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Sunday, April 29, 2012
How to Get Kids to Nap on a Mat

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By Heather Andrews

Kids have a lot of energy and it isn’t always easy to get them down for a nap. This can be especially difficult if they are in a room with other children or toys. However, it is necessary for our children’s health for them to get their rest and take scheduled naps. Here are some helpful tips for encouraging children to take a nap on their nap mat.

  1. Have a special toy that can only be cuddled at nap time. Choose a soft toy such as a stuffed animal. Avoid toys or stuffed animals that make noise.

  2. Choose a nap mat that is comfortable.Some nap mats are thicker than others and some also have a pillow section at the top. Find the right preschool or daycare nap mat for your children. Add a sheet and blanket and tuck each child in for added comfort.

  3. Make nap time a game. Line up your pre-schoolers or toddlers and assign the lead child as the “Bus Driver”. Ask the bus driver to circle the room and lead the other kids to the first stop, the bus driver’s nap map. The bus driver must now lay down on his mat and let the next child take a turn as bus driver and lead to their own nap mat. Another way to play is having just one bus driver a day who leads each of the other kids to their “bus stop” aka their nap mat.

  4. Pick a few of the children’s favorite books and assign them as naptime only books. Only read one of the special books if all of the preschoolers or toddlers are laying still and silent.

  5. Stick to your nap time schedule. Avoid changing nap times regardless of other activities that come up. Children are more likely to fall asleep if they are used to the routine.

  6. Set the right environment. Slightly cool room temperature and low lighting are best forgetting kids to nap. Also keep each child’s nap mat in the same place daily.

  7. Provide extra playtime if everyone takes a full nap.

  8. Have consequences for those children who refuse to nap such as time out. Never let time out be on the nap mat though. The child will then associate the nap mat with punishment and will have a harder time falling asleep on it in the future.

Young children need their sleep in order to be healthy. The benefits of well rested children ranges from better behavior to more focused at school to more energy for after school activities.How much sleep do children need? Learn more about the Children’s Sleeping Scale.

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