We strive to have a quiet time everyday in our home. Not only does it provide a sense of predictability for my children but it also serves the need (all of our needs) to have a half hour of quiet, calm, and peace. Our quiet time is after lunch and after story time. In general, I like to have a quieter environment after lunch as we transition to books and stories and into our official quiet time. One way to help this transition as we clear the table from lunch is through soft music. Calming music can make such a difference, it really sets a mood. In our home this can mean singing favorite soft tunes, listening to the classical radio station or sometimes a cd. Lately, it's been this one. A few minutes of soft music helps us transition for what comes next.
Once we've transitioned to our quiet time I have found the use of audio stories to be helpful for encouraging quiet. A favorite of ours was found at our local library and is even better because the library had only the audio and not the book that went with it. We enjoy it even more without the book.
Another group of audio stories that we enjoy are narrated by Jim Weiss, who has an extensive and impressive list of stories he narrates on cd for all ages.
We have been enjoying his cd Tell Me a Story (click on the link to hear a sampling).
It is wonderful for all of us to get out the sleeping bags and find a quiet spot and lay on the floor and listen to a story or two during quiet time.
I try my best to have my daughters separated during quiet time because, well, it just won't be quiet if they are not. Whether they want to be in their bedrooms or on a sleeping bag in a different room, my only requirement is that they have personal space to relax and rest. They will bring a few toys to their room or quiet spot they have chosen and sometimes a few books. Once we have settled into our quiet spots, I set the kitchen timer (30 minutes) so that I am able to enjoy my quiet time as well.
If you have ways you encourage quiet times in your home please share, I would love to hear.