Kym, Shaun and Riley said...

I LOVE all of the comments!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for you suggestions! They will be a of great help!!!!! You guys are awesome!

Delia said...

With one child we were able to keep things relatively quiet on a Sunday. He napped, we played quietly together just hanging out. But with is almost impossible. Loudness is in their genes. Kids are just loud and crazy naturally. We don't go swimming or run around playing sports but I do let my kids play in the backyard. They need to expend energy to stay sane. They are like little shaken up cans of soda {ESPECIALLY most boys}. The pressure of their energy bottled up inside seems to be more than they can take. I just faced the fact that the way we observe our Sabbath Day will vary depending on the stage of life we are in. I hope that makes sense.

We like to play hide and go seek in the dark after dinner (in the winter of course) and regular hide and go seek when the sun doesn't go to bed until after my kids do. You can play this with ANY age child. My toddler doesn't quite get it but that is what gets us all laughing so hard in pile on the floor at the end.

We give our boys all the balls we own and sit them at the foot of the stairs (or at the top) and have them bounce balls up and down the stairs. This is REALLY fun for everyone.

We also watch a church "show" sometimes. My kids watch Mr. Krueger's Christmas no matter what time of year. That is their favorite one for some reason.

We will also make a treat together and then deliver it to neighbors we think might like some cheering up.

If we had a missionary in our family or in our ward even {but we don't right now} we would write a letter to them or draw it in my kid's case.

Good luck. :) I love the ideas that have already been offered.