Napping is an important part of a toddler’s day. Children require a nap to recharge and you, as a daycare owner, use nap time to get things ready for the remainder of the day. Naps are critical for younger children, why? When do they outgrow them and how can you make sure they don’t affect their nighttime sleep?
Changing Sleep Needs
An infant or toddler will sleep more when going through a growth spurt. This is because of the energy that a growth spurt demands. We need adequate sleep when growing which is why children require more sleep than adults and why toddlers sleep less as they get older. Some of this sleep is done during daily nap time, the length of that nap depends on the child’s age and development stage.
Newborns will sleep all day and all night long between feedings until they are about 3 months old. At this age, they start to develop a routine and can go for longer spans without eating. Newborns need to eat every few hours which keeps them from being able to sleep for long stretches of time without eating.
Natural Timeline of Naps
Infants typically sleep about 16-20 hours a day. As they get older, they outgrow this and begin only taking two naps a day – one in the morning and another in the afternoon. In short, naps tend to just work themselves out. Nap patterns are usually established at a young infant age and generally revolve around feeding schedules. It is recommended to choose an hour after the first bottle for the morning nap and the same after a midday bottle for the afternoon nap.
How to Know it’s Nap Time
Pay attention to the signs that kids give off when ready for a nap. This can vary depending on the child, some zone out, some get fussy and others just cry. Do not ignore these cues, everyone (especially the child) will be much happier if he or she is put down for their nap at this time.
A Napping Environment
It is difficult to force a child to take a nap when he or she doesn’t want to but it isn’t hard to create the sleeping environment. Make sure that your daycare cots are set aside from the rest of your facility and that when nap time comes, all toys are put away and the room is quiet. Make sure that you are also consistent. Don’t arrange the cots a certain way one day and then a different way the next. Each child should have their own cot and it should be in the same spot each day.