Getting into a daycare nap routine can be challenging for families, but experienced daycare workers can help your child settle into a predictable routine to help them cope with the changes. This adjustment may take time, but caregivers can help children feel secure and confident in their surroundings. Below, we outline tips parents can use to encourage day time naps at daycare to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Why Is Nap Time Important for Children?
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends each age group receive adequate sleep for healthy development and immunity. Receiving a suitable amount of sleep also improves cognitive development, mental health, behavior, and helps them maintain a healthy weight as they age. Regular naps also offer a predictable routine, which helps children feel safe and establish healthy habits.
How Much Nap Time Do Children Need?
Babies (0-12 months)
Adequate sleep is crucial for everyone, but particularly so for babies. They spend a majority of their time sleeping to help their brains develop properly and mature. In addition to good nutrition, sleep also enables them to develop physically at a normal rate and improve their motor skills.
Throughout the day, it’s typical for newborns to sleep at least three to four hours during the day. Infants older than three months may sleep for at least two hours each day, which research shows helps them to consolidate specific memories as well enable a more generalized memory to engage learning and brain development.
Toddlers (1-2 Years Old)
The NSF recommends toddlers receive one to two hours of daily sleep with one to two naps per day.
Preschool (3-5 Years Old)
Preschool-aged children should receive about 10-13 total hours of sleep per day, and naps may get shorter or stop altogether on a regular basis.
As children age and/or schedules change, naps may become shorter and more infrequent. However, each child has different nap preferences and it’s best to remain flexible. One study showed up to 42.5% of children fall asleep only sometimes or not at all during a designated naptime in preschool. Moreover, if kids are having a harder time falling asleep at night, it may be better to transition out of napping during the day altogether.
How to Help Your Child Nap Well at Daycare
Some children may flock to their mats or cots for naptime, while others may struggle to fall asleep. Each child has their own preferences and responds to different stimuli. While you can’t force children to fall asleep, parents can work with caregivers to create a peaceful environment where kids can at least relax and reset.
1. Visit the Daycare Before School Starts
The unknown can be frightening. If possible, consider taking your child to visit the daycare center before school begins so they can get used to their caregivers and new surroundings. Seeing where they will be eating, sleeping, playing, and learning will help them adjust more quickly.
2. Bring Items From Home
Packing comfort items from home such as a special toy, blanket, pillow, or otherwise in your child’s bag can help them transition easier. Such sleep aids can make a significant difference if your child feels uneasy or upset. Consider making a note or verbally telling a caregiver if there is a certain item that appeases your child.
3. Follow a Consistent Routine
Before daycare begins, notify your child’s caregivers of their normal routine so the center can follow that schedule accordingly. This discussion should include how often your child naps and at what times, as well as the routine you follow with them. When you go to pick up your child, you can ask their caregiver to provide updates on how they’re transitioning to sleeping at school.
Learn More About Ducklings Early Learning Center
If you’re searching for a high-quality daycare near Philadelphia, turn to Ducklings Early Learning Center. Children can look forward to fun, themed enrichment activities, plentiful outdoor playtime, and socialization with their peers. Our well-trained teachers encourage children to explore the world around them with a focus on mind, body, heart, and family. Families can feel confident that students are engaged in an age-appropriate daycare curriculum in a safe, compassionate environment.
For more information on specific childcare center locations, visit our Locations page or get in touch with our office.