by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
I was pulling my hair out with my newborn and toddler, who has decided that naps are just not for her anymore. My mother suggested I teach my older child how to have a "Quiet Hour." I tried very hard not to snort.
Mom might as well have been speaking gibberish. I couldn't find a board book much less set up a system to help a curious, active toddler entertain herself. But I was desperate so I gave it a try. Within a few weeks, "quiet time" had become my oasis and a time my child looked forward to.
These steps can help your explosive tiny bundle of energy get into the "quiet time" habit. I guess Mom had some good ideas after all.
Here's our all-time favorite activities. Once you set them into motion, you might even be able to grab a few precious minutes of "mom time" during "quiet time."
Spoon a few tablespoons of cooled pudding on a high chair tray or a plastic tablecloth. Seat your child and turn them loose to splash, "draw" pictures or sample a few bites. Quietly.
Tear paper into tiny pieces or allow your child to tear it. Then spread glue on a paper and encourage the budding artist to stick those bit in a colorful pattern. If they get worked up with the tearing part, just keep reminding the wee one it's "quiet time."
You've watched your toddler try to remove specks of lint from stick fingers, fascinated when the lint stuck to the other hand. Create a controlled gooey situation! Place a drip of honey or syrup on the high chair. Place a couple feathers in it.
Cut contact paper into a two leaf, animal, heart or other simple shape. Secure one sticky side up to the high chair tray. Offer snips of ribbon or paper and other shiny but toddler-safe decó. Once the shape is decorated, use the other piece of the shape to enclose the bling. Hang and enjoy!
Take quiet time one step further. Make up a different shoebox-sized bins with supplies. Change the contents around regularly so your child doesn't get bored.
Wrap a sturdy piece of cardboard or posterboard with flannel. Secure the flannel on the back with duct tape. Then cut scraps of felt into shapes. Does your toddler have favorite characters? Cut pictures from a magazine, glue to sturdy paper and attach a few small squares of sandpaper to the back.