Solution For Keeping Little Ones in Bed {so you can have your quiet time}

Lately, I have seen a lot of status updates on Facebook from parents that mention their small children – toddlers and preschoolers – waking up WAY too early in the morning. And I know that when the children wake before mommy wakes – a quiet time is sure to not happen. Children need our full attention so having our eyes on the Bible is not best when our eyes need to be watching them!

I know there are mothers desperate to get their quiet time in, in the morning. So this post is for you! I have two solutions – we will start with #1!

1. My sisters taught me a trick that they both used.  I tried their trick and it worked!! Cover the last two numbers of the clock with a piece of paper. Then write on the paper the hour that you would like your child to come out of their room in the morning. In our home, it has always been 7. Then teach your child to match the two numbers! When the two numbers match they can come out of their room. At bedtime, I would show them how the 7′s were matching (they usually went to bed around 7:30pm) and I’d remind them to not come out of their room until there was a matching 7.

I’d lay books beside their bed and they had permission to get up and read or play quietly in their rooms – just not come out until there was a matching 7. Sometimes there were rewards for obeying. If they mistakenly came out, I gently took them back to the room – showed them that the numbers were not matching and encouraged them to read and play until they saw matching numbers. This took time and training to get them to this point – but once they got it, it was so worth the training time! This is still the “rule” in our home to this day.

(If you have tried other solutions to no avail AND you have tried #1 – go to solution #2!)

2. Do not try to have a morning quiet time alone…oh I know it’s painful to not have that time that you dream of having – but some seasons of life do not permit this possibility. Either you have to get up very very very early (which may make you sleep deprived and not such a nice mommy or wife) – OR simply give yourself grace during this season of life. Read the Bible with your children during breakfast or lunch or wait until after they are down for afternoon naps or bedtime, and then spend quality time with Lord.

Please remember, this season of life is NOT forever. Add ten years to your children’s lives. If you have a 1, 3 and 5 year old in ten years they will be 10, 13, and 15. You will not be bathing them, cutting up their food, and dressing them forever. In ten years, the opposite will be happening. Perhaps they will be preparing the food for you and doing the laundry to help you!

So persevere during this season of life. Remember Philippians 3:14 - “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Press on sweet sisters and mommies! Strain toward the prize. We are not home to heaven yet. These days may be hard – but we have great hope in knowing that one day all the pain and trials we face will be over and we will step onto the shores of heaven!!! Oh what a glorious day it will be!!!

Walk with the King!
, WomenLivingWell.org

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Comments

  1. Shonda says

    I know you shared this before and I have used it for about a month and it is GREAT!!! My son was getting up so early and it was wreaking havoc on my morning. I wanted to give him better attention and a good morning hug and snuggle, but he would come downstairs when I was working out, doing my Bible study or when I was on the computer and it wasn’t good. Thank you SO much for this tip! I have shared it with other friends.

  2. Becky@OrganizingMadeFun says

    Great post, Courtney! I have also done this same thing – I used timers. Here is how I used them to help my kids stay in bed, also:

    http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/2011/07/timers-blessed-timers.html

    I also feel the same as you and my kids are 13 and 8 and STILL have to stay in their rooms until 7 AM!! So, it does last a long time – and the training is definitely worth it!

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

    • says

      Our youngest uses a light timer too. We call it his ‘good morning’ light. He is allowed to come out to use the toilet before that light comes on – but then it’s back to his room. :)

      We introduced the digital clock to our eldest when he was about 5 or 6.

  3. says

    #2 is an excellent reminder. My kids are currently 8 & 3. A few years ago, a “more experienced mother” gently reminded me that our God is a God of grace. She told me that, at this stage of life, it can me more important to have a heart that is tuned to hear Him throughout the day than an actual time of quiet. We have to deal with so much on the fly – discipline, interruptions to routine, illness, etc – that sending up little prayers and listening throughout the day can be as reassuring as sitting down for 20 minutes to read and pray. Plus, I’ve loved reading the Bible with my kids in the morning! We’re just about at the point where everyone is sleeping until 7 (which I can never seem to do), so I’m getting my quiet time most mornings. It’s lovely!

  4. Karon says

    I used that trick as well — worked great! Wish I had thought to write the number to match — our son learned it pretty quickly, but that might have made it go even faster! And you definitely have to cover up the last two numbers — I know my son would have come out at 3:27 AM and say “But there is a 7!” :)

  5. Jenifer Harrod says

    This was a great post and great ideas I may use soon. I tryed to go to this post on twitter but it didn’t work. Then I tried to go to it on facebook and it didn’t work so then I decided just to go to your blog and finally it worked. This must mean something:) Come by adn see us on our blog.

  6. says

    This was a great post! For some reason, my kids(so far!) have always just waited for me or my husband to come get them out of bed in the morning so we haven’t had too many problems with this yet. I’ve always wondered if it’s because we don’t start putting them in toddler beds until after they turn3, and they’re just used to having to wait for mom& dad in the mornings. Things could definitely change though, especially since my little 1 year old and 2 year old seem to be a lot more daring than my first two were, so I will be keeping these tips in mind! :)

  7. Lorri Castro says

    What a great post, and timely. It’s hard with an 18-month old at home. I love that you suggest grace if little ones have to be up. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Stacy Paden says

    Awesome idea, as a mother of 5 you would think I would have figured this idea out. I have taught my older children, who do know their numbers , to wait until they get out of bed by telling time. Your idea is great for the younger ones who do not know how to tell time. I can also see this building my little one’s self confidence by being able to match the numbers and being able to obey the rule. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Jennifer says

    Not trying to have my morning time alone has been a sanity saver for me. I have been having my morning time with my son for the better part of the last year and it works pretty well for us. He learned to be quiet (as quiet as a 4 yr old boy can be anyway) pretty quickly and usually just snuggles up beside me while I study or he plays with some of his toys quietly on the coffee table.

  10. Angela says

    There was a season where God would wake me up around 3:30/4am and I would do my Bible study then. I would go back to bed for another hour or two afterward or until a child came in to get me. I think this works best for me, cause most of the time all the kids are sleeping during the wee early hours of the morning. These are some good ideas in this post. I think you just need to find out what works best for you.

  11. Angela says

    There was a season where God would wake me up around 3:30/4am and I would do my Bible study then. I would go back to bed for another hour or two afterward or until a child came in to get me. I think this works best for me, cause most of the time all the kids are sleeping during the wee early hours of the morning. These are some good ideas in this post. I think you just need to find out what works best for you.

    • says

      Angela – my mother used to do her quiet times in the middle of the night too! I love this1 Yes – you must find what works best for you and the seasons of life are continually changing and we have to readjust :)

    • says

      Yes–sometimes my best prayer times are in the middle of the night or very early in the morning when I can’t sleep or am up with a little one. I have also been putting on an audio Bible during the day if I am not able to sit down and read for a chunk of time.

  12. Rachel Whitehead says

    We have a special clock I bought for my daughter on amazon. It is yellow all night long and turns green when she is allowed to get up. The parents program it for when they want it to turn green. It has worked since day one and we love it!

  13. says

    Courtney, this is such a nice post! My son is 11 now, so early morning is technically possible, but he has Type 1 Diabetes and we’re up during the night checking his blood sugar. I’m too tired to get up early every morning!

    The point is….I love when you said to give yourself grace during this season of life. So true!

    I also like to remind myself that if my quiet time is always early, before my son gets up—he’ll never see me having my quiet time. Perhaps later is better sometimes. : )

  14. Amy says

    Ah, this is exactly what I needed to hear/read. I have a 2 year old and 4 month old (who still does not sleep through the night). Thanks for the encouragement.

  15. Tracy B Niles says

    This is so hilarious…as for the past 2 mornings my child has gotten up the SAME time as me. I was feeling “cheated” by not getting my quiet time with the Lord! This post is RIGHT ON TIME! thank you!

  16. says

    Wow, I can’t imagine having children who go to bed at 7:30…be grateful for good sleepers :) That’s a great tip. Our kids usually get up at around 6, and it would be nice to get them to play independently for a while, for quiet time. But, to be honest, our kids are “morning” people, and that first hour or 2 is filled with amazing fellowship with our children. Cuddling, great conversation over breakfast, and just generally awesome moments. So, we are happy to allow them to get up with us and enjoy the morning. I usually pray in the morning, but have a more in depth quiet time in the afternoon or after the children are asleep at night. I grew up around my grandparents who did a Bible study together every night before bed, so that kind of stuck with me, and evening seems to work best for our family.

    That’s a great suggestion though :)

  17. says

    This is a great idea! I have tried telling my kids a time, but have gotten lazy with it. I think if I put a sign on the clock, that would be a great reminder for all of us. And I love the idea of covering the other numbers to make it easier for the little ones. So smart! So I wonder if I’m the only one who thought… Is 9 too late? Just kidding! ;-)

  18. Cat@BudgetBlonde.com says

    I really loved this idea and I pinned it so that I could use it someday. Did you tell your kids what to do if they were hurt? I just didn’t want my (future, non-existant yet) kids to think they’d get in trouble if they had something serious to tell me before 7. Thoughts? I love all these ideas that I keep for that time! Thank you!

  19. Teafung says

    Such a great post, thank you. My 3 year old daughter sometimes wakes up during my Bible time, and I have a coloring book of Bible stories ($1 store!) and so she gets a page to color while I finish. She usually wants to hear whatever I’m reading, too, which is really sweet. My 1 year old is not quite so conformable when he’s up :)

  20. Colleen Allison says

    Good idea for typical kids if it works! I am a 48 year old mom with kids ranging from 22 to 7 and I have found that the whole idea of “quiet time” for a young mom can become one of those ideals that can simply be unattainable for a season. I remember trying to really establish a “quiet time” when I had four little ones. The “quiet time” was a mark of “spiritual maturity”. “Do you have a quiet time?” was a much asked question among Christian women. Meaning–are you alone reading your Bible and praying early in the A.M.? For a mom breast feeding and home schooling that whole alone thing is rather elusive! But, I really tried and I think the morning I gave up the goal of a consisitent daily early morning “quiet time” was when I heard ear piercing screams from a child that needed mommy’s immediate help. With my kids–it just wasn’t going to happen no matter how early I got up–stuff just happened. Of course, I had one girl and three rambunctious, athletic little boys who were very active. So, we had Bible time together first thing before home school. And that was awesome! Currently, my seven year old has Down syndrome, autism and apraxia and my 10 yo has Type 1 diabetes, so mommy still can’t shut her door and expect the children to never interrupt me. I have to be available 24 hours a day for these two children. I see my 19 year old son plop down right in the middle of the chaos, open his Bible and notebook and have quiet time in the dining room. (Much like we did when he was little.) I truly think quietly going before the Lord (even if quiet is more heartfelt than actuality) with your children is the goal for young mommys and mommys of special needs kids. Praying incessantly throughout the day is awesome–great during laundry etc. Playing Christian praise in the car while everyone is strapped in a seatbelt can be a great spiritual time for mom to get encouraged and refreshed in her spirit. A mom recently asked me if my kids had “quiet time” in their rooms in the afternoons? Did they take naps? The old inferiority arose–”Why no–they don’t.” Yet, while at her house one afternoon I discovered “quiet time” for mommy was when she put her crying toddler in his room, shoved a chair under the door knob to keep him locked in, and then she walked off and let him cry himself to sleep. She should have asked ‘if I locked my kids in their rooms so I could have some time to myself’. That would have been more honest. I share all of this to encourage moms to care for your children and love them, don’t resent them if you cannot have a waking hour completely to yourself. Because for some of you, you will not have many days during a season of young children when you will have even one hour uninterrupted. And it is okay! You are not less spiritual! And your kids are not less well behaved! God commands us to love our children–and to speak to them of God’s law throughout the day. So, make that your goal and when you can snatch that wonderful, silent hour to spend before the Lord (uniterrupted) just be thankful.

    • Northerncrazy8 says

      I used your #1 rule which worked for us, & we continued in on until jobs required them to get up earlier. I don’t think the point is to neglect your kids but teaching some self discipline for them. There is, of course, always exceptions & no matter if you have special needs kids or not you need to be available to them 24/7. I would read the Bible with my kids but found it very difficult to truly study with noise. It was just something I couldn’t & still can’t do. With young kids, you may not get the quiet time you desire, but you can still strive for it. Without a goal, it won’t happen.

    • Lssabby11 says

      As a mother with a 5yr. Old with Down Syndrome, thank you. Encouragement was needed from someone who knows, again thanks!

  21. Jodi says

    This is great. I taught my kids to read the first number on the clock too. We also put their nightlight on a Christmas timer. That way, when the night light went out it meant they could get out of bed. There have definitely been days where my Bible Study looks different – reading it out loud to them or finding a way to keep them occupied while I can finish. Still working at making it work.

  22. says

    This is a great post – I especially like no.2 because I found the same thing. I was trying for ever so long to have a quiet time in the morning and failing miserably most days because I was up in the night and couldn’t get out of bed in time! So it ended up that I just didn’t have a good quiet time. When I changed my thinking and instead thought what it is my best time of day where I could schedule an uninterrupted time with God – which at that time was when my smallest went down for a nap and the others read books. Now he doesn’t have a naptime, so the best time is now mornings even when they are up because they are better at reading in their room first thing, and I pray in the evenings when I can go for a walk after they are all in bed. I have done so much better since changing my mindset on that :)

  23. says

    Wonderful advice! This season has been hard but I have been learning the “practice of the presence of God.” I have a two year old and a nine month old who had “colic” for the first 8.5. months. I preached to myself to “turn my cup” and invite the Lord into every moment…to fellowship with Him through it all. I often forgot but looking back it is amazing how the Lord has spoken and led me during this time with so minimal alone time. He is SOOOOOOOO faithful!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Jette says

    Nice solution, especially the 1.:-)
    When my children were young the were told not to disturb my quit time – and it worked. They were allowed to come into my room, sit down, look at their books or paint a nice picture. They weren’t allowed to talk. Most time they spent in their rooms then because they thought it was boring sitting in my room and waiting for me to be ready.
    And in the evenings, before bedtime we had a quit time together – so they’ve learned to spent time with God. We stopped having this time together this spring – the youngest is 14 now – and they do their quit times on their own!

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