Q. I have a preschool child who does not nap and has difficulties staying on their bed during sleep time. How do I respond to this child?
As educators and adults, we know that a child napping has both physiological and emotional benefits and is essential for healthy brain development and upbringing. However, for some children, they may be aging out of their naps; they may not be tired, there may be a change in their sleep routine or they are overstimulated.
It is essential that a child never experience a consequence for not napping and for the teaching team to develop clear expectations for the sleep time routine that meets the needs of the group and individual children.
As a team develop and set clear consistent expectations. Things to consider and questions to ask yourself are;
- Have I created a peaceful and safe environment? Does my tone of voice and movement reflect that it is quiet time?
- Have I set up the environment with dimming lights and soft music?
- Is it okay for a child to sit up quietly with a book on their cot as opposed to having to lay down?
- Is there an expected amount of time a child must remain on their cot?
- Do I have a quiet space within the room for children to do a quiet activity?
- Is it feasible to create a “Waker’s program”?
- Have I made sleep time a positive experience and used positive reinforcement?
- Is there a consistent nap time schedule?
- Are we consistent in our language and expectations within our teaching team?
As a team plan for children that are non-sleepers. There may be days where a child falls asleep easily and then other days they can’t. Plan for this by allowing children to play on their cot with a quiet activity or have a designated place to do so. This is a preventative approach that will decrease challenging behaviours from occurring.
Quiet time supports might include visuals to help children understand the expectations. Consider alternatives to a cot for children that need more movement such as a hammock, wiggle seat or rocking chair.