What To Do When Naptime Ceases…


I don’t know about you, but my sanity break (and my blogging time) comes about 2:00 every afternoon…when my children nap. Both boys have thankfully been regular nappers their entire lives.

Until now, that is…

Big Brother will be four in January and he has dropped his nap.  He’s down to napping once every 4 or 5 days now.  I know I should be thankful that he’s kept it this long…and I am. But I’m also mourning the loss of some time to get

things done. So I’ve implemented “room time” with Big Brother. He must stay in his room for an hour and a half each afternoon.

As much as I would love to admit that I’m doing this because it’s good for him to have some “down time” (which, of course, it is)…I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m mostly doing it for myself.  I need a little bit of time to get things done…to have a few moments of peace and quiet to get my wits about me before part 2 of the day begins.

Hence, the idea for quiet boxes…

I first saw the idea for these over on Money Saving Mom.  And I quickly raided the treasure trove of independent activities (most of them geared towards first graders) currently residing in my basement.  We also made an impromptu stop at Dollar General for some plastic tubs and the dominoes…the only two things that I had to purchase to create these tubs.

The boys have very few toys in their rooms.  I tend to think that rooms are for sleeping and if you have lots of “stuff” to play with, very little sleeping goes on!  So, I’m keeping these tubs in a closet close to Big Brother’s room and will take one out each day at naptime.

I decided to do five tubs, one for each weekday.  At the recommendation from a friend, Big Brother will get to choose his favorite on Saturday and Sunday.

I wanted to include something in each box that would fit each of the following categoies:

  • Something to help him LEARN
  • Something to LISTEN to
  • Something that he would LOVE

Want to know what’s inside each box???  I thought you’d never ask!



-Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper and Markers
Boggle Jr.
-Dino Clip Cards/Counters from Confessions of a Homeschooler 
Do Your ABC’s, Little Brown Bear Book & Audio CD (purchased from my Scholastic Book Orders while I was teaching)


Matching & Sequencing Flip Book
Unifix Cubes
Buzz said the Bee book and audio CD


Heart Breaker Number Game
-My First Picture Dictionary Write-on Book
Adventures in Odyssey:  At Home and Abroad Tapes (these are the actual tapes that I had when I was little)
This is the House that Jack Built book and Audio CD


“Opposites” Matching Game
Dinosaur Lacing & Tracing
Tile Math (Marcy Cook Math…Big Brother LOVES this)
24-Piece Dinosaur Puzzle (puzzles are NOT Big Brother’s thing…so I’m sure this will be more frustrating than anything)
I Like Myself book and Audio CD


Melissa & Doug Magnetic Pattern Block Kit
 Clothespin Capital and Lowercase Matching Activity
A Clipboard, crayons, and some tracing cards
Adventures in Odyssey Tapes (not pictured)
Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board (not pictured)

Although not pictured in the boxes, the Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition (with the audio CD’s) is also readily available in his room at all times.

The key to making this work is to include things that the child doesn’t already play with everyday.  As I said earlier, I did not go out and purchase a bunch of things…I used what I had.  Some of the “toys” that Big Brother had received in the past (like the magnetic pattern block kit, for example) had been put away because he wasn’t quite old enough to use them properly.  So this seemed new to him!

I tried to introduce each of the “new” activities to Big Brother in the morning prior to naptime so he felt comfortable with using them independently.  This is important, especially if it will be challenging to a child on his/her own.

I’ll probably change out some of the activities every month or so, just so that it stays fun and exciting.  I’ve also talked with a friend about trading boxes once a month to give our kids something completely new!

Another trick that seems to work wonders with keeping him in his room is telling him every time he comes out of his room, I’ll take something from his box away.  Seriously…why didn’t I think of this sooner???

Have you ever used quiet boxes?  If so, what activities do you include???


  1. says

    Oh thank you, thank you for this post! Exactly what I needed today. I do the same kind of quiet times for my boys, and lately they’ve not been going well. My 2.5 year old is dropping naps to only every few days, and he can get himself into so much trouble, in a toy free bedroom.
    Can’t wait to try this out!

  2. says

    I think having “quiet time” in their room, if they are too old for napping is a great idea. When my kids are too old to nap, we’ll be doing this for sure. It’s good for everyone in the family.

  3. says

    Jenae- Thanks for your great inspiration. I’ll put up a post with my poster later this week. I’d forgotten about it. It works for us. It isn’t fool proof and doesn’t always work… but I think quiet time (like anything) needs constant tweaking if I want to keep having it! I’ll send you the link once it is up and post this as well. I already emailed the link to this post to several friends because they have been asking for ideas and this one is fabulous. Your kids are so lucky to have such a creative and inventive mom!

  4. says

    I like the way you separated out everything into boxes. I may give that a try. :) I have an almost 5 year old and an almost 8 year old who I homeschool. We have quiet time every afternoon for about an hour and a half. The older boy actually has days where he asks for quiet time. He has grown to look forward to the times he can just play by himself or “read” his books.

  5. Jamie says

    If you have a Michael’s Craft near you, they are clearing out a bunch of their $1 and $2 items- they are 70% off, making them 30 and 60 cents. I found some great games and books in the mix for my son! This is a great idea.

  6. Kristie says

    I love this idea. We also have a four year old boy who gave up his naps about a year ago. It makes for a fun late afternoon. This is our second year homeschooling our children (10, 8, 6 and 4). These boxes would also be great for him to have something to do while I am working with my daughters and their assignments. Thank you for your great website filled with neat ideas.

  7. Narah says

    I pined this to come back to when we need it, and now we need it. Does Big Brother have a cd player in his room? Can I ask what kind? I figure it has to be simple enough for him to operate on his own, right? We’re going to start in on our own bins!

  8. Liz says

    Oh gosh I wish my son made it that long he stopped napping at age two, when I became pregnant with my second child. By age 4 it’s easy I give him my iPad put him in his room and he works on puzzles and draws for an hour lol.

    • Martha says

      I use our iPad with our 4 year old,too and I just wanted to give you an idea that I’m using. There is an app called VisTImer (I think it cost $1.99) which is a visual timer (it has a circle that disappears as the time counts down) that also can lock the other apps until the time runs out. I set it for an hour and my daughter has to play quietly or look at books until the timer has counted down. So far it’s worked like a charm and I get at least an hour and a half of quiet time! :) Just a tip- make sure to turn the auto lock feature in the settings to “Never” so your child can see the timer the whole time.

  9. Sharon says

    thank you! This is great and might help keep me sane this summer.

    did you buy your listening CD with your Bible or separately? I already have the Bible but would really like to have it on audio. My kids LOVE listening to books on CD.

    • says

      Ummm…I have yet to swap anything out?!?! With the exception of a few books, here and there. My guy doesn’t want one of these every day right now (probably because he is BORED with the selection since it has been the same), so some days he gets a box and some days he just listens to his CDs. Every few months, he’ll go through a growth spurt (or something) and NEED to sleep, so I just put them away for a while until he is back to not napping at all again. :)

  10. C Soup says

    These are a great idea! I love the selection too. I found you on Pinterest and there is one activity that isn’t linked and I honestly have no idea where to find more info on it. Can you elaborate more on the Tile Math? I think my daughter would love it but I have no idea where to get the tiles or how to use them. ~chasgallagher (at) yahoo

  11. says

    I’ve been saving this post for quite some time. I am going to be speaking at a local MOPS group on Tuesday about mommy anger and will be sharing this post. :) Thank you for your tips and advice. Rest time at our house is VITAL for my sanity (although I love my kids, dearly). :)

  12. says

    What great ideas! I’m fearing that the time is coming when naps will be in my son’s past. These will really help me adjust to this coming change!

    I blog at Teachers of Good Things and this is the kind of ideas my readers would love! Please come and linkup on the Tender Moments with Toddlers & Preschoolers with this idea. Here is the link for the current one: http://teachersofgoodthings.com/bowling-pins-for-toddlers-and-preschoolers/

    It is EVERY Thursday and your posts would be very welcomed in our link ups.

    I’m heading to share this pin in our Toddlers & Preschoolers board.

  13. says

    Wooow what a great idea. It is a bit like montessori. Every week you choose some objects and toys for him and you change it every week. But I liked this idea too. May I write this about on my website. I’ll give your website name of course.

  14. Kati says

    I have a quick question about the educational activities in your boxes. I’d be afraid of my son matching or adding wrong and not having anyone there to correct that. Leaving them to “teach” themselves, isn’t that maybe setting them up for failure just a little bit? I’m not criticizing, I’m literally curious because my son is looking like we may be giving up naps shortly and I’d like to look into doing these boxes. I just want to make sure I’m going about it the right way though.

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