Napping for Preschoolers – A Constant Power Struggle

Daycare owners may think getting through the day with a newborn was tough, but getting a preschooler to sleep can be a challenge that leaves even the most patient daycare workers at their wit’s end. When preschool aged children don’t get enough sleep, their mood, behavior, eating habits and ability to focus during the day can be affected. You know your kids are getting the right amount of sleep if they get up happy and refreshed. Here’s how to make that happen:

The Good Sleeping Habits:

Children aged 3-5 need about 11-13 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. In addition, preschoolers under the age of 5 typically nap during the day, with these naps ranging between one and two hours per day. Every preschooler is difference, some kids will stick with their infant napping routine while others will begin to refuse napping once they hit preschool age. The trick is to be consistent and make sure the preschool aged children enrolled in your daycare get at least a small nap or down time. The typical preschooler will take a one to two hour nap.

Letting Go of Naps:

Kids in this age group don’t necessarily need a nap every day, but should have scheduled down time to be used for a quiet resting period. Since most preschoolers thrive on schedules, it’s important to establish sleeping routines and be consistent.

Going to Bed:

A preschooler who refuses to go to bed is a preschooler who is overtired. Setting an earlier bedtime or starting quiet time earlier on to help preschoolers transition to bedtime might help. Taking away their nap because a parent complains that their child won’t go to sleep at night is not a good solution. Experts recommend that if a child is big enough to climb out of a crib or is toilet-trained, then it’s time to transition to a daycare cot. Some preschool aged children can easily transition from a crib to a cot.

Staying Asleep Through Naptime:

Preschool aged children can be easily awakened by bad dreams or simply because they are afraid of something. This is due to their active imaginations. It’s unusual for preschool children to frequently get up during designated quiet time or naptime but if you have a child that does, it is recommended that you only soothe him/her back to sleep. Do not offer snacks, this will seem more like a reward and make it difficult for them to go back to sleep.

It is important for children to maintain their sleep style. A child’s sleep style is defined by the rise and fall of brainwave activity levels and eye movement as he/she moves through phases of sleep. Children who have healthy sleep habits also have a solid sleep style. A child’s ability to get a good night sleep can be affected if they are suffering from sleep deprivation.