this summer…

… out of desperation, we began doing something we’d never done before.

We instituted a mandatory quiet time for all people under 10.

Because having 11 kids in the house all day can get a teeny tiny bit crazy.

The idea was that everyone would grab their library books – oh, public library, how I love thee – and snuggle up on their beds to read.

Or, in some cases, pretend to read.

And the main goal was to just manage the craziness this summer.

But it has been so much better than that.

Now the kids actually ask to go lay down to read.

Or I find them doing their ‘reading’ without me even having to ask them, quiet time or not.

So, most days, from 2:30 to 4:30 it’s quiet time.

Ahhhhhhhh. Makes the rest of the day not just more bearable, but actually quite pleasant.

And I’m hopeful it will pay big dividends for the bigger littles when school starts and they’re not struggling to get back into the swing.


I’ve been a mom for almost 23 years, and I’m learning that it’s never too late to learn new things.

If y’all are smiling knowingly, and have already been doing this for years, how come no one ever told me? And what else have you got up your sleeve that I need to know?

C’mon. Spill it.



  1. amen! sorry to keep the secret– i horde adventures in odyssey CDs- the kids disperse to their rooms, listen to them, or read, or color and i have my own time out. with 6 kids under 10, a mom’s gotta have some sanity time!!!!

  2. YAY! for quiet time….. As I said on FB, we have gotten an extra summer of naps (or at the least, quiet time in her room) out of Li’l E because the new hearing aide just wipes her out by lunch time. All that noise and extra input. So even if we have LOTS of meltdowns and erratic emotional outbursts during the day (which we had almost daily for the early part of the trial) we have recovery time. For momma and for Li’l E. Plus, then she can stay up and cheer for TEAM USA and TEAM CHINA (how ’bout those divers?!!!!) with us a little later :)

  3. This post just made my teacher heart skip a beat :)

  4. As a child I loved to read, loved it, a childhood friend remembers me with a book in my hand All.the. time. As an adult I still love to read. I hope you can instill this in all of you children. And kudos for you for PEACE…..!

  5. I agree with Emily…Adventures in Odyssey CD’s are AWESOME!!!

  6. A friend’s mom use to have her do that all the time, even when she had friends over. My dad loved it so much he started to make me have “reading time,” and I’m his only kid.

  7. We have “quiet time” for DD every single day…I read about it on someone’s blog before traveling & it went into my “gotta’ do that” file in my mind. Right now she naps during that time, but when she gets older we will keep it in place and make it reading time as you have. I need quiet time as much as she does every day, I can only imagine with 11 you REALLY need it lol!

  8. Cathy C. says:

    Have your beginning readers discovered Mo Willem’s “Elephant and Piggie” books?!??! I bet your lovely public library would happily provide them. They are darling! I love “We Are In a Book!” currently.

    My Kindergarten teacher heart is very happy to hear about your success! :-)

  9. we do this, too, and M often asks, “is it rest time yet?”

  10. AMEN! We have “R&R” time every afternoon (“Reading and Relaxing”). My first four kiddos used to read and nap, but now that they’re older they read for the first half of the time and then play quietly for the last half. Each in a different room. But we only do 1.5 hr…maybe I should up that!

  11. Yep. 1-3PM here is quiet time. Heaven help the feet that wake me from my nap…er…well anyway. It’s nice we all get to have quiet time! :)

  12. Love it! How do you get the littles to read for 2 hours?

  13. Umiamigrad says:

    Four of my six are over ten so their big thing is screen time. We limit all six kids to two hours of screen time a day at the same time. For us, it is from 3-5 in the summer (too hot to be outside) and from 7-9 in the winter (after time change) when it’s dark. The unexpected bonus was that the house is quiet (except laughter from I Love Lucy on the tv) and the kids don’t bug us at all during that time! They end up reading during other times of the day or are outside playing or in the pool.

  14. I love quiet time…and yes we have always done it. It replaced nap time when they outgrew it.

  15. Oh, YES, my kids have quiet time. But the younger one sleeps, and the older one reads, and also sometimes sleeps. It fabulous. :)

  16. I only have TWO, and we’ve been doing QT for years. It’s good for them, and it’s REALLY good for the mom! LOL

  17. Hillary Glauser-Patton says:

    Yes, how do you get the littles to “read” that long? Love it!

  18. Yup, R&R has been a staple around here for quite some time. I have 2 who still nap, but for the third, it’s quiet time in her room–reading, brushing her dolls’ hair, choosing her outfits for the next 3 months. It’s all good as long as it’s quiet. 😉

    **As an aside, I am a new reader to this blog, and found you through No Hands But Ours (which I have been reading for a while). My 3 year old, adopted from China, is in the midst of a medical crisis involving a rare brain disease. If you would like me to contribute to that site on the “Family Stories” page once we are all home after surgeries (hopefully mid-late Sept), please contact me at I have learned so much by reading posts there, and want and need to pay it forward.

  19. I too have quiet time, when my girls take their nam, every. single. day. Even my six year old sleeps but this summer I let her stay up a lot of times. It’s awesome, this quiet time. It makes a HUGE difference. I think every mom should have it, and every mom DESERVES it. <3

  20. Outstanding – happy for you! I’ll second Cathy C’s observation about Willems – love his books for littles!! Other things include ‘mandatory chore time’ – a block that follows dinner (we’re still old fashioned and all eat at the same table most every day – with exceptions for scheduled extracurriculars like dance class) and after dinner comes 30 minutes of “room” or “dishes” or “floor” or whatever! Baths are the same time every day too – a little “schedule” keeps things running and easier for dad!

    hugs – aus and co.

  21. We call that “Feet Off the Ground Time” around here:)

  22. Okay…I don’t know whether to feel bad that I was not aware of this “quiet time” thing…or just be impressed that you got them all on board for TWO HOURS. I think I’ll go with impressed…all the while plotting for my own quiet time…maybe even today! On behalf of newbie moms (it’s only been a mere 6 years for me! ha!) everywhere…just let me say thanks! :-)

  23. Yep I started this back when baby girl came home. We had been nap-free here for several years and all of a sudden I was saying “Be quiet! Baby girl is asleep.” She is a fairly sound sleeper, but these boys can be so loud. :) So, anyway, it dawned on me “Hey, why not have everyone do a quiet time???” GENIUS! Can’t believe no one ever thought of that LOL! Of course smarter Mommas than me had once I shared about it on the blog.

    Some of my olders (currently 13, 12 and 10) balked so I named it aptly “separation time” for them. I will allow them to do something other than read, although they often choose that anyway, but it has to be ALONE and it has to be non-electronic. I have been known to allow 2 at a time to play a game of chess or other board game, as long as they are quiet (so an exception to separation is sometimes granted ;). As for the three littles, it is on the bed or sometimes one-on-one reading with momma on her bed for a few minutes at a time.

    It is so awesome though; I highly recommend it!!!

  24. Someone asked how do you get them to read books for 2 hours. Well, at first, they may test do you really mean it, but after a few days of adding an extra 5 minutes for every time they asked “can I get up yet?” mine quit asking. :) They figured out quickly!

    I do allow our 6 1/2-year-old daughter to take her sketch book and a few colored pencils with her as she will often draw about something she is reading about, but she is quiet and stays on her bed and doesn’t color on anything else. For me, it is as much about the quiet and separation as it is about the reading, though I agree that it is a great way to make sure they love books for the unique joys they provide (which is sometimes hard to do in this electronically charged time we live in!). 2 cents on the books for 2 hours fwiw

  25. We do this every night after dinner. We curl up in the living room with a book and relax before bed. I love reading and having a dyslexic kiddo made it difficult to pass on sometimes, but now that he’s really taken off in reading he likes to read to the youngers. It’s a big part of their language arts, we like to do novel based instruction, so we read and then the next day discuss what we read.

  26. Amen! It’s 2-4 for us, and it’s been that way for 16 years! I don’t think I would have survived without it. But when our homeschool year starts back up, I may have to use that time to teach my teenagers now. :( I’m sure it will be sanctifying……………

  27. Precious girls!! It is so fun to keep up with your blog and kiddos……Makes me smile especially on those days when my two spicy girls are competing (7 & 4) for my attention…talking over one another, and just being the sisters that God intended. I would love to add to our family, but DH says he is too old and he is through. Plus my older daughter is going through some things.

  28. LOL! We jokingly call this “Mother’s Amish Hour” because all technology is banned, and we were (and some still are!) required to be in our rooms not talking to each other, not touching each other, but only and she meant ONLY reading, writing in a journal, or making a quiet craft.

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