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Nap time help

  • 1.  Nap time help

    Posted 07-29-2021 12:15 PM
    About a month ago, I started working at a local preschool. I cover teacher lunches at nap time, assist with snack, and help supervise a 2.5 hour outdoor play time.

    The center has some questionable practices (I've already communicated them and other concerns to state licensing) regarding nap time to keep ratios low enough to get by with bare minimum staffing. This means that the children are made to lay (not sit, they must be laying) on their cots for the full 2 hour nap window. No toys. No quiet activities. No alternate activities for non nappers or children who wake early. The other teachers YELL at the children to "keep your head down," "LAY DOWN!"... etc. ...quite frankly, it's hell. There are also children with special needs who cannot just "lay down" and "be quiet" but there is no support system for them in place.

    Tuesday I walked into the 2-3 year old classroom and had 12 students to supervise. 8 were not napping. Of course one child demonstrates mistaken behavior and the rest of them all do the same and I am not an octopus so chaos ensued. This is a daily occurrence. I refuse to yell and when I do raise my voice to a stern tone, the children do not respond. The other teachers just pull students to their rooms to nap which I feel like undermines my authority since they aren't backing me up.... and this leads to the children continuing to disregard my guidance.

    I've been scouring the internet for tips and tricks but since I walk in as naps start and the afternoon is meant to be "unstructured" I can't lead lesson plans so I feel like my hands are tied. I can't teach yoga and self regulation skills. I try to teach empathy in the moment on the playground but as you can imagine, it's not a learning goal the other teachers are interested in pursuing. I try to do guided meditation with some of the more rambunctious little ones to get them calm and help them fall asleep but with up to 7 others needing attention, I can't use that either. Naps are right after lunch with no transition (they finish eating and are sent to their cots) so the children do not have a chance to wind down. It's like they're being set up to fail.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I know there are a lot of limits in this situation, but there has to be something worth trying.

    Sarah Quest
    Long Beach CA

  • 2.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 07-29-2021 04:19 PM
    Hi Sarah,

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been put in such a difficult position. I always make sure that the children in our class are mostly settled before leaving for breaks, and let whoever is covering know everything they need to have a successful nap time with my current group of kiddos, but unfortunately it sounds like you aren't getting the support you need from the other teachers.  I can tell you what we do, although you may have tried most of it and it takes time, I've taught preschool and also covered breaks in our older toddler and young toddler rooms before.  We have a set routine of lunch, quiet play time, and then bathroom before transitioning to nap.  My previous class, we found that reading a short calming story when they first went to their cots helped calm and prepare many of the children. We strategically placed our cots so that children who were more rambunctious were in a different area than those who tend to sleep well, to avoid any uncontrollable disruptions.  We play soft rest time music as well.  We usually start by giving the children we know do not nap, and may be disruptive when settling, books to look at on their cots, while we focus our energy on helping the children who usually nap to fall asleep by covering them up with blankets, and rubbing their backs (with permission) gently.  Once those children have settled we go back and encourage all children to lay down and rest for about 30 minutes even if they don't fall asleep.  As soon as we see a child getting fidgety, we give them something quiet to do on their cots.  For some children giving them a sand timer or sensory bottle is a good way to support them in resting their bodies, even if its only for a short time.  We did have one child last year with special needs who just was not capable of settling but he did understand the boundary of staying on his cot and working on something quietly.  I find that the biggest issues from nap time are when children are being forced to rest when their bodies aren't ready, especially since most do not nap at home.  I'm sorry your in such a hard position and hope something I mentioned may help! Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do without their regular teacher's support, but I'm glad that you are doing everything you can to help these kiddos.

    Cassandra Drumm
    Lead Pre K Counts Teacher
    Smoketown PA

  • 3.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 07-30-2021 06:49 PM
    My email has changed to









    Terri Winbush, Principal

    Local District North West

    Chase Early Education Center

    Phone #: (818) 830-4455

    Fax #: (818) 892-7470

  • 4.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 07-31-2021 10:21 AM
    First of all, children are not required to nap for 2 hours straight. The younger children can go about an hour and a half if they are tired. I was a Director of a Preschool for many years before I was laid off because of the pandemic, I never allowed my teachers to yell at the children.. That is called verbal abuse, second I would speak to the director about your problems. I too believe the teachers undermine your authority if they allow the child to nap in their room. I would rub backs on children if a teacher needed my help and remove children if they were disruptive during nap and let them play in my office. I also would reward children if I felt they really needed a nap and play with them in aftercare. I told my teachers I never want to see any children crying because they cannot nap.
    When I was a teacher, I allowed children to do quiet activities such as read a book(place those children near the library area). puzzles, and color. I also would teach children because they needed all the instruction they could get. I don't know how your director feels about that. It may be considered out of ratio depending on how many children you have in the room.
    My wonderful teacher assistant told me to take the first lunch so she was able to get them to sleep. I just love children and always hated naptime.

    Mary Ellen Allocca

    You can email me any time!

    Mary Ellen Allocca
    Monroe Twp NJ

  • 5.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 08-17-2021 12:34 PM

    I wanted to thank you (and everyone else!) who weighed in on this. I finally was brave enough to speak to the director yesterday and suggested quiet items for the children who wake early/don't nap. I specifically suggested sensory bottles and felt pieces/puppets that I would make at my own expense. She shot the idea down because "the owner does not want the children to have toys at nap time." When I tried to mention the benefits (less children being woken up by loud early risers, less staff intervention when bored children exhibit mistaken behavior, etc.) my points were not taken seriously.

    Personally, I fail to see how making a child stay laying and quiet for 2 hours is DAP let alone ethical.

    Sarah Quest
    Long Beach CA

  • 6.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 08-01-2021 05:26 PM
    Yes, I am aware that children, per CA state licensing, only need to be offered a 2 hour nap window. It is not necessary for them to sleep for the full time or even at all. The problem is that the other teachers and the director don't seem to realize this. I think it's because they are trying to get by on bare minimum staff and to have children who are "awake" throws the ratios off. One teacher who left when I started working there said licensing told them that they had to be asleep or laying for the full 2 hours. I think that was a misunderstanding but we will have to see what licensing says about the complaint I registered.  The director is rather unapproachable. I brought up an issue to her about a child being physically aggressive towards me (I am only 4'11" and he can push me hard enough to move me backwards) and was told "well, no one else has that problem."

    During nap time, I've been trying to only give attention to the children who are truly loud and disruptive to get them to at least be quiet and not wake their peers. I got some DIRTY looks and comments about that Friday since there were children sitting up playing with their shoes, etc. and I was not enforcing the center's rule that they have to remain laying during nap time. It's bordering on torture to expect young children to be so quiet and still for 2 full hours and it's counter productive to yell and scream about laying down when you want children to rest and calm their bodies.

    Sarah Quest
    Long Beach CA

  • 7.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 08-01-2021 09:41 PM
    Hello, I was scrolling through and seen this post on nap time.  I have witness that it is necessary for children to have a nap.  I believe a child can nap for 2 hours or less.  I have children who have a rough atmosphere or not on a time schedule at home.  I always ask my parents on how their child's weekend was or day was. I also ask do you want them to sleep for the 2 hours or just an hour.  The parent tell me if I can get them to sleep for an 1hour and 1/2 that will be great.  Then I ask if the child do not take a nap do you want me to have them lay down still or let them play.  Minority of the time the parent states let them rest.  I do believe every situation is different.

    Be bless, pray all is well in this nap time situation.

    Ms. Tamara L Red
    Owner / Provider
    Unlimited Red Expressions Licensed Home Daycare LLC
    Danville Illinois

  • 8.  RE: Nap time help

    Posted 08-18-2021 09:18 AM

    Hello there

    I wanted to chime in regarding nap time. Here in the state of Wisconsin it's a licensing rule that states all
    children who do not nap after 30 minutes of quiet time, be given alternative quiet activities that do not disturb the other sleeping children. 

    I suggest you look into your licensing rules or reach out to your licensing specialist for further guidance. It is not DAP for children to just lay quiet on their cots for that long of a time frame. The items that you suggested to your Director are perfect. They could also engage in quiet reading, puzzles, coloring at the table, play dough or watercolors at the table. Looking forward to hearing a follow up. 

    Thank you 

    Briana Kurlinkus
    Early Childhood Trainer
    Madison WI