Oh, how I love thee, let me count the ways!
From baby naps to quiet time has been a saving grace for me. I love the 1p. pause - "Well, we've had lunch and played and now it's ... (drum roll please) ... Quiet time!!!" It is a habit that had to be established early on with our first with many reinforcements, but all of the rest of our children have (for the most part) accepted it as just the way the world spins. From 1pm to 4pm - occasionally only to 3p or all the way to 5p, depending on their level of tired and my schedule, there is a lull in our house. They get two toys (quiet ones) and one book. (They can have more than one book if they'd like to switch it for one of the toys, but I insist on at least one book.) I get at least two hours, maybe up to 4 to do finances, clean, and generally, have the house quiet. It gives the kids a chance to be away from me, nap if they need it, play on their own, or get bored enough to experiment with reading. Hopefully it also acts as a break for them from the barrage of sensory info. they receive daily.
I firmly believe that everyone needs quiet time in their day. In fact, as I'm sitting here typing this, I realize that my current stress level is in part due to the fact that in having everyone home for the winter break, this important facet of the day has been neglected. So, I just sent the kids to ... quiet time! My mood has suddenly improved just thinking about the next hour. I have a feeling our outing planned for later this evening will go so much better with a little quiet time under our belts.