WFMW-Room Time

We’re in the full swing of summer.  We just finished a glorious week of doing absolutely nothing and our summer vacation is coming up.  
And you will be happy to know my farmer’s tan is in full swing.
Because I am not a party planner or a cruise director,  I cannot make every summer day a Willy Wonka moment for my children.  There are lulls in our schedule. And lazy days.  And stay-in-your-pajamas-until-you-stink days.  
But with all the freedom and less structure, my kids wear on each other’s nerves. And mine. Can I say that? There are those moments when I want to find a summer school program, immediately. 
Last summer, I discovered two Magic Words for times like these. When my kids hear these words, their grumbling stops, their perspective changes and they find something to do.
Oh yeah, we’re talking powerful and 100 % legal.
Room. Time.
Room Time is time in your room.  Stay with me.  If my kids complain of boredom, fight with their siblings, or just need a time out.  I announce Room Time.
It lasts one hour. They are not allowed to come down, ask questions, get food, step-a-toe, outside their bedroom, until Room Time is over.  They can read, rest, write in their summer journal, they are forced to entertain themselves, alone.
This is the best attitude adjustment e-ver.  Many times, I’ll sneak up there and they’ve fallen asleep.  (This is denied if it’s mentioned though.  They were just resting their eyes).
When my kids come downstairs, they can’t wait to play together again.
It works like a charm.  And sometimes, I send myself to Room Time.  Because I need a nap. 
And an attitude adjustment.
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Comments

  1. says

    Definitely a great idea. My kids NEVER ~wink~ sleep either. I have one daughter you even stays up all night. simply amazing . . .
    ~Erin

  2. says

    I am also a firm believer in room time. My kids actually enjoy it. The 4 year old still has rest time that usually will turn into a nap and the 8 y/o periodically has "down time" that sometimes turns into a nap.

  3. says

    I'm a room time lover as well. In fact, that's what my post is on today, too. Our room time is a part of our daily routine. After breakfast everyone goes into their rooms for independent play. My girls are pros…my toddler is working his way up to an hour of room time. It is one of my favorite parenting tools!

  4. says

    Oh I love the sound of room time!

    Unfortunately our daughters share a room at our holiday cottage, but one of them could maybe go to my room and I could have some downstairs-all-on-my-own time :)

  5. says

    This is great! We have a version called it Book Time. Everyone has to stop, get a book, sit on the couches and read until I say they may get up. This is basically like playpen time that I always did for my babies and toddlers.

  6. says

    I started room time with each of my three kids even as young as 1 year old! They could do 15 minutes of "crib time" and we eventually worked up to one hour of room time.

    Room time is such a normal part of our household that it's not questioned at all. In fact, my kids go running for their rooms, ready for the time of independent, creative play.

    It is the ONLY WAY I have been able to run a business out of my home the last six years. It's amazing what you can accomplish in one hour!

  7. says

    I remember the days when I could use that as "punishment" for my kids. Now they're all teenagers and I would love for them to want to spend time not in their rooms.

    Hey, maybe that's what I should do when they act up–make them spend time with us? =)

  8. says

    We do this after lunch every day – book time, though no one has their own room. I expect them to read a book on their own – a number of books if necessary!!!

    I have to say that I led a mom's group for local mom's here (Cape Town, South Africa) for a while and they would die laughing at "your room time" since they all lived in homes that were just one room and they thought the funniest discipline line they ever saw in books or movies was: "Go to your room" this would leave them all tickled for hours!!!

  9. says

    Great post and great idea! I love the "resting their eyes" comment my kids will argue until they are blue in the face saying they were just resting their eyes not sleeping. I love lazy days at home. Our summer doesn't start until Monday so wish me luck as well.

  10. says

    We have nap and quiet time. And the two kids who share a room take turns having quiet time in the basement in front of the tube. Yup. :)

  11. says

    We have done the room time for several years – it's absolutely necessary during the summer that they have time to themselves (and me too) :)

  12. says

    It's a beautiful thing – my daughter is just starting to outgrow her afternoon nap, so I've already started doing "room time" for her. Even if she doesn't sleep, she has to stay in there and play/ read/ rest until it's time to come downstairs!

    Love how you use it as an attitude adjustment. I could use roomtime some days, too.

  13. says

    We do this too, however, it isn't always as quiet as I would like. My 3 girls share a room and the 2 boys share the other. But the idea is that I get a little break which makes me a much better mom come supper time. And really…my kids love it too and I love to hear my girls giggling over a book or something the baby just did and the boys planning the next fort/club they are going to build. Oh and my kids "just rest their eyes" occasionally too. :)

  14. says

    I don't have kids, but I remember doing this when I was a kid! We called it "Flat Time" though, because it didn't matter what you did (reading, writing, resting, etc.) as long as you stayed flat.

  15. says

    great idea!!!

    we are trying to find something similar in our family right now since i now have two non-nappers.

    only trouble for us is that our kids share a room…

  16. Just Us says

    i have sort of been doing this for awhile, only it doesn't usually last an hour (but maybe it should). i don't know why, but i always feel guilty about doing it (feeling like maybe i was being lazy by not 'entertaining' them better). however, now that i see other parents out there doing it, it doesn't seem bad at all….. if nothing else, it is atleast a good lesson for them on 'entertaining' themselves. :)

  17. says

    We do that! But we call it Quiet Time. I even do it when they are aggravating me. I tell them that Mommy is going to her room for Quiet Time and they leave me alone until I come out!

  18. says

    Oh Yeah! We have had thunderstorms and flooding for the last couple of days and the kids are driving me and each other crazy! Room time sounds like an awesome solution. Right now all 6 from ages 2-11 are watching Sesame street! I know – Desperation!

  19. says

    Great concept. Our babysitter actually does this with our daughter – she had "pack and play time" every afternoon. (Because she doesn't take an afternoon nap anymore.) And you know what? We ALL love it – daughter included!

  20. Beth S. says

    LOVE THIS! Next time my kids are making me nutso (which is pretty regularly these days) I am declaring it ROOM TIME! This will definitely be a blackmail tool that I can use to get them to straighten up and find something to do! THANKS!

  21. says

    thanks for the idea. I only have one, but sometimes he does get an attitude. I could see how this would be a great diffuser. I will shorten the time due to a younger child with less attention span, but great idea!
    He doesn't venture off to his room on his own often either because it's upstairs and we spend most of our time downstairs… will help him learn to enjoy his room more too.

  22. says

    Can I have room time? Where no one else can come into my room, ask for anything, etc? Oh, dare to dream! I would love to rest my eyes for an hour in the middle of the day…

  23. says

    Would you believe my oldest daughter taught my younger kids this when she was a teenager. She made a big thing out of it and called it alone time! They were about 7 or so at the time. It is such a good idea!

  24. says

    Room time is a problem here, since my 3 kids share a room. But I have found a solution. My 1 yr old gets pak'nplay time, in th eoffice, and the other kids trade off who gets to play in their room, and who gets to help with dinner.I don't get as much of a break, but with a small house like ours, I think it is healthy for the kids to learn how to entertain themselves. Plus, I know I have spent some quality time with them each week, teaching them something useful.

  25. Jen says

    Around our house room time is called Quiet Time and it's also for an hour stretch. The girls are "banished" to their rooms and can do anything as long as they are quiet.

  26. laytonfamily says

    isn't it the best? We have "Quiet Time" from 1pm-2pm EVERYDAY!! My 20 month old naps so my 6 yr old has to find something quiet to do in his room! No noise making toys, reading – coloring, playing quietly! And when I'm worn down, makes for a great nap time for me!

  27. says

    I've done that, but when our boys shared a room, it did get tough. Something else that worked for us was 'chore time'! With all their books, toys, games, LEGOS and imaginations…I didn't want to hear that they were bored…so when they were old enough to come tell me they were bored, they were old enough to a) clean the glass on the sliding door and the mirrors in the house b) wipe down the bathroom countertop; and if they were fighting AND bored…time to wipe down the baseboards ;D ALL of them. Remarkably, we had few 'bored' moments. a

  28. says

    Great Idea! We usually have a quiet time in the afternoon with the same rules as you mentioned, but I never thought of just calling a "room time" when arguing starts – GENIUS!!!

  29. Brandi Schattle says

    Love it! I know I am 2 years late and some but just found your post through another site and wanted to let ya know that as I am clicking on the links #2 on the list now leads to a porn site…

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