Solutions For Keeping Little Ones in Bed While You Have Your Quiet Time in the Morning

Lately, I have seen a lot of status updates on Facebook that mention their little people – toddlers and preschoolers – are 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 – if the first solution does not work – move to the second!

1. My sisters taught me a trick that they both used and now I still use! Cover the last two numbers of the clock. 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 this one – go to solution number 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. My children are memorizing Philippians 3:14 right now. It says “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!!! Press on!
Walk with the King!


  1. Thanks Courtney! We have tried the 7:00 rule at our house and it worked for a while. (Well, my daughter did it well, but my son has had trouble catching on!) Now that we are homeschooling and they are a little bit older (5 and 3) I have built it into our school day. This could work for non-homeschool families too. Before we officially begin school for the day, I set a time and we all go to our "quiet place." The kids go to their rooms and I usually sit at the kitchen table. Until the timer goes off, they need to stay in their rooms. They have a choice, they can read their Bible, pray, or listen to praise music. I journal my prayers, and recently my daughter (5) has shown interest in this. It's awesome to see her in the Word and spending time with God at this early age.

    I hope this helps and encourages other moms that quiet time can happen for everyone, even the small fry. The timer is certainly my friend!!

  2. Courtney and Emily…these are great ideas!! We do "room time" at our house wtih a timer too (right before afternoon nap). I usually do my Devotions/Time With God during this 20-30 minute window, but I never thought to encourage my little guy to use his time for the same purpose! Love it!

  3. We have used a light timer attached to a night light for both of our boys set to come on around 7am.

    It's worked great!

    Light timers can be found at most wal marts or targets for between $5-$10 in the light bulb section and the guaranteed quiet time and sanity it's brought to our mornings is more than worth that amount of money! 😉

  4. You guys have great ideas! I love the timer idea! We use the timer for A LOT Of things in our home – like remembering to rotate laundry on Wednesdays, limiting their time on the computer – AND even limiting my own time on the computer.

    I think it's a great idea to pick a time of day – set the timer and everyone have their quiet time!!! Beautiful!!

    Thanks for sharing!
    We mommies need all the help we can get right!?!

    Love you,

  5. I have three children who no longer nap (well okay, one does when her behavior dictates) 😉 and a 3 year old who does.

    I certainly need my down time in the afternoon after schooling all morning, so when the 3yo goes down for nap, the older three are required to read for 30 minutes. To keep them focused during that time, I require a brief narration from them aferwards.

    My quiet time is at 6:45am, before they awaken. But I could do it during those 30 minutes in the afternoon if I needed to.

  6. The number match is exactly what I do. Some days it works, some days not so much. I like your idea of giving a reward sometimes.

  7. Oh Courtney, THIS is why I read other mommy blogs! I NEED this kind of advice! I love the idea to match up the numbers on the clock…I just need to get the little ones a clock now!

    And like I said in my post yesterday, I am certainly in one of those seasons where a morning devotional is nearly impossible. But, with God's grace, I still fit it in later in the day…and in a few weeks, I'll be back to my old self. Thanks for the reminder that it's okay to have those seasons…and "this too shall pass"!

    Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday, it was so nice to read your comment.


  8. My kids are a boy 8 yrs., and a almost 12 yrs. girl. Wake up time is 7 AM for them. I am usually up by 5:30 AM because husband leaves to work early. I usually have about an hour before kids wake up to have morning quiet time. But there are days I get distracted by other activities and end up having my quiet time while kids are already awake, but its not good, I can not concentrate. However since my kids go to public school, I am able to have my quiet time after they leave to school. But I prefer to spend quiet time as early as possible.

  9. I've given up! My quiet time is at night! I'd love to have it in the morning, but it just isn't practical for me right now.

  10. MAN! Blogger ate my comment. Let's try this again LOL

    Good tips!

    I've given up getting up out of bed early. It doesn't work for me. Within 15 minutes of my waking and getting out of bed, our 23 month old wakes up.

    So I decided to use that time (usually I wake at 6am) to enjoy the sunrise that I can see out of our bedroom window. And pray.

    Our oldest (almost 7) knows she can't come out of her room until 7am. Been that way for over a year now. If she does wake up before then, she'll just quietly play in bed until 7 … then come into my room (where youngest sleeps too) and let me know she's up or come snuggle for a bit. Youngest is *usually* up by that time as well.

    So my quiet time for Bible study is after they're in bed. Youngest is asleep BY 7pm (usually 6:30am). Oldest is in bed by 8pm. I like to read before bed anyway, so it works out just fine.

    Another thing that's really helped (I don't know if anyone else mentioned it), but we have heavier curtains in the bedrooms which'll keep it darker a bit longer.

  11. Oh … I forgot to mention. We ALL do have our Bible time throughout the day as well. Our oldest likes to read a bit of her Bible when she first wakes up — usually while I get breakfast going.

    And we have a family Bible study when Daddy gets home from work (he works nights).

    I read a Proverb a day to them during dinner. And our oldest reads a few chapters before her bedtime too.

  12. boy can I relate to this. My baby gets up at 4:30, then at 6:20 and again at 7…long mornings;). I will remember these tips and hopefully implement them gradually when she is older. Thanks!

  13. I have been so blessed by your blog this week! I just found it, and wow, has it been timely! From the comparison trap, to today's about quiet time, it has been amazing! (i have a 1, 3, and 5 year old, just as you wrote about!) thank you for sharing a realistic outlook on life as a mom and a woman trying to seek God's will for her life!

  14. Thank you for writing this post on having a morning quiet time alone. After eagerly skimming your first point, I realized that since none of my children are old enough to recognize numbers, I'd better move right along. Most days I can wake up before the children, but when it doesn't happen I just want to cry…and that's not a good way to start any day! Romans 15 says we serve a God who gives us endurance and encouragement, and your post is my encouragement today. I think I'll stress teaching them numbers BEFORE letters so I can take advantage of your first solution soon. 😉

  15. The 7:00 rule works great at our house too! But, if I've had a rough night with the youngest, sometimes even 7 is early for me! I've had to have my quiet times with my children around me…and now my oldest (5 years old) will sometimes ask me what I am reading and pull out her Bible to read with me. I've learned to love those times, to see her interest in the Word of God. I've also loved singing hymns with my children and just worshiping with them. Sometimes that's all I'll get before naps, but it's so helpful to get my focus on the Lord.
    Oh, and your comment on adding 10 years was so encouraging – my children will be 1, 3, and 5 this month – I can't even imagine 10 years from now, but I'm sure it will come quickly!

  16. This post is so timely….I've been frustrated the past few mornings because I have purposefully gotten up at 5-5:30am to have my quiet time, and out comes my 3 year old. She is waking up too early, is so grouchy, wants to be held……it drives me crazy! Thanks for the reminder that this is just a season in life.

    I've heard of many using the clock idea, but it wouldn't work as my 3 & 5 year old share a bed….and I know that the 3 year old would wake up the 5 year old if she had to stay in bed until 7.

  17. This is a fabulous idea. I have been looking for something that would help my 3-year-old stay in his room, and never thought about covering up the other numbers on the clock! I'm going to try it and see how it goes.

    I've tried having my quiet time anyway, even when they are up, and it just doesn't work. I become a human jungle gym and simply cannot concentrate. And I've discovered that at least right now, if I don't do it first thing, I don't do it at all.

  18. We've been blessed with 7 kids (ages 1-12) and ever since our oldest was two years old, we've taught them they must stay in bed until the clock says "Seven-oh-oh". 🙂 I did the same with hanging a sign beneath the clock and it worked great.

    Now the olders tell the youngers when they can get out of bed (if they wake up earlier they can sit in bed and read). Then they start their 7:00 job list. It works really well.

    It gives me the opportunity to spend time in the Word, exercise, shower before they are all running around. It gives structure to the morning that we need with a big, busy household!!

  19. Thanks for the encouragement. I love my son, 18 months, but often wonder how anyone gets anything done with young children!

  20. Quiet time? in myhouse? Not hwen my 5 yr old is awake, and I am NOT a morning person.

    I don't schedule time with God. Don't get me wrong, I spend time with HIm,. He is with me all the time, I pray all the time. i try to live in constant communication with God. And I teach my daughter to do the same.

    There are times i do need need ot dvote sometime just to prayer. Sometimes, I get my daughter to go wach a movie, or in some cases, she'll go pray too. Usually, i just try to ignore her climbing on me while I write in my prayer journal.

    To me, scheduled time feels forced, and not natural.

    My daughter will be starting school in a few days, and I am certainly looking forward to some quiet time, though.

    I am currently trying to read thru the Bible, and one thing that works sometimes is reading in bed in bed in the evening, while my daughter watches a video. I have a bible that' divided nto 4 separate sections, so i take the section I'm reading with me when i go out, so i can read it when i have some spare time. (like waiting at the dr.'s office, waiting for the bus etc)

  21. I already have told my 3 1/2 year old she has to wait until it is 8 o clock (first # shows 8) and she's doing a pretty good job. My 2 year old is still in the crib so even if she's up she can't be wandering, yet. Thing is I'm so tired I don't wake up til that time. I am up late online, but most of the time I can't do anything productive online til all girls are in bed and the baby doesn't go to sleep til 10:30, 11:00. I know it is something I need to work on.

  22. i didn't read through all the comments, but I have to laugh thinking about trying this method with my almost 2 year old, there's just no way she'd get it yet…Maybe another year or so…have any ideas for younger ones??? My older 2 would totally get it! 🙂

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