I knew we'd be one of those families where non-napping preschoolers still have an hour of quiet time. The reasons, or so I thought: (1) My sanity--I need that time to catch my breath, exercise, and pray for a few minutes (2) The child's sanity--no 3 year old can blast through a day full-throttle and still be cheerful at dinner time.
However, lately I've started to realize that there's more to quiet time than saving sanity. Bella is learning to entertain herself with her own creativity and imagination. No noise, no stimulation, no frills, just a few books or basic toys. Even more importantly and so lovely, she is learning to sit still in the quiet and be alone with her thoughts. I have watched her improve in this ability day by day. Her first quiet times were real struggles, and if she was quiet, it was only out of obedience. Lately, she has an easier time settling in peacefully for the full hour. This quiet is so difficult to cultivate in children these days, with all the activity and distraction, but I see it as true training for the ability to contemplate and pray. Her Mass behavior has improved significantly lately, too.
I didn't really expect that quiet time would have a training purpose, but I've been so pleased to see its effects. She's inspiring me to discipline myself to be quiet and still and contemplate better. If a chatterbox 3 year old can do it, I have no excuse!