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. I’ve actually been working on this same project for the past few days for my daughter! She’s only 14 months, but I still like for her to have some quiet, independent play during the day in addition to her nap. I made the “I Spy” bottle you suggested here on your blog, and also went to the Dollar Store for a few random items that looked interesting (like cooking utensils, tambourine, etc.). I’ve tried to include one board book, one motor skills activity, and one fun item in each box. We’ll probably start implementing them later this week!

  2. I have twin 3yos and a 4yo, none of whom nap anymore. A few months ago, I made 6 “rest bags” and filled them with an assortment of toys, games, and outgrown-but-still-loved board books. At rest time, they can pick a bag and play with the contents. It has helped a lot! I made six of them so that they have some choice and variety.

    Some other items in ours:
    finger puppets (ikea)
    miniature animals
    mini magna-doodles
    i-spy bags
    magnetic dress-up dollies

  3. This is a timely post for me. My son has recently given up naps about every other day. Thanks for the idea. I’m not going to introduce it yet in hopes that this is just a phase and he’ll go back to regular naps, but I’ll keep it tucked away just in case.

  4. My almost-3 year old has given up naps. Yet my 5 year old still wants a nap! Kids sure are different! I’m struggling with how long quiet time should be. How long do others do it for? I was thinking an hour. An hour and a half seemed a little long to me. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    1. Do what you feel is right for your daughter. I feel that my son is old enough to handle an hour and a half…especially if he has lots of fun things to keep him company! :)

    2. I actually have my girls go down for 2 hours. I find that if its shorter, they are cranky and so am I. Some days are harder for them, but usually they fine with that amount of time.

  5. Perfect timing for this post! My daughter, who will also be 4 in January, only takes 1-2 naps a week now. As naptime is my main time for sewing (I have a children’s boutique), I NEED that time in the afternoon with no children. She still has to stay in her bed until 3 pm for “rest time”. I love the idea of quiet boxes so she doesn’t get so bored and impatient in there!

  6. i found it was good for big sis. she was fine with going to bed but if she was awake she always wanted to be by my side. i was very no nonsense about nap time. so she was okay with being alone in her room for nap. she then transitioned nicely to quiet time. i think it’s because of the quiet alone time, that she doesn’t follow me to the bathroom and she can actually entertain herself for a few minutes. love it.

  7. Thank you for this idea!!! I am trying to figure out how to make “rest time” for my almost 5 year old a good time for him. This was so helpful and organized. I always give hime books and soem cars, but he gets bored because it is the same thing everyday. This is a huge help and will start this week at our house.
    Also, do not feel like you have to explain why you want him to have rest time…everyone needs time away from each other…even Jesus had a time he went away from the crowd. As moms who are with our children day in and day out need time away from them AND to be honest our children need time away from us as well. They are just not able to understand that at their age!! THANKS again for all your wonderful ideas. Many of them are used in our house daily!!!

  8. These quiet time boxes are great. I saw them on MSM as well. Does your 4-year-old run the CD player himself or do you plan to go into his room to start the audiobooks for him?

    1. I normally turn the CD on right before I leave and show him how to push ‘play’ if he wants to listen again. He is great at pushing buttons (no pun intended), so this works for us. He has had a CD player in his room since Little Brother arrived…I started playing the ‘white noise’ cd’s on repeat since he is such a light sleeper. :)

      1. Ha! Pushing buttons. ;) My 14-month-old loves that, too. I’ve only let him at the CD player in his room once so far. Not only did he start working the on/off button without hesitation but volume UP was a total hoot (he didn’t care for the volume down button, naturally).

  9. Yes, I was wondering about the CD player as well. When I taught kindergarten, I taught the kids to do CDs, but the tapes were tricky, and there were still issues with the “pause” button for CDs.

  10. I have a blog post on my blog about a similar project! They sure saved my sanity when my kids were transitioning into not napping. The Quiet Time boxes I made helped them learn that every day after lunch they were to rest or do something quietly because mommy needed a break, too. Now they are older and don’t use them as much, but their 18-month old brother sure can :)

      1. sure! I was hesitant to list it because I didn’t want it to come across like I was trying to divert traffic to my blog. I first heard of these bins from Keeper of the Home a while back and thought it was ingenius (one of those ideas that seemed so simple and easy that I wondered why I had never thought of it before!) :)

  11. i saw this on pinterst (love that site) and i have been working on filling up my bins. however, i am stealing your friends idea on letting them pick on saturdays and sundays. yay for creativity being shared online. so cool.

  12. My kids have rest time daily up until they go to kindergarten. I love the ideas in your boxes and bags, but I just sometimes pull out random things that they haven’t seen in a while. My daughters have had such huge creative play during this time that you shouldn’t forget to have toys that spark creative play lying around. When they are big enough to be trusted, I try to have paper and pencil or crayons around in case they are sparked by their own imagination. We all need the quiet time!

  13. Love this idea! I may have to put some of these together to have on hand during quiet time. My 3.5 yr old son gave up his nap about 9 months ago and so we started quiet time as well. It ranges from 1-2 hrs depending on the day and my baby daughter’s nap. One of the things that I’ve done is created a big poster for his room with quiet time ideas. At some point I’ll make it into a photo poster, but for now it just has my drawings. My goal for quiet time is to foster creative play and help him learn the be independent without me needing to structure his time too much. Having the poster with pictures really is a great reminder during his playtime. He has a lot of toys in his room, but most are organized into bins or in cupboards. He rarely has time to play in his room with preschool and park trips, etc. so quiet time is one of his favorite times. I actually don’t use novel items yet, because often he requests to continue playing the Lego scene he started earlier in the day. Leaving it unstructured has been fascinating to me. I love seeing what ideas he comes up with. After quiet time he’ll reference his poster and give me a run down of what he did. It is adorable and a great opportunity to build language and work on concepts like first, next, etc. He is allowed to come out of his room for bathroom trips, and that is it. If it becomes a problem and he’s coming out a lot, I like to focus on the positive behavior I want to see (him playing quietly in his room), so I’ll set up a positive behavior chart for that day and every 10 minutes or so that he stays in his room he’ll earn a sticker. Sometimes that helps him earn something bigger like a trip to his favorite park, and sometimes he’s just excited about earning the sticker. I find that if I take things away from him or spend much time getting annoyed at him, it just gets a power struggle started and makes us both grumpy and I don’t get my break! Focusing on the positive keeps us both happy. I agree with several of the other commenters. We all need a break- definitely don’t feel bad about it :) I love hearing the different ideas that people are sharing! Thanks for sharing your great idea.

    1. What a great idea with using the poster! Do you have an example of it on your blog? I would love to see it!!!

      We’ve tried the positive reinforcement in the past as well with coming out of his room at naptime (and especially at night). Unfortunately, the behavior chart quickly lost its novelty. :)

  14. We do this too! The boys (2.5 and 6 months) go down for naps at 1:30. My daughter (4) does her homeschool work from 1:30-2:15 or so, and then she goes to her room for at least an hour.
    She has her toys in her room, mainly because we don’t have a toy room and if my kids’ things were all in our living room I’d go insane, but this is a great creative time for her. She has her art easel, playdough and kitchen and always comes away from quiet time with some great things made.
    Its completely for my sanity that I have her do this! But it is also good for her to recharge, to just lay on the floor if she wants, and to have some privacy to work through her thoughts and feelings.
    As a kid, I always needed an hour or two to myself during the day, clear up through high school. During college I had to work to find a place to be alone and the days I didn’t get it, I was downright crabby.
    I don’t see this so much in the 4 year old, but do in the 2.5 year old, so he’ll have quiet time too, when he gives up the naps. :)

  15. This is such a great idea! We are currently going through the same stage at our house and i have been trying to figure out some good quiet time activities. I can’t wait to give these a try and i love the idea of having different bins for each day, that keeps it interesting!

  16. Thanks for posting these ideas. My son has JUST started giving up naps too, and I saw the post on Moneysavingmom as well about quiet time bins, but only had two put together- these are great ideas! I love your blog, thanks for all the time you put into it- it really blesses my life!

  17. Brilliant idea! Thankfully my almost-3 year old is still napping, but his naps have gotten shorter and I’ve been fearing the inevitable! I’ve been wondering what to do with him when he drops his nap completely. Thanks so much for the great ideas!

  18. This is a great idea, and my 2.5 year old is also about to give up naps! Another strategy we’ve used is to put his lamp on a timer, so that he knows he has to stay in his room until it goes on at a specific time. At that point, it’s fine to come out. It works pretty well for us, but I definitely think I’ll try the box idea. :)

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. 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. :)

  28. 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

  29. 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). :)

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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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