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Blanket Time

What is blanket time? It is a survival technique I employ for that time of the day when we all need a break from each other (late afternoon for my family) particularly helpful for post-nap-age children. It is not an original idea; I heard about it from my sister-in-law, Abby, who heard about it from some lady somewhere whom I wish I could kiss square on the lips!

Here’s how it works: Each of my children have a blanket (blue nascar blanket from Gabrielle brothers; Hello Kitty for Mag.) that they spread on the floor in different rooms of the house. They each bring something to play with. This would include maybe legos, army men with blocks, puzzles, and adventure sets (I keep their adventure play sets in laundry baskets so they can carry them from room to room easily. Also, they are easier to clean up. If you’re wondering what I mean by adventure set: Imaginext castle, Fisher price Robin Hood tree house, Western Town, etc.) In other words, they need to choose something that can keep them entertained for a while. I usually give them a crumb-free snack (fruit snacks, grapes, apples, cheerios), a spill proof sports bottle with H2O or juice, and maybe put on music if it is available in the room they chose. Blanket time lasts about an hour, but you may want to start shorter. (a timer/ clock helps so they don’t keep asking, “is it over yet?”).

In case you are wondering, my children gave me trouble about this when I first instituted it. They still do grumble at times. But all in all, once they get playing, they enjoy being quiet and alone. And I can get dinner ready, organize the junk drawer, take a short nap, read, listen to a teaching tape, or whatever else I used to do during nap time.

Just thought I’d pass it on. Anybody else have a practical “survival” technique?

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8 thoughts on “Blanket Time

  1. Laurie, as a 23 year old, I would like to employ this into the middle of my work day. Though, I do not believe Mrs. Robinson would agree to me taking an hour of “blanket time” when her kitchen floor needs scrubbed. But nonetheless, I am storing this idea in my “if I ever get married and have multiple children” section in my head.

  2. I’m learning all my survival techniques from you, my friend. Here’s one I’ve instituted: get a hair cut that allows you to shower every other day! 🙂 Gross, huh! It works w/ toddler twins.

  3. My new survival techinique (only works with school age kids) when I need a break but I feel guilty for letting them watch too much Tv, I set it to closed captioning. They get to watch a movie but they have to read all the words! They love it more than I do, go figure.

  4. Speaking of showering less frequently, I find I take showers at really odd times now. At night, during blanket time, etc.

    Karen, after your experience with Discovery Health Channel, I’m surprised your not concerned with typos on the closed caption 🙂

  5. To relieve the guilt of letting the kids watch TV –but when I still want quiet time alone elsewhere– I occasionally say to them, “You may watch TV, but you have to fold this laundry while doing so.” It’s not uncommon for 3 or 4 baskets of clean clothes and towels to be waiting for attention.

    Another trick:
    as soon as they’re old enough to match up socks, it’s their job. Once in a while I dump out a load as big as a U-haul and say, “15 pairs each before you can play any more video games.” They can watch TV, but the hands are busy on something besides controllers.

    For younger kids, or if you feel you should pay your kids a stipend, I used to give 5 cents per pair of folded socks.

  6. Does giving Silas lollipops while we are in the grocery store count as a survival technique? Poor guy, rides in the cart with all the groceries piled around him because Macie’s in the real seat. If I don’t give him a lollipop, he starts eating whatever is in there…strawberries, ground pork…etc……lol

  7. Beth, Ab and I just had a conversation about this last week. She was giving Jack a lollipop before heading into B.J.’s, and it brought back memories of “lollipop survival”. One of mine would just put it in his mouth and start chewing it. It made for a whole dilemma: if I gave him another one, the first one started to throw a fit – what we were avoiding in the first place. O well. It is kinda nice to have them walking along side now.

  8. I just happened to run into your site and was intrigued by this post – specifically that your kids initially complained. I guess that’s because they were several years older than many of the articles on blanket time are referring to. So, out of curiosity, how long did you keep doing this and how did it work with ages as old as yours?

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