The Hush Hour

By Elizabeth Pantley

Every child can benefit from a daily nap, but sometimes there is nothing you can do to get your child to actually sleep. But day after day, week after week, without a rest break can result in a fussy child prone to tears, temper tantrums and whining. A Hush Hour can provide a wonderful substitute for an actual nap.

The Hush Hour is magical in another way. It can be a much-needed break for a parent or caregiver. As much as we love our children, we still need some time off! The Hush Hour allows you a break to relax or catch up on much-needed work or household tasks.

The Hush Hour becomes most effective when used at the same time every day. Try to create a daily ritual that includes a Hush Hour in the afternoon, perhaps when your little one returns home from daycare or school.

The Setting

The Hush Hour is a quiet, restful hour that takes place in an environment set up to encourage relaxation. Sleep is not required, but the setting often brings about a peaceful after-effect, much as a nap would.

The Hush Hour can occur in your child’s bedroom or any undisturbed room in the house. If possible, remove toys and games from sight, except for a few stuffed animals or your child’s usual sleeptime lovely.


For most children it’s easier to feel relaxed in a dark room, since bright light is alerting to the human mind and signals playtime to a child. Darkness can encourage restfulness.


Noisy distractions can prevent a child from resting. On the other hand, a perfectly quiet room might create anxiety instead of restfulness. To combat both issues fill the Hush Hour with relaxing music or white noise (a recording of rainfall or ocean waves.) These sounds can be comforting and will also mask any random noises that can distract your child. As an alternative choice, you can have your child listen to an audio book. It’s a wonderful way for a child to relax and can create an enriching lifetime habit.


Since you’ll be enticing a non-tired child to rest, a comfortable surface will help your cause. A bed is good, of course, but there is no scientific evidence to prove that a bed brings better rest than any other comfortable surface. And in the case of a Hush Hour you want your child to be the one who finds his place cozy.

Choose the place that works best for both of you. A sofa is fine. A sleeping bag on the floor can work, too. I work at home and over the years all of my children have taken rest time in my office, either on the sofa, in a stroller parked beside me. I discovered that they loved being near me and hearing the click-click of my computer keys. The comfort of having mama close by enabled them to get a nice rest and allowed me a work session.

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