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Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Top Tips for Daycare: Easing the Transition from Playtime to Naptime

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By Kristin Masters

Children are naturally energetic, especially when they are surrounded by other kids. Their enthusiasm can make naptime a challenge, particularly in daycares and preschools, where kids spend most of their time in structured activities. But younger children need naps to stay both happy and healthy. Aided by the right transition process, caregivers can make naptime a natural part of their students’ days.Daycare Naptime Tips

Build a Daily Routine

Although children love novel experiences, they thrive on following daily routines. Routines give kids a sense of security and safety. Just as families might have dinner or bedtime routines, daycares and preschools can use routines to smooth the transition into naptime each day.

The key to an effective routine is that its elements flow together and support one another. Children need not do exactly the same thing each day, but rather the same kind of activity in a predictable order. For instance, after outside play time, children go inside for a quieter activity, then transition easily into nap time.

Two effective transition activities are song time and story time. During song time, children can progress from songs that incorporate movement and fast tempo to those that are slower and more calming. Kids may even enjoy ending song time with the same tune each day, as they come to associate the song with winding down for a nap. As children settle down, caregivers may want to continue playing lullabies in the background, further easing the transition.

Reading time makes an excellent transition activity because it requires children to sit still and listen. Depending on the ages of the children, it may be appropriate to read multiple stories. Children should be comfortable, either on the floor or in a cozy child’s reading nook. Caregivers can choose final stories that highlight children getting ready for bed or preparing for a nap. This suggestion can help remind children of their own upcoming nap and the expectations for behavior.

Optimize Conditions for Comfortable Napping

In addition to a familiar routine, children also need a comfortable place to sleep. To ensure that children feel safe and comfortable, caregivers should provide a soft and hygienic place for each child to sleep. Comfortable KinderMat nap mats offer adequate support and are easy to clean. Caregivers can make naptime even more relaxing with a few simple steps:

  • Keep the temperature consistent and appropriate for children’s attire. Kids who are too hot or cold will have trouble falling asleep.

  • Give kids plenty of opportunities to use the restroom prior to the start of naptime. Limit consumption of food and water about thirty minutes prior to naps.

  • KinderMat sheets and blankets help kids get comfortable, and ensure a more sanitary nap.

  • Begin to dim the lights during the transition activity, and darken the room when naptime starts. Avoid cutting off all light, in case some children are afraid of the dark.

  • Tailor the length of naptime to the ages of the children. Toddlers and preschoolers need more sleep than kindergarteners and early elementary students.

Naptime gives children an important opportunity to renew their energy and stay healthy. With the right transitions and environment, caregivers can ensure a smooth and easy naptime.

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