Tips for Better Napping Time at Home
Napping is a vital component of early development. Children under five require anywhere from 10-17 hours of sleep depending on their age. We do everything we can to encourage restful sleep so our children can retain new knowledge from all the new experiences they are having. Being that we have had all types of sleepers over the years, our teachers know a thing or two about getting children to nap.
The following napping tips align with things we do at Casa because consistency is key to building a solid routine and being more successful. Although we have learned much over the years, we always look to partner with our parents and prioritize your requests so that each child grows up healthy. Please always communicate your requests with our teachers! They want to make every child feel special and comforted.
Importance of Napping
Napping is incredibly important for the growth and development of young children. Sleep is a great way to rest the mind, but a lot is also happening in our brain during sleep. We actually are absorbing and storing into our long-term memory things that we have learned throughout the day, and our mind is working on solving problems we couldn’t solve previously. Another thing is that sleep allows young children to take a break from all the constant stimuli throughout the day. Studies have found that kids who sleep the required amount will actually choose healthier food options because the body is rested and not seeking a quick fix that processed foods offer. Learn more about sleep in this TED Talk!
Below are 3 vital napping tips to promote better nap time at home that align with things we do at Casa for consistency.
Create a Welcoming Sleep Environment
Our environment gives our bodies incredible cues to unconsciously carry out certain behaviors. For example, when we are in a movie theater, the smells and our associations with what someone should do at a theater make us more likely to buy popcorn. We might think we bought popcorn simply because we wanted it but there was more at play. That is what we try to do when creating a welcoming sleep environment. At home, try playing soothing music to promote sleep. Our Casa App actually is a great resource because you will find the napping playlist we use! While the music starts to play, turn off all the lights and close the blinds. Our bodies actually respond to lighting and promote wakefulness when our environment is bright, so this step is key. Another thing you can try is having lavender around which promotes tranquility.
Other things to consider when creating this environment are: Making sure that there are no games or electronics around, making the bed for sleeping only, and making sure the area is safe. The area should be free from any large toys, strings, cords, and decorations should be tightly secured and out of arms and/or leg’s reach.
Incorporate Contact to Help Them Sleep
Soothing motions such as rubbing one’s back/head and rocking work like magic! It also creates nice bonding time and lets children know that they are safe and can sleep comfortably because we are there to look out for them. For children who sleep in a crib, rock the crib back and forth gently. We use this technique every day so doing this at home will promote consistency. If your child no longer uses a crib, rub or pat their back, chest, or head. This is a technique we use to provide comfort to all our children but especially those who may be new to our centers or just transitioned. We love to provide comfort and create a connection as soon as possible.
Have a Set Nap Time Every Day
Our final napping tip is vital. Children in our older classes have a more consistent napping schedule as opposed to our younger children. Younger children require more sleep so we always make sure to look out for tell signs. A napping schedule as your child grows up, will make going to nap time less of a struggle! Ask your child’s teacher what their napping schedule is (how often your child goes to sleep and how long) to predict their schedule at home.