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Save Your Sanity With a Quiet Time Basket


               Put together a Quiet Time Basket of goodies for sanity-saving (and quiet!) independent fun

Aaaahhhh…. A little afternoon quiet, anyone?

Ok, so sometimes our kids have those days.  You know the ones…  “He took my toy.”  “She touched me.”  “They won’t let me play.”

The days when you want to lock yourself in the bathroom with a box of chocolates, a good book, and a pair of noise-blocking headphones and pretend nothing exists outside the room.  But you don’t really have that option, do you, mama?  No telling what those kids would do while you were hiding.  You just can’t risk it.

What is a busy, loving mama to do?

Enter the basket of goodies

Hey, I have boys.  And even though they are basically teenagers now, they still have moments when the rough-and-rowdy gets to be over the top.   They’re a lot bigger now, too, and that means someone is going to get hurt or something is going to get broken.

Whenever the boys are having a bit of trouble getting calm, I pull out The Basket.  The basket (my huge one was gifted by another homeschooling mama who fortunately didn’t see the potential!) is filled with quiet things to do.  Nonfiction books on many different subjects: nature, science, camping, creating… anything I think will hold their interest.  There are pencils and paintbrushes and scrap paper and sketchbooks.  Glue and glitter and construction paper.  Crayons and watercolors and coloring books.  Even a couple of canvases to paint on.

When things get out of hand, Mama calls out, “Quiet time!”  The boys go to the basket, pick an activity, and find a place on opposite ends of the room to sit.  I set a timer, usually for 15 minutes, but if I (or they seem to) need more time, for half an hour.  Anyone who talks during that time loses a privilege for a day: TV time, weekend game time, etc.  Suddenly the house is quieter even than I would like.  The boys become engrossed in their chosen activity.  They calm down. (I swear, I’m not making that up.)

Here’s the cool thing.  At the end of the allotted time, we gather together in the middle of the room and share.  If Middle read a book about insects, he tells us something new he learned.  If Littlest drew a picture of a zombie war, he explains it to us in hilarious detail.  By the time we’re done, we’re all laughing and completely relaxed.  No more fighting.  No more stress.  They are ready to coexist again.

Put together a Quiet Time Basket of goodies for sanity-saving (and quiet!) independent fun

The Quiet Time Basket is a minor miracle

I’ve used this basket for years, and it has never ceased to work.  (Yeah yeah.)

Every few weeks, I add new things to the basket of goodies:  Different books and whatever yummy good stuff I’ve picked up at Dollar Tree.  Whatever keeps it interesting.  Because it always works.  Even better, when we have a long break (like summer) I use it to keep them reading and learning.  They don’t even have to argue or get grumpy, I just pick a moment to call out and we head into Quiet Time.  During the breaks I even take part in Quiet Time, picking an activity of my own to share with the boys.

The trick is to never make it seem like a punishment, because that’s not what it is.  It’s just a little break from the stress of their day.  And it works wonders, y’all.  And it has worked for them since they were 7 and 9.  If I had thought of it earlier, I’m positive it would have worked then, too.  You Have Got to get one of these.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

Love wins,


Looking for winter fun to have with your littles?  Check out:

Story Time: The Snowy Day

Dinner and a Movie: Alice Through the Looking Glass

Story Time: The Mitten

Cotton Snowman Craft for Preschoolers

Story Time:  The Valentine Bears

A Beary Wonderful Hibernation Unit

Story Time: Little Bear’s Valentine


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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. Too much brilliance in this post! Love, love, love this idea! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…For the Birds – Booknificent Thursday Link-Up Party #185My Profile

  2. Such a great idea! My kids always had to have an hour of quiet time in their rooms when they were younger. Now, I can barely get my teenagers to come out of their rooms! 😉

    Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays!
    Brandi Raae recently posted…Literacy Musing Mondays ~ Last Chance to Enter Giveaway!My Profile

  3. I NEED that basket like right now, I get my quiet time drinking coffee, but my kids are climbing me and not playing on their own like they should lol!!! That would be super helpful for coffee time.

    You should come link up at Bloggers Spotlight!

  4. What a great idea. A little quiet can do everyone such a world of good. Thanks for the tip. Visiting from Literacy Musing Monday

  5. I love quiet time activities! I used to nanny for a little man on the cusp of giving up his nap but still needing the down time not to be a crab by the time Mom came home! I hadn’t thought of using it as they age. I really like the idea of having the basket grow as the kiddos do
    Becca recently posted…Book Review | By The Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls WilderMy Profile

    • It was a trial and error thing, Becca, but as it kept working, I kept implementing it. I try to imagine it still working in 2 or 3 years and it makes me laugh to think of my big, hulking boys at 16 and 14, still running for the basket if I yell, “Quiet Time!” I mean, if they’re game I’m in, but it still makes me laugh.

  6. Oh, how clearly I remember those days of looking forward to the kids’ quiet time. Such a great idea to have a basket of activity starters!
    Michele Morin recently posted…Till We Have Faces (5): Why Should Our Hearts Not Dance?My Profile

  7. I don’t have kids yet but this is a FABULOUS idea! Especially when I have to babysit my nieces and nephews! Great idea :).

    Trendy & Tidy

  8. This is a great idea! I started using a timer for my 2-year-old and 4-year-old (they do a quiet activity that I pick out so that I can get something done in the meantime!) A basket is a wonderful idea! Visiting from Booknificent Thursday 🙂

    • It takes the work out of it, for the most part. I don’t let them get into the basket unless it’s Quiet Time, so they don’t get bored with what’s in it too quickly.

  9. That’s a nice basket! But only if kids are interested in arts crafts and reading 😉
    But it would also make a really nice gift!

    swapna recently posted…Bleeding Paper- 3 Ways! {Practical Mondays #44}My Profile

  10. Great ideas! I am familiar with the idea of a quiet time basket but love the way you implement it. Might have to try something similar!

  11. Pingback: 15 Ways to Cure the Summer Blahs | Lit Mama Homeschool

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