Children who attend early childhood programs rise early in the mornings with their parents, and hit the ground running. Once they are dropped off at childcare, they engage in one exciting activity after another, so naturally, by mid-day, they’re pooped.
If young children don’t get the opportunity to nap, they may whine, throw tantrums, display poor impulse control, and have difficulty concentrating. Here are six tips you can use in your childcare to reduce hassles at naptime, and help kids get the rest they need to thrive.
When kids play outside, they run, jump, ride tricycles, and climb up and down play structures. These types of rigorous activities can give youngsters a boost of energy, and make it difficult for them to settle down. Instead of scheduling naptime immediately after outdoor play, schedule it after a quiet activity like puzzles or storytime.
If you have a hard time getting the kids on their cots at naptime, something creative might do the trick. For instance, you can have the children pretend they’re eagles, and let them soar to their nests (cots) and see how softly they can land. Use your imagination. There are plenty of fun ways to get kids to willingly lie down on their cots.
When children follow daily routines, they already know what to expect. When naps are scheduled at the same time each day, kids feel like they’re in control, and are less likely to resist going to sleep.
Soothe With Music
Soothing music such as piano and classical creates a sense of calm in children, and induces a deeper state of sleep. When soothing music is used regularly during naptimes, kids will begin to associate it with sleepiness, and they’ll likely nod off faster.
Keep Temperature Comfortable
A room that is too hot or too cold makes it difficult for children to fall asleep. Comfortable sleep temperatures are subjective, but it is recommended that room temperatures stay between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t Force Kids to Sleep
Never force a child to nap. This can lead to unnecessary power struggles. You can however, encourage the child to lie down on his cot and rest quietly. More often than not, the child will drift off within minutes. If the child absolutely refuses to fall asleep, give him a book or other quiet activity to keep him from disrupting the kids who are sleeping.
Naptimes in your childcare classroom don’t have to be a hassle. With the six tips listed above, kids will not only get the rest they need for proper development, you’ll get a much deserved hour of peace and quiet.