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Daycare Nap Time Rules

Daycare Nap Time Rules

Ahhh, nap time. Preschool teachers depend on it; preschool parents expect it. Toddlers and babies need it. But you can't always just tell kiddoes to lie down and expect them to go to sleep. Knowing how to get toddlers to nap at daycare is as much an art as a science. The following daycare nap time rules can make the process easier for everyone.

Set Expectations

Preschoolers do best when they know what's expected of them. Circle time is a great opportunity to share your daycare nap time rules. Let your toddlers know when nap time begins, how long it lasts and what they're supposed to do. Practicing nap time is another way to help them acclimate. Allow your students to get out their mats, lay down for a few minutes and then put their mats away.

Create a Routine

As with so many toddler activities, daycare nap time success depends on routine. Following the same ritual every day gives toddlers the comfort and security they need for napping at daycare.

Select a set time for naps, but don't make it right after outdoor playtime. Preschoolers are usually too wound up right after playing outside to successfully nap.

Have the children set out their mats and then ask them to return to the circle area for a quiet story before they lay down. "Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book," "The Quiet Book" and "The Runaway Bunny" are some of the many good choices for quiet storytime.

Playing the same quiet song is another great clue for kids that it's daycare nap time. Preschool teachers often use this technique to calm their students and prepare them for napping. YouTube has a wide variety of nap-time songs to choose from. Some teachers also opt for white noise to help students relax.

Keep nap time the same length each day. Make sure to check with your state about any specific regulations concerning the length of nap time at preschool.

Set the Tone

Transition times can often be hectic at daycare, but use a calm, measured demeanor at naptime to help soothe your toddlers. Dim the lights and minimize distractions to create the right daycare nap time environment.

Try New Practices

Even very young children can benefit from the soothing aspects of yoga and meditation. Try simple breathing practices and poses to relax them for their daycare nap time.

Proprioception techniques might also help. Working on proprioception — one's ability to perceive one's body — during the day can help children with and without sensory processing disorders adjust during nap time.

Be Prepared

Not every child is going to nap every day. Make sure your students have a few quiet activities that they can enjoy if they just can't sleep. School jobs, such as sorting papers, are another great way to keep preschoolers occupied but quiet during daycare nap time.

Why Preschoolers Won't Nap

Learning how to get toddlers to nap at daycare can be a challenge, but one thing that can help is understanding the reasons behind a child's refusal to sleep. Napping at daycare may not be an option if the toddler is extremely well-rested or over-tired. Illness, overstimulation or poor sleep at home can also contribute to daycare nap time difficulties, as can trauma at home or in the community. Understanding a child's inability to nap can help you deal more effectively with each toddler.

Baby Won't Nap at Daycare?

Many of the reasons that toddlers don't nap can also apply when a baby won't nap at daycare. Make sure the baby is well-fed and has a clean diaper at nap time. Dimmed lights, quiet music and white noise can also set the stage for success. If sleep is elusive, you can try soothing activities like rocking the baby or rubbing her back.

Get the Right Mat for Daycare Nap Time Success

Now that you know how to get toddlers to nap at daycare, you'll want to choose the right mat to ensure success. Foam mats from Yay! Mats are durable, safe and comfy, making them perfect for daycare nap time. They're also easy to clean and store. Order yours today or reach out to us with any questions you may have.

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Beyond Daycare Naptime Rules: Related Resources

New babies are a joy, and you always want to keep them safe and happy. Read our blog posts about nursery decor, baby presents and more to learn all the best tips about babies and see how foam mats from Yay! Mats can make a difference in every baby's life.