Open Discussion Forum

Topic: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children 

1.  Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 9 days ago
I have been researching the value of nap/rest time for preschool age children (those going into kindergarten the following year). Typically most preschool (all-day setting) have 30 minutes to 2 hours (on your cot time). My last experience with Head Start programs there were no cots just a 30 minute "rest time" where students sat at a table (possibly heads down/personal blanket or watching a smart board educational/entertaining clip or sitting in rug with books or puzzles, etc.). This year in a NAYEC accredited school children are in a cot with lights out with time ranging from 1-2 hours. After viewing a variety of situations ​(and researching data) I would like to pick other educatir's brains about the "best" developmentally practices for preschoolers re rest time. Final Question: What about classrooms were the range is ages 3-5? Any input is appreciated.

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Betty Phillips
Director
St Therese Early Childhood Center
Kansas City MO
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2.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 8 days ago
Last year I had a classroom of 3-5 year olds. They took a nap after lunch from 12:30 to 2:30pm. Many of the students would have slept longer if we had let them. Of the 15 students there was only one child that did not go to sleep right away. Most times he would eventually go to sleep after 30 minutes or so but it was very difficult to wake him. Many of the students came to school very sleepy so they were ready for a nap after lunch.

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Celeste Glascoe-Njoku
Brooklyn NY
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3.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 3 days ago
Hi,

That's great that they are napping. Do you allow screen videos or music playing? I have my 3-5 year old preschool class lay down from 12:30-1:40ish and only 3 out of about 15 sleep. They fight in and I'm wondering what to do for them. If I take away the screen or music they get really upset which I am fine with doing but the soft classical sleep music seems to help the students sleep (meaning the ones that actually sleep.)

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Kelly Zertler
St. Peter Catholic School
Middleton WI
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4.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 2 days ago
Hi, our kids in 4 classrooms separated by age between 2.9 and 5rest between 12:30 and 2:30pm. For the younger ones, they have quiet music (yoga channels on YouTube or Pandora as perfect). For the older ones, we start with an online story (listening only, no screen watching) and then move to the same kind of music. After 45 minutes they can have their "quietkeeper" boxes which are shoeboxes they bring from home with quiet activities they can do on their mats. This keeps them quietly and happily occupied until lights go on. During this time our educators are writing blogs, answering family emails and planning for the afternoon activities.

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Abigail Marsters
The Sharon Cooperative School
Sharon MA
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5.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 8 days ago
I am teaching in a NAEYC accredited preschool program, with mixed 3s and 4s.  We have a daily rest time that lasts for approximately 45 minutes to 1.25 hours depending on when students finish up lunch and bathroom time.  Students bring blankets from home and we provide padded rest mats.  All students must have about 30 minutes of quiet time and for those that do not fall asleep, we will give them a few books to quietly look at on their mats until it is time to get up.  I think this is developmentally appropriate for this age of children.  For those that do not sleep, it gives them some down time and time to become skilled at being respectful of those who need the quiet time and practice reading independently and quietly.

I just moved to this preschool class after teaching kindergarten for 17 years.  When our kindergarten program moved from a half day to full day program, I looked into information about views toward rest time for kindergartners.  I was looking for something to back up what I felt was important.  We were able to convince our administration that our kindergartners needed a rest time in the afternoon after lunch and recess before they finished up the remainder of their day.  I think the young students need a time to chill out and relax without having their brains being forced into overdrive.  Many kindergartners bodies still need a nap.  For those that don't, a quiet time will help them to refresh and work on independent quiet reading before getting ready for more focused learning to finish up the day.

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Jennie Morrell
Andover Elementary School
Andover CT
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6.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 8 days ago
I have been teaching at the primary level for 18 years, and this is my eighth year in kindergarten. I too believe that kindergarteners need a rest time after lunch and recess. I give my students about 15 minutes to put their heads down on their tables. I think rest time is important for two reasons. First, it helps them to settle down after the wild time of recess. More importantly, rest time helps the children learn how to be still and quiet. This is just as an important skill to learn as sharing and taking turns. I spend time actively teaching them teaching them calming strategies, just as I take the time to teach them reading strategies or problem solving skills.

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Angela Walters
kindergarten teacher
Atlantic City, NJ
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7.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 7 days ago
I taught gr K on a very regimented schedule with a pacing guide, and Wonders curriculum and math curriculum with v. little time to spare. However, I always made time for literacy-rest with heads down in the dark for 20min. by reading aloud books, making up stories, doing puppetry, and other theatrical things. It entertained the students and called them. If they had a little shut-eye, it was ok- it was dark. Then, slowly letting the lights on, and breathing, and also imaging, and getting back into schedule, we would resume body movements to start off our afternoons. Even if schedule does not allow for rest time- you can always substitute slow body movement, fine arts, and read alouds of any sort- fiction, non-fiction, to allow for students just to do nothing but perhaps listen.

Young children love this, and still learn but are refreshed and happier than before. Another things to do was to gaze up at the sky by lying in the grass and doing nature observations on a good day.

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LynMari Fukuda
PreK Teacher
Pahala Elementary
Hawaii
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8.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 8 days ago
First of all, I think that the times for napping should also involve the parents. I have had a few parents complain that having their child nap during the day (1 hour plus) put a dent in their schedule and made their child stay awake too late- up to midnight or 10pm, when parents needed to sleep early- 830pm or 9pm in order to get to their jobs early. Some also found that the children could not re-adjust to home schedules of no napping on weekends, etc. So warning parents about napping is also a good idea.

Also, letting parents know that children grow while they sleep, and important brain development, health benefits occur with naps since all children may not have adequate uninterrupted sleep during the nigh due to parents schedule or infant siblings, etc. or being bounced from one parent home to another. Napping time does not have to be called that . We call ours "rest-time" and allow those whose parents do not wish to have napping to read, go on the i-pad, have private time with teacher/aide, do quiet activities or simply lie down and listen to music.

We play classical music and allow for music appreciation during this time. I found that 3 yr olds really need their naps, with the exception of those who never nap. Four year olds also need naps and five year olds usually do not. I alway try not to let them over-nap- look at clock at 45min, and then at one hour, and if more than half are awake, slowly open doors and windows, and turn on the lights and let those who are awake read quietly. Some will sleep the whole hour and maybe 30min more. Others will sleep 2 hours, esp if they had a hard time sleeping the night before.

At 3, up to 2 hrs is good, at 4, up to 1 hr and maybe 30min more. For 5 years old or gr K, I would recommend 15 min to 30 min of quiet time with lights out or low, listening to a story, or watching a movie or putting heads down with eyes closed at desks. Some will rest on soft furniture or on own blankets. Some teachers do yoga, others do deep breathing. I work for the state, so we have an agreed upon time- from 1 to 2 hours as needed, but recommended about 1 hour for our 4 year olds who are dismissed at 2pm. However, if the children are at a preschool with pickup at 5 or 6pm, nap time, and quiet times and rest times with stories can be throughout the day to prevent cranky children going home. I hope this helps.

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LynMari Fukuda
PreK Teacher
KHPES Pahala Elementary
Pahala HI
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9.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 8 days ago
I do not think it is enough or appropriate to address children's needs for naps or rest through having them sit at their desks with their heads down. There are many children who really need to sleep for awhile.

Rest time is important for preschoolers, and even more an issue for children younger than 4. The old regulations in NJ were that children were to have a scheduled "naptime" after lunch if they were in an all day program. There also was a rule that you were not supposed to wake a napping child, that they were so supposed to be left until they woke on their own.

In some programs, children arrive as early as 7 AM and if they do not have a naptime, they will be very cranky from being so overtired. Having a "naptime" can really be called a "rest time" where they lie down on cots or sleeping bags on mattresses/mats. Some children will fall asleep and others will just rest, looking at books and listening to soft, calming music. The important thing is the "down time".

As you know from child development, children's needs vary and they vary at different ages; therefore, scheduling a real rest time is important. I would try to schedule it fairly early, as close to the end of lunch as possible, so that the children who sleep do not sleep the entire afternoon. Parents seem to not like that because it sometimes affects the time that children go to sleep at night.

Nora

Dr. Nora Krieger
Associate Professor Emerita
Early Childhood Education
Bloomfield College
467 Franklin Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
nora_krieger@bloomfield.edu
norakrieger@gmail.com
Chair, NJEEPRE (New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia)






10.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 7 days ago
I believe having a rest time is very important for young children. I don't call it nap time because some children do not sleep. I call it rest time where I tell the children they can rest their bodies and rest their minds. The length of rest time scheduled depends on the age of the child. I have taught in a classroom where the children were ages 3-5. Since the length of time scheduled for rest was the same we had books and quiet toys (like puzzles) available for those who didn't sleep or woke up early. My only requirement was that the children respect those who were sleep by being quiet, so the children understood that this was not a time to talk and play. Some children don't get enough sleep at home, so having the opportunity to rest at school is helpful and healthy.

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Tawanna Terry
Pre K Teacher
Raleigh, NC
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11.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 6 days ago
Hi, All.

Our preschool nap/rest times have mixed ages 2-5, and we also face the ongoing challenges of sleep/non-sleep, length of time on cots, as well as how to provide 1-hour breaks for teachers in rooms with up to 16 children and 2 teachers if not all children are sleeping (ratio requirements while awake).

We have a scheduled conversation to delve into all of these issues with our staff, but would love to hear even more from all of you and your various strategies, especially classrooms with 2 teachers and more than 10 children during teacher break times.

Currently, our teachers take their 1-hour breaks during rest time, but rest time is only 1.5 hours, so there is potentially a few minutes on each end where ratio is a potential concern.  Generally, a majority of children are sleeping, but children may grow out of their nap needs as the year goes on.

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Lisa Plotkin
Early Childhood Curriculum and Professional Development Director
Dora L. Lewis Family & Child Development Center
Richmond VA
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12.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 6 days ago
As the importance of sleep is understood more completely, there is increasing importance for parents and caregivers to become informed and to make decisions for both children and adults based on research.  One book that gives a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge on the importance of sleep in our lives is "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams," by Matthew Walker, PhD.  Given the high intensity of stimulation in group care settings, rest time assumes even greater importance in healthy development.


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Gay Macdonald
Los Angeles CA
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13.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 5 days ago
I was told by our state office that it was illegal to have more than 10 children per adult when awake, but one teacher can watch more than 10 during nap. This is the time my aide takes a break- for an hour or more- with lunch and coffee break combined. I try to make my students happy by letting them watch educational videos, do puppet plays, or have them listen to music and look at images on the smartboard/screen for the first 20min. Then, I begin to send them off to their cots.

If children are asleep, they are not considered in the headcount. So with my 15 children, if more than 5 are asleep, I am within the legal limit. Also, nap time is also excepted from the 10 to one ratio. Children asleep are "dead asleep" so they are not really there and are not a danger to others and require v. little watching. I also try to put the non-sleepers in areas away from the sleepers. And let them look at i-pad if parents wish it, books in dimly lit areas to read alone, or draw or look at the aquarium. I take my lunch break when my students go off to lunch and the aide is with them during this time.

It took me 2 years to get the schedule right. I have prep period in the morning and part of the afternoon, and rest a little during nap time when children are on their cots, so having a 30min lunch is ok for me. I also get to take a bathroom break when aide returns to watch the kids during rest of nap. But most of the time, I do desk work and there are 2 adults. If you number is up to 20, as it was one year, having most of the children sleeping is crucial if there is only one adult. I try my best to lull them to sleep, letting them have music appreciation and lie down with books or simply do breathing excercises. One yr. I had 4 non -nappers out of 20, but this year, only one child out of 14 are awake. I am blessed. I work on my TS Gold reports during this time, and monitor, and reassure those who need attention.

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LynMari Fukuda
PreK Teacher
Pahala Elementary
Hawaii
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14.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 4 days ago
I have been teaching preschool for over 22 years and am currently working with children ages 2-5.  I am finding that children are always exhausted and are needing to sleep 2.5-3.5 hours daily.  I strongly believe that children in this age group need a nap and that often, because families are so busy after school and on the weekends, children are not getting the sleep they need.  Unfortunately, I feel that as a society, we do not value sleep like we used to and often, parents don't even know what a tired child looks like.  Personally, I am finding it harder and harder to teach because the children in my care are so often tired that they aren't able to answer simple questions or remember simple routines.  We spend a lot of time meeting basic needs, which of course is part of our job in early childhood education, but seems to be taking more and more time each year.

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Beth Sidel
Montague MA
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15.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted 4 days ago
​In NY state there are state recommendations for electronic usage in children. I have heard about this before where children are allowed to bring in tablets or ipads during rest time. Doesn't this go against the need to limit the use of electronics? I am sure these children are getting enough of this at home.  I also understand in recent studies (don't have exact information) it has been pointed out that adults should stop using electronics before sleep. I don't know I am curious because someone just bought it to my attention that their child was allowed to use a tablet at rest time at another day care. I don't think I agree with that practice. I think laying down and resting with book or quiet music and lights low should be sufficient. I agree with the person who said it is not about sleeping completely, as some children cant fall asleep. It is about down time and resting the brain.

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Tracy Anglim Klein
Lead teacher
Kiddie Junction preschool
Levittown NY
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16.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted yesterday
I always ask permission of the parents. Often, it is the parents who find that nap time is a waste of time and request i-pad usage. We have Raz-Kids, a reading program with e-books so the amount of books a child can learn is unlimited and reads to the child word for word. With the large amount of children during naptime- my aide or myself take turns by ourselves to watch all the children by ourselves while one takes a break/lunch, the i-pad is helpful since it reads to the kids, and it frees up the teachers to supervise and monitor the other chiildren.

I do agree with you, that I would rather have them reading books, but we have a v. small library and the kids often get bored reading the same ones over and over, and since they cannot read they only look at the pictures. It is the same with puzzles, and such. I also have pbs kids, and other educational stuff in i-pad. Since we are in a high poverty area, my students have access to i-pads only at school and also for www. so I think in our case it is a real treat for them. Yes, the light from i-pad would bother kids, but in the case of my class, they are out cold after viewing a quiet film. I like to show arkive.com- with animal film clips, or something like sesame street which lets them dance and move. We also do deep breathing and I read a story quietly in the dark before most of them fall asleep.

I think that if the parent approves or requests it, I follow it. We are fortunate that our students are mostly 5 years old now so they do not all seem to need naptime. Yes, naptime is hard for teachers to cope with. I used to do tutoring during that time, but it distracted me from students who needed attention/monitoring.

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LynMari Fukuda
PreK Teacher
Pahala Elementary
Hawaii
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17.  RE: Rest Time for Preschool Age Children

Posted yesterday
Remember that you are a very valuable person in a child's life, being there most of its waking hours. I am also sad that our parents spend much less times with their own offspring, even having a decent conversation (will sit side by side but ignore children and look at i-phone). Then, at meal times, they are not given proper meals or have meals on the go. The list goes on.

I am ready to teach new curriculum and put in more STEM, and find that some years/class, need much more work with routines, socialization. I do realize, having the students remain in the same school as they go up through the grades, that the socialization in preK- was very valuable for their learning, and adaptation.

Since you have very young children from age 2, I think socio-emotional is key. I had one group from 3 yrs, to 4 yrs, then to 5 yrs old, from preschool, preK and gr K. They came out to be very happy, well-adjusted children, who were eager to learn, motivated, creative, had higher order thinking, great social skills, very lovable, fun, and just plain wonderful. Even if you think that they are not learning, the life skills you give them, the opportunities for socio-emotional is so critical, that it affects their entire lives.

Imagine having smiling, happy children who want to go to school. I see them everyday at my elementary. Now they are in grade 2. They are so loveable. And guess what? They scored the highest of all the other kids!

Believe in yourself. You are doing a very valuable job.

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LynMari Fukuda
PreK Teacher
Pahala Elementary
Hawaii
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