Quiet time is essential for kids' brains—here are 5 ways to get it

Experts say kids need quiet time as much as they need play.

quiet time for kids

Quiet time. The words bring to mind images of a silent house, a resting child and a few minutes of solitude for parents. But what really is quiet time, and why is it so important?

Quiet time is an important part of a young child's day, and not just because it gives small bodies a rest. As a therapist in family practice, I recommend scheduling daily quiet time for kids because it helps them emotionally reset and recharge, which is necessary for helping them manage their emotions and handle frustrations. Quiet time also helps kids get through their busy days with enough strength and energy to match their intense childhood curiosity. Frequent rest is essential for growing bodies, which is why preschools always build in quiet time, even once children outgrow naps.

Building quiet time into your day can help your child better handle the stressors in their world, too. Here's how to do it, plus 5 quiet time activities for children.

While you may be fully invested in creating quiet time for your children each day, getting them on board can be a whole different issue! Transitions are hard for children, and transitioning from running around outside to quiet time can be tough. The trick to having a successful quiet time is structuring your day to build towards quiet time.

How to set up your child's daily schedule to include quiet time

Use a picture schedule. Create a schedule for each day that uses a visual representation of each major activity, including quiet time, e.g., breakfast, getting dressed, playing outside, quiet time, art time and so on. You can print pictures from the internet, take photos or use line drawings and attach it to an easel.

Kids respond well to picture schedules—which is why you've probably noticed them on the walls of every preschool and kindergarten classroom you've seen. A picture schedule shows kids what to expect each day. When kids know quiet time is coming, it helps them prepare and transition.

Make sure the activity before quiet time has a definite, clear end point. If kids are playing outside, they may be upset when you bring them in, complaining that they were just about to do something amazing. Consider having a snack or playing a game together just before quiet time. Activities that clearly end (the game ends, the snack is all gone) make for easier transition points than open-ended play-time.

Use a timer for quiet time. Once children are in quiet time, make sure it's clear to them how long they'll need to stay there. Consider using a visual timer that clearly indicates to children how long quiet time will last. You can also play music or use a standard playlist during quiet time, so your child can get a sense of how much longer they have in their quiet time. Remember, you have to be consistent in requiring them to stay in quiet time until it's over; if they can whine their way out of it, they're going to try getting out of it every day!

5 best quiet time activities for kids

When you're ready to try quiet time, keep in mind that although it feels like flipping on a movie is a great way to help kids relax, the reality is screen time isn't actually the best use of quiet time. Kids benefit far more from relaxing, engaging activities that let them recharge their bodies while completing a calming task, like the ideas below.


Books are the perfect quiet time activity, even for pre-readers. Reading and looking through books helps develop all kinds of academic and pre-academic skills. When children read the same book over and over, they learn predictability and routines. Children learn about sequencing and imagination. Have a big stack of preferred books available and let your child read through them during quiet time.

Building toys

Lego, Lincoln logs, block sets and other building toys let kids have some quiet time while still being engaged in an activity. Have a bin or two of toys available in their bedroom, and encourage children to create away! Make it a rule that they can show you all their creations at the end of quiet time—otherwise they may keep sneaking out of their room to show you their masterpieces.


If your child can color appropriately (on paper, not the walls!) consider setting up a coloring station in their bedroom. If coloring gets out of hand, try some of the special water-based coloring sets that only appear on the special paper, or try a paint-with-water activity kit. These can help kids get creative and relax, while avoiding a giant mess.


Puzzles are great for a range of reasons, including the development of problem-solving, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, planning and focus skills. They're also great for use during quiet time to keep kids engaged and busy.

Quiet music

Calming music can help set the mood for your child, relaxing them and helping them reset themselves during their downtime. Regardless of what other quiet time activities you make available, definitely consider adding in relaxing background music. It often works well for you to control the music from another room, setting a wireless speaker in their room, so they can't play "quiet time DJ" and turn it into a dance party!

There are a lot of options for quiet time, but remember to set up the day to prepare your child for quiet time, to help your child understand how long quiet time will last and to pick quiet, relaxing activities. Try to avoid screens and build in simple, engaging tasks to help them return to their day recharged and ready to go.

Quiet time activity picks

Natural wooden building blocks

This brilliant 70-piece block set unlocks STEM concepts like math, physics, and engineering, along with higher-order planning and problem-solving. Practice spatial awareness, motor-skill development, and hand-eye coordination.


Wooden pixel puzzle

Create beautiful wooden mosaics with these free-form puzzle pieces. Part art project, part calming, meditative focus, it's the perfect quiet time activity.


Quiet book

This mesmerizing, gentle book helps children experience a home through the sounds all around them.


Art easel

Janod splash easel

A playroom staple, easels present tons of options for quiet time activities. This one comes with six magnets, 10 pieces of chalk, 2 no-spill cups, a plastic storage bin, marker, paper roll with holder and eraser.


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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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