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Naps at Day Care & Preschool

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4 month old naps at daycare, not at home

July 2005

Hello, We have a beautiful 4 1/2 month old son who naps wonderfully in his family daycare, but extremely poorly at home. I'm thrilled that our daycare provider has him on a schedule; he takes a bottle in the morning about 8:30 am and naps for 2.5 to 3 hours before he wakes up for lunch. He has another bottle and plays for awhile, then he's down for another 2 hours or so. I've tried in vain for weeks to get him on the same schedule at home, but I can't get him to sleep for more than an hour or so at a time. Usually, it's more like 45 minutes. I've recently started playing music or having the tv on in the background to try to mimic the daycare noise, but that doesn't appear to be working either. Has this been a problem for anyone else? Did it ever resolve? It's incredibly frustrating because I know he can self-sooth--he does it there. If he didn't need the sleep it would be a different matter, but he gets very cranky by the afternoon. Thanks for any stories or tips you can provide. B.


I've seen it both ways, as I am often home during our nannyshare. I've seen my toddler able to nap during nannycare but refuses to nap when I am caring for him. And, I've seen toddlers who don't nap well during nannycare but nap much better when they are at home. The common factor between the two scenarios? In the first scenario, I had a hard time putting my toddler to nap because he knew that Moms nurse, therefore if I wanted to have him sleep, I should nurse him down; I could not just leave him in the crib the way the nanny would. In the second scenario, the toddler who slept better at home than during nannycare had a Mom who laid down with him/her until the child was asleep. So, perhaps your toddler expects something different from you, since after all, you are the Mom and not the nanny/ daycare provider. I don't have a solution, just a thought! mother of toddler who naps only in cars now
I don't really have any suggestions for you, just sympathy- I had the exact same problem with both my children. They would never ever nap at home no matter what I tried. My solution was to do an errand or an outing around 11 in the morning - then they would fall asleep in the car on the way home, and get at least a bit of rest.

Will 5-month-old get all her naps at daycare?

May 2007

I am anxious about my baby going to daycare when i go back to work. My 5 month old daughter has a routine down for the day that includes a nap at 8:30-9:45am, a nap at 11:30--12:30pm and then again at 3pm--4:00 or so. This works really well for her and she is happy, content and not stressed out or grumpy. How do I prepare her for daycare when most likely she won't be able to get all these lovely naps in? I let her nurse before napping and get her very close to sleep by holding her in my arms before I set her down. She rarely cries before sleeping, and if she does it's only for 5-15 minutes. I am really worried that her pattern of sleep will be completely wacked when I go back to work.Any suggestions? Should I let her self-soothe herself to sleep to wean her off of being rocked by me in order to nap? Joanna


First, your baby is going to start giving up that early morning nap and go to two naps a day until about age 1, when they start going to one nap a day so sleep patterns will change regardless. I'd talk to your day care provider. When I secured a position at my day care she asked about the babies schedule and told me what her schedule was. Because my baby is not the only baby at day care, it seemed fair to try and adjust her to the day care schedule as much as possible. She was napping with the rest of the kids within a week AND we don't really follow the day care schedule when she's at home and that works too. At 10 months, my baby naps for about an hour from 9:30 - 10:30 and then takes a two hour nap around 1pm, but there are signs she's starting to give up the morning nap. anon
Everything will be out of wack when she starts day care because it's a huge transition. You will need a lot of strength to get through it. My son was 7 months when he started, and a similar napper, with me getting him to sleep on the breast in the rocker. He adjusted to daycare and got his naps; yours will too. Talk to the daycare about what they do for naps. If your daycare is like my son's, they know babies and really get to know their habits, etc. If your child needs naps, they should give them to her. You will be amazed at how your child will adjust and will get to sleep by their methods which will be different than yours. I know so many people whose kids won't nap at home but will at daycare. What we ended up doing with my son in day care 4 to 5 days a week was to adapt the daycare's schedule at home on the weekends. This made it easier all around and more consistent for him. anon

6-month-old doesn't nap as well at daycare

Jan 2007

my 6 month old daughter (in daycare from about 4 months) will not nap as well in daycare as she does at home. i was home with my first child when he was his sister's age, and thus had the ability to set up and follow a strict morning/afternoon sleep schedule. the fact that i can't do that with my daughter is killing me. i'm such a believer in nap schedules. her daycare providers put her down at the times i ask, but she doesn't always sleep. (there is so much stimulation in that room.) then they take her out and try again later. she winds up sleeping only about 2 hours total between the hours of 9 to 5. at home it's twice that. should i just give it up and accept it for what it is even though it feels wrong? can a child still have pretty healthy sleep habits even if 4 days out of 7 the naps are not scheduled or regular or really that substancial at all? nap nutty


i went through the same thing with my 7 month old. i ended up pulling him out of daycare since he was so overtired and unhappy and i am also a nap nazi. i found a nanny share situation where my child could nap in a home with a private room and a nanny who was as strict as i was about napping schedules. it was so worth it. i have a second child and am going to do the same thing. the naps are as important as food at this age and i did everything necessary to make sure he got them.

i was nervous about leaving him ''unsupervised'' with a stranger, but there are good nannies who pay attention to the kids out there. just find a good recommendation or someone looking for a second person in their share. the one i am using has been with us for over a year. i am going to put my son back in daycare soon, and she will start caring for my infant. there is no advantage to daycare at that age. he gets to spend time at the park and with 5 other children so he does socialize as well. if you have any questions, let me know. ea


don't worry about it. Unless it's completely screwing her up so she can't sleep at night, she'll probably make it up somewhere along the way. Besides, what CAN you do about it? Unless you're willing to give up daycare or move her somewhere else that's less stimulating, that's just the way it's going to be. Both my daughters were the same way, but before long, they were old enough where it was less and less of an issue (either b/c they didn't need as much sleep or their schedules were more in line with the other kids). anon

6-month-old naps at daycare but not at home

Oct 2003

My 6 month old will not take a nap at home. He takes good, long naps at the home of his child care provider, whom he is very fond of - he gets tons of individual attention there and seems quite happy to go there. He also goes to sleep well at night in our home, and takes decent naps with us when we are visiting relatives, etc. It is just at home that he won't nap. I used to get him to nap by walking him down in the sling; this doesn't work anymore (he tries to crawl out of the sling!) More recently I've sometimes been able to get him to sleep in the stroller, but even that is getting harder. At times I've even dropped him off at his day care provider early (I have him at home some mornings) because he was clearly exhausted and I knew he would nap at her place.

We can't really use some of the techniques that are suggested to get him to sleep - e.g., giving him a bath, reading a book, other bedtime rituals - these all have the effect of getting him more wound up and excited. We ultimately had to let him cry it out to get to sleep at night, because it seemed that was the only way for him to let go of his stress, and in fact that worked very quickly for him (10 minutes or so, 2 nights, and all have been much better rested from then on). But I would prefer not to do this for naps - at night, it felt intuitively like it was actually helping him, whereas during the day he protests naps strongly so that it feels like the crying will go on forever, and just be a power struggle. I've never had the stomach to let him cry and cry.

Has anyone had a similar problem? Did it resolve itself? Do I need to grit my teeth and let him cry? anon


It sounds like there must be some kind of behavioral component to the refusal to nap at home. By that, I mean that the baby must be used to some kind of routine or situation that has changed and has refused to change his tune in response. If he naps anywhere else, you know he needs the nap and at 6 months this would definitely be true. Before you go the driving around in the car for a nap scheme, I would recommend a modified Ferber to get your child to nap at home. It is so much easier to do this earlier than later - and 6 months is not too early. I did it precisely for naps at this age because we were walking on eggshells around wherever my daughter fell asleep for a nap - afraid to move her. Her naps were too short and we knew she needed more nap time. It was very quick - I think we waited until she was good and tired and later moved the nap incrementally to a time that was good for setting a routine. Anon
Our son is now 15 months old and has gone down in various ways over the months. I can't remember what the method was at 6 months other than nursing or a bottle with daddy when I was at work. But now that he has been weaned for over 3 months it seems as if we are in a period of driving and walks in the stroller as the only reliable method of napping. We never 'taught' him how to go to sleep independently in his crib since we didn't see the necessity at his age for our family. I'm sure some expert would like to tell us a thing or two and there have been a few times that we wished he would go down in his crib but this is our method for now, and it works for us. We think the main reason he has a hard time napping in his crib in the daytime is that we don^Rt have dark shades for the windows. We are in the process of getting them since now that the weather is going to turn the stroller method may not be an option as often. If you don^Rt have them this may help. I^Rm sure you^Rve talked to your caregiver about every detail of her routine with him at naptime and the conditions of his nap location and tried it yourself. I can say that when my mother is watching our son she can get him to sleep at night by rocking him in the living room and we can^Rt. I only mention this because you may have to use a different method than your caregiver and I can't speak as to why naps are easier as her house than yours. I'd be interested in what other's say. S.W.
You don't say what your babysitter does to get him to nap...if they have a set routine around naptime I would try to replicate it as much as possible (at similar times) to see if it works. Our son (now 11 months) would hardly ever nap in the stroller and stay asleep, but our babysitter has him nap after taking a bottle in his stroller at around the same time every day. I tried it at home on the days I have him and now he'll do it with me, too!

7-month-old is fighting naps at daycare

Feb 2010

I have a 7 month old who has been at our daycare since he was 4 months. We think very highly them, but our son is not napping well there. We brought up our concerns and they have made a real effort to address them, but my son takes no morning nap there (they try, but no luck) and 1-2 short naps per day (typically 20-45 min., occasionally longer). When I pick him up at 5:30 pm he's fussy/crying and exhausted. The infants sleep in a dim corner of the same large room and I believe my son is just super stimulated in this environment and doesn't want to sleep. At home he has 2-3 longer (1 hour +) naps per day and always needs a morning nap. If he doesn't get it he is off-kilter for the remainder of the day. While clearly tired he often fights sleep, so we sometimes have to resort to CIO, but once down he sleeps very well and wakes happy. Obviously the daycare canC",b"t do the CIO with him.

I am concerned about no morning nap, no nap schedule (pediatrician said there should be one, but daycare doesnC",b"t offer one for infants), the impact of this on the quality of his night sleep (wakes frequently on days with fewer naps, otherwise can sleep solid 12 hours) and long-term ramifications of not enough daytime sleep. He is otherwise thriving, but I wonder about the long-term effects when it is so obvious to us that he needs more daytime sleep. Other factors are that he clearly adores his teachers, loves being around other kids, and we feel lucky to have gotten a place with this daycare. I'm having a hard time determining how critical this issue is, when we are otherwise happy about the care he receives.

I am looking for feedback about naps and infants who fight sleep at daycare. Should we wait and see if he will nap more on his own or move him to a different environment where he can get better daytime sleep? How have other parents resolved this issue? Any advice or suggestions much appreciated! Concerned New Parent


Hi there- Thanks for your post.

We also have a child in daycare that fights sleep. Ever since he started to crawl at around 6/7 months, my son has not wanted to take his normal naps while at daycare (he's 11 months now). At home, he is a super easy child and follows his 2x per day nap schedule with no complaint. We are also very happy with our daycare and know they have tried everything to get him to take his regular naps, just no success. They do have a separate room that is dark for sleeping, but apparently he just sits in his crib and talks the whole time.

I was concerned about this for a long time, because he is generally pretty tired when he gets home, but I've decided that its fine for now. There are days when I can tell he really needed to sleep more, but other days when you wouldn't know the difference. We put him down for bed by 7pm and he sleeps through the night until 7am and never has any problems. I think he is having so much fun at daycare that he doesn't want to miss anything. He is okay at home and doesn't have any other behavioral issues, so I'm just continuing to monitor the situation.

I am a first time mom, and am looking forward to the other feedback about this issue. Martina


If the cost is not an issue, take your baby out of daycare and put him in a nanny share (around $10/hour usually). He will have the company of another child (plus a bunch of others at the park every day!) and a better routine. Nannies are very good at dealing with sleep routines. And there are tons of nanny shares around right now. At this age they adjust very easily to new situations. Sleep is Important!
We have the same issue with our Nanny share. For probably the same reasons. I've learned that it must be relatively quiet and relatively dark for my 6 mos old to sleep well and she needs to be put down at pretty much the first eye rub or yawn. If these things don't happen, there isn't much sleep happening. She does not have a schedule but it's about 2-3 hours after waking she'll be tired again. This daycare sounds fine. Do they have another room they can put him in (you can provide a monitor for them) and maybe they need to put him down way sooner? If I wait too long to put my daughter down, she gets a second (and third and forth) wind and then it becomes very difficult to put her down without her crying which I don't expect our Nanny to do. Good Luck

9-month-old is not sleeping at daycare

Nov 2007

Help--My 9 month old is not sleeping at day care. He has been in a family day care 3 days a week for almost 2 months. We kept thinking his lack of sleep was just him getting familiar with the new location. But, after almost 2 months he still only gets 1 or 2 20-minute naps for an 8-hour day (today he actually never fell asleep). While at day care he plays but also gets progressively cranky (according to the care providers). When I pick him up he seems exhausted (rubbing eyes, etc). However, once we are home he plays, talks, laughs and acts like everything is great. Anyone gone through this? Any advice on how to get him to sleep? Any thoughts on how to help the care providers? Thanks. Concerned about sleep


Hi, I think your son is a cat napper, like my son was. It was v hard. He would take 2 20-30 minute naps per day as an infant and it gave me virtually not time to myself. But, the bonus was that from 6 weeks on, he slept a hearty 10-12 hours at night. So he may be ''one of those'' who require only short naps during the day. It may be inconvenient for the daycare providers, but if they are sensitive to his needs, I hope they will accomodate for that. Not every child's rhythm is the same, nor can it be made to be. anon

9-mo-old starting daycare, only naps after breastfeeding

May 2008

My son will b starting daycare in aug. at 9 months and I have a couple questions. The first is how do I know how much he will drink and how often? He is breastfed with the occasional bottle of breastmilk, but I have never left for more than 2-3 hours. My second question is he always falls asleep nursing (or in the car) and sometimes Ill just continue to hold him because he'll sleep for longer. Does anyone have any advice (im not expecting miracles or drastic changes, just some helpful tips) on anything I can do to help prepare him for napping at daycare? (he wont take a pacifier and me and his dad dont live together) Any advice would be great! Thanks alot! preparing for daycare


I think that your son will be best prepared for daycare if he is not experiencing changes at home at the same time. I would stick to your routine. You're both going to want that close nursing time even more when he's in day care, you won't want to be getting him to sleep with a bottle. And anyway, he is much more likely to accept other ways of going to sleep if someone else besides you is with him. They might be able to take him out for a walk in the stroller- does that ever work? Good luck!
I was also really worried about naps and breastfeeding issues and daycare. My advice is not to worry about the naps at all. My son only fell asleep swaddled, while being nursed and within one week of daycare he was sleeping just fine without a swaddle and obviously without being nursed as well. These daycares are really experts on getting kids to nap and they are highly motivated to make sure your child sleeps well. The want/need the break and no one wants a cranky child. As for breast feeding, I have heard from others that kids need 12-15 ounces a day, but I can't say for sure because my son refused the bottle and would just wait for me to nurse. It used to really freak me out because he would go all day with hardly any liquids (he was eating rice cereal and some solid food, so he at least had the milk in that). It all worked out fine though. He just nursed more through the night to make up for it. You'll be surpised at how resilient and adaptable your baby will be. Meredith

9-month-old missing morning nap at daycare

Nov 2004

Our 9-month-old recently started daycare 4 days a week at a wonderful home-based facility near our house. She's the youngest one there, and being a very social creature, has transitioned well to the new arrangement, for the most part. The problem we're having is that she's very sensitive to noises, so she isn't able to get her two naps every day. In the morning, the daycare provider pats her down to sleep in a separate room, but invariably something (neighbor's dog barking, an excited child, etc.) wakes her up after 10-15 minutes, and then she won't go back down until around mid-day, when everybody takes a long nap. She then sleeps for about 2 hours. When I pick her up in the evening, she seems tired and usually goes to sleep about an hour later (which was her old bedtime before she started daycare and before daylight savings). At night, she sleeps about 10-12 hours total, with 1-2 wakings.

Before starting daycare, she would nap about 1-2 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon (on average, about 2-2.5 hours during the day). She's napping almost as much as she used to when she was home with me, but it's all in one big chunk instead of in two big chunks. On the weekends, we do try to make up for the missed naps, but we're also running around, so it's not perfect, and I'm not sure how much it helps anyway.

My questions are: (1) is it okay at her age to only get one nap, since the overall nap time is nearly the same? The daycare provider says she seems really tired in the morning, and yet won't sleep; (2) since we can't control the environment and the provider is doing all she can, what else can we do? Will she just adjust over time or since she's already 9 months, just outgrow her morning naps sooner? Sighing over baby's lost sleep...


It sounds like your daughter is doing fine. Unless she's showing actual signs of exhaustion (she's cranky, can't go to sleep at night, etc.), it seems that she's adjusting well to her circumstances. I wouldn't worry about it.
My son (now 14 months) had a similar situation at his daycare. And truth be told, it only got worse as time went on. He too is a light napper and doesn't sleep well when there is lots to hear down the hall. Our son was in a large center, had his own crib far from the others, but we'd be lucky to pick him up at the end of the day having accomplished just one 10-minute nap. We ended up finding another day care that tried harder to meet his napping needs (at home he naps for 2 hours in the morning and 45-minutes in the afternoon). For us, as our son got older, the lack of quality naps at daycare began to affect his development. He was simply too tired to function at full capacity. Some kids do shun a nap at about 12 months, and ours has definitely cut back the afternoon snooze fest, but for us, finding a daycare that took his naps seriously was a big priority. glad he sleeps now

10-mo-old is not getting naps at daycare

Aug 2004

Hi-

I am at my wits end and need some guidance. My 10-month old son is not getting any naps at daycare. He attends daycare M/W/F and is home with me the other days. At home, he naps like a champ in his crib: two hours in the am, and another 45min-hour in the afternoon.

At daycare, they say he just doesn't seem tired, or he won't fall asleep, etc. The teachers and director have dismissed my concern and say he is just too excited too nap. No one there seems to think this is important. Once I pick my son up he falls dead asleep in the car during the 10 minute drive home and often misses his dinner because he is so exhausted.

When my son started this daycare, he was four months old and against my stern objections they let him nap in the swing or on the floor as he played. Now that he is 10-months old, I think their poor sleep habits have influenced how he now sees naptime at daycare.

My problem is two-fold: 1) How do I communicate my needs to the daycare? I have already spoken to the district manager and the corporate office and received zippo help. They said they would look into the situation, but that has yielded zero results. 2) How do I now get my son to nap at daycare? My son needs some sleep and I really believe that his lack of naps is affecting his overall well being.

I checked the archives, but similar situations seemed to be geared towards toddlers.

Signed, Mommy of a boy who needs some zzz's


Find a different daycare. anon
You need to change your daycare situation immediately! A 10- month old absolutely needs at least one nap a day, and if the daycare doesn't think he needs one or doesn't know how to get him to take one, he really needs to be someplace else. (My son gave up naps at home long before he gave up naps at daycare/pre- school because the teachers were such pros at getting the kids to sleep!) You might also consider changing your work schedule. When I went back to work part-time after my first, the daycare recommended that his daycare days be sequential. It's far less confusing for the baby.

Daycare is separating my child from the others at naptime

March 2004

I would like to get an idea of how other parents would feel in the following situation:

I dropped by my daughter's preschool early the other day because my partner had an emergency dental appointment, and needed me to drive him. The kids were all napping, but I figured I would tiptoe in, silently whisk my kid from her napping spot, and carry her out to the car while still asleep.

Upon entering the center and explaining the emergency, the center director looked at me very sourly, apparently unable to understand that it was not my preference to interrupt my child's nap, and then suggested that one of the teachers go in and wake her up. I, of course, suggested that I could do it, and she reluctantly agreed. I could tell she was most displeased, however. I do not think she was upset because I was about to find my kid sleeping in an unusual situation, however, because she is generally the sort of person who does not like to have schedules and routines disrupted (she did not even say she was sorry we had to make an emergency trip to the dentist, of all places!)

When I went into the nap room, I discovered my daughter sleeping in a corner of the room, completely partitioned off from every other child in the room by a chair and a cushion from the sofa. I exited the room and asked why my daughter was sleeping in a way that was different from all the other kids, and they said she fidgets at nap time and has trouble getting to sleep. They also said she always sleeps that way, and that she ''is used to it.''

Now, we have had issues in the past with the school. My child was stimulating her privates once while at school, and there was a resulting uproar about it (she was 4).Their complaint was that she had done it once before, but they never told me about it (i.e., I didn't know, and thus did not have the opportunity to discuss it with my child). They also said she does that at naptime, but that lots of kids do that and that they did not have a problem with it in that context. They did say that she is not sleeping separately because of that, but because she was fidgeting and playing with other kids when she should have been sleeping, but again--they have never mentioned this to me in any of our numerous parent meetings (my kid has been going there for two years, and my daughter says she sleeps that way every day for this whole school year).

What does the community think of this recent discovery? Am I overreacting, or is there something wrong when a school has your child sleep separately and ''differently'' from other kids and fails to tell the parents about it? I am especially sensitive about this because we have had communication issues in the past, and I have worked so hard to be present in the school, to ask for information, and employ all of the school's recommendations for managing our kid's daycare schedule. The school has consistently neglected to mention several important things to me in the past about my child's development.

Is this sleeping thing a big deal? Or have I just been hypersensitized by our past experience with the school? -Wondering what others think.


It sounds serious to me. My daughter's preschool has an open door policy. I have walked into the classroom at various times of the day and am greeted by the teachers. There's never been any reluctance to allow me to visit. Any center not giving you immediate access to your child (at any time) sounds like they have something to hide. And, if your daughter is just a bit fidgety at nap time, what's the big deal ? Why have they not told you about it ? Maybe you should take this as a sign to leave this school, especially if you've had problems with them in the past. - preschool mom
I didn't have to read much of your post for my red flag to go up. My first thought was that the teacher/director should have been more sensitive to your problem. Then, I would be concerned about her not wanting you to get your own child from her nap, yet I can understand her hesitation as in my own house, I sometimes feel like I am the only one who can do certain things regarding our child, so maybe that's where that comes from, but on the other hand, she could have explained that to you. I would definately be concerned about ''differential'' treatment on any level. They are, in effect, punishing her for being different, and this is not a good message to send your child. Are they trying to tell you she is the ONLY child that fidgets and doesn't go down? I find this hard to believe. It sounds to me like this may not be as big of a deal if it were a solitary instance, but it does sound like it's the icing on the cake for you. I would go with your gut on this one. Is your child going into Kindergarten and changing schools soon? If so, it might not be worth taking her out of this one, only to change in the fall again. And it doesn't sound like your child is unhappy or feeling displaced. But I would certainly raise your concerns (again?) with the director about the lack of communication with you and the idea that she is being seperated from the group. If they don't agree, well you might just have to look elsewhere..... anon
My child was always separated out at naptime at his daycare. He also had lots of trouble leaving the other kids alone (and still does, at age 11). This didn't seem to me to be such a bad thing at the time, and in fact, sometimes they let him read while the other kids slept, which was better for him and his energy level. Napping was hard for him, and he never did it at home either. The other kids needed it, so it seemed fair to give them a break. It might start to bother her if you make a big deal of it. If it doesn't bother her, why worry? However, if there are OTHER things bothering you about the situation, you might be looking for the last straw. If that's the case, perhaps you should move her somewhere else anyway, because maybe you sense that something bothers you, but just can't put your finger on it. It's always best to listen to your intuition, when it comes to your kid. been there
Two thoughts: One, have you watched the teachers put the children to sleep before? if not, you might be surprised by how difficult it can be and how many little strategies teachers need to employ to successfully get so many kids to sleep. I'm not hearing you say that your child is in a different room out of view of the teachers, only that he/she is out of view of the other kids. In my view, that's kind of a good thing. Maybe your kid is getting a little more sleep than he/she otherwise would, and probably the other kids are too.

Two, notwithstanding my comment above, you don't seem totally confident about this daycare situation. If your intuition tells you this daycare setting is not right for you, you need not develop concrete reasons why you should leave. Your intuition is good enough reason by itself. anonymous


It sounds like it might be time to look for a different school. You have had communication issues with this center in the past and this sounds like another one. Being singled out of a group can hurt a child, even if she hasn't mentioned it to you. This is exactly the kind of information they should share with you since they are treating making her sleep separately like a disciplinary action. I'd be skeptical if they tried to tell you they weren't. And if it is a form of discipline you should be notified so that you can choose how to handle it yourself! Even if it's not disciplinary, you should be informed of your child's behavior in daycare, especially if the center deems it ''different'' than the other kids' or has a problem with it in general.

If it were my little girl, I'd wonder what else they're not telling me and I'd want to put her someplace else. I think you're totally justified in questioning the center's judgement. You say yourself ''The school has consistently neglected to mention several important things to me in the past about my child's development'' That's nothing to sneeze at. It sounds like your gut is telling you to worry, I'd listen. One other thing that occurs to me is that it's totally normal to fidget and play with the other kids at nap time. Your little girl shouldn't have to get ''used to'' sleeping separately. It sounds mean!

Listen to your heart and your gut. Good luck whatever you decide. Jenny


Well, I know that periodically my son has been moved to a more isolated spot for nap time. The cause of the move has been his preventing other kids from getting to sleep and/or staying asleep due to his talking, telling jokes, doing handstands, etc. His teachers have been good about telling me when he is moved. They also worked with me to create incentives for his good behavior at nap time. (I told him that if we had one week of good naptime reports I would buy him a sleeping bag. When he behaves poorly, the teacher takes the sleeping bag and gives it to me to confiscate for the remainder of the week, and then if the behavior is better he gets it back.) Now he don't have problems, although my son is quick to tell me if he slept well every day.

When he was having problems with sleeping (and also with eating) I specifically I asked ''was he quiet at nap time, did he sleep?'' etc. If you have been asking specifics and they aren't giving you information, then I would be probably be upset too. It seems to me that if they want to solve the problem, they should include you so that you are both working together on this. mom of a bad napper


My child's pre-school is also discourages anyone from coming to the center during nap-time, but when I've had to come at that time, with even some advanced warning, they were more understanding. I know they work really hard to try to get all the kids to go down and once they're finally settled, any disruption can set the whole room off again. Still, they certainly can't prevent you from getting your child. I hope that wasn't being suggested!

That said, my daughter also has her own ''special place'' at naptime away from the group because she's just a lousy napper and wiggles the whole time, without ever sleeping. This has not been adressed as a ''problem'' by the teachers -- I don't think it's one of the developmental benchmarks on the form they use for parent conferences (can you see it now? ''sleeps well with others''!!!) so it hasn't come up in that context -- just in passing her teacher mentioned to me that she's so wiggly that she has to have her own special place. My daughter has never brought it up, so I've assumed it hasn't bothered her. In fact, she once asked at home if she could set pillows up in her room to make a special sleeping spot like she has at school. But if you're daughter does seem bothered by it, by all means, I would talk to the teachers about it. If you feel like communication problems are not unusual, it might be a good idea to try to systemize the communication as much as possible. Try asking them for the things that you'd like specific feedback on and discuss the means by which you will exchange info. As a teacher myself, I know that it is often difficult to know exactly what parents expect feedback on. Many times they'll come to me and say ''why is this the first I'm hearing of X?'' and my response is usually to say (tactfully of course) that if they want information the best way to get it is to ask me. Different parents tend to want to know about different things, so it makes it a whole lot easier for me when a parent says, ''I have a concern about x, can you please let me know on a weekly (daily, monthly, whatever) basis by calling me how my child is doing with this?'' Believe me, the teachers may appreciate the specificity of such a request. Good luck with this.


I missed the original posting, but want to reply because I was a child who was separated from the others at naptime. this was 30 years ago and I still remember and resent the humiliation. So do my parents. I don't remember much of what was going on, obviously, but I do remember every nap time, everybody else got to sleep with their blankets on the floor and I had to sleep at a table with my head down, and the teacher kept my blanket as a spare in case somebody else didn't have one. I was also never allowed to go to the bathroom when I needed to and then disciplined when I made the inevitable mess. My parents did get me out of there pretty quickly, and I really enjoyed going to the new daycare center. I am going to be super sensitive to stuff like this when my son starts daycare. So if anybody does have a kid who really hates going to daycare, please go through the effort of making sure the daycare center isn't filled with incompetent morons anon
It is hard to reply to your post for various reasons:

1) It is possible that you already dislike this daycare for whatever reason and therefore it is possible that this is clouding you judgement.

2) You never said how many children and teachers there are at this daycare--- if it a small daycare then it would be more problematic then if there were 20 children or so

3) I don't know what you have done to try to help the teachers deal with your active child.

Let me tell explain why these reasons are important. If you have don't like this teacher (and that is what it sounds like from the post), it is entirely possible that you may have overreacted and what is more you may have made the situation worse for your child. If it is a large Pre-school then the teachers have their hands full putting children to sleep. This is especially true when you are dealing with four year olds---I know, I have a four year old myself. At this age many really need naps, while others hate them---Putting a large group of these kids to sleep requires a lot of work patience and strategies! My daughter is a difficult child at nap time, I am aware of this. Often I she separated from the group so that she doesn't disturb the other children. Furthermore, she goes to a preschool with lots of children and they usually make it clear to parents that if you are going to pick up your child early to do so just before or just after nap. Imagine that a teacher has just spent a good hour trying to get everyone clam and restfull and then a parent comes to pick up there child. The children who ''rest with their eyes open'' will usually get excited and disrupt the rest of the children and probably wake some up. It also doesn't seem like your child minded, however, now that she has seen your reaction she might. This might add to an already difficult situation for her teacher. How is she suposed to do her job if she cannot employ needed strategies. I am also afraid it might create a situation where your child might act out more because she thinks she has a right to. This is why I stated that it would be importatnt to know what you have done to try to alleviate the situation. If you don't like her strategy, suggest a new one, but realize that she is the expert in this area so you may have to put your angst aside and try to work it out. Moving children around it tough on them especilly given that she has been there for two years and probably has made some good friends; furthermore, she will be starting Kindergarten next year and will already be making adjustments.

Ultimately you will have to decide what you think is best for your daughter and act accordingly. If you decide to stay there, try to make amends with her teacher, otherwise your child will pick up on this. If you decide to leave, realize that untill Kindergarten most preschools require rest time and you may end up in a worse situation. I had some really bad expiriences with small preschools---- There are pro's and cons to everything. Good Luck! anon


20-mo-ols just started daycare, won't nap

Oct 2010

After being at home for 20 months with nanny/grand parents we decided to transition our son to daycare. We started off at a professional daycare but it was clear within a week that it was not going to work for him or us.

We then moved him to a home based daycare where things have been going much smoother. We started on a part time schedule and also spent time there with him for the first week. For the past 9 days he has been going there for 6 hours ( 9 am to 3 pm) and this is his third week there. The crying is now limited to drop off time and each day he seems to be more ''himself'' when I pick him up. So I think he is beginning to adjust to the place. However, he does not nap over there.

The daycare lady tries to put him down by being next to him but he won't even lay down for her. I have tried to put him down after I pick him up, some days he will and some days he won't. Most of the time he doesn't and then passes out by 6:30 pm.

How much time should I give for him to start napping at daycare before considering other(nanny) options? He naps real easy in the afternoons at home. He was used to being patted to sleep, though this past week we have been putting him down, doing a reading ''ritual'' and then ask him (repeatedly) to go to sleep. We stick around till he goes to sleep.It takes about 45 minutes. Please share your (similar) experience/advice. omimomi


I know that is hard, but is going to take longer for your kid to start getting accustomed to his new new life. My daughter started daycare at 18 months and it took her three months to start napping there, and during the night is hard to put her in bed if she sleeps more than two hours during the day. Every child is different and hoping yours get accustomed fast.. good luck Mother of 2 y old

One-year-old starting daycare needs help falling asleep

Feb 2004

Our 13 mon. old son's only way to take a nap during the day is if we help him do so (rocking him gently in our arms for a few minutes). While at night we have gotten him used to being left in bed to fall asleep by himself, we just don't believe in forcing naps or a rigid schedule on him, and consequently never developed the habit of following the night ritual during the day. Now however, we are planning to put him in a family day care and I can not foresee that the teacher/nanny will be able to help him fall asleep the way we do for naps. I am scared that he will just wind up going through the whole day, every day, without a nap and inevitably over tired and cranky. Any advice on how to handle this? Thank you


Your child will act very differently away from you, and will often follow the lead of other children. Our daughter was an inconsistent napper with us, but in daycare--even on a very uneven schedule of 2-3 days a week--she would always nap on their schedule. When she got to pre-school at 2.5 and discovered that some kids did not nap (''older kids''), she didn't ever nap at pre-school even though most days with us she was still napping.

Finally at 13 mo., if necessary, you can let your child fuss or cry by themselves for a while rather than do a whole ritual for going to sleep. I know not everyone believes in this, but when we adopted our son at 13 mo. from China, we did it the first night home--took four tries since we wouldn't let him cry for more than 5-15 minutes--after that he goes to sleep very easily and still made the adjustment to being very happy with us. JB


I don't have any advice for your specific questions, but you might find that the Family daycare can accomodate your baby's needs. We run a Family daycare and always rock/sing/comfort our babies to sleep. Kathy
My daughter naps inconsistently at home, but they swear to me at school that she's one of the good nappers. She lays down on her little pad and goes right to sleep. I've stopped by & seen it! At home she'll ''pretend'' nap by laying down on a blanket, but won't actually nap. I think sometimes at school they get a little more stimulated, plus doing everything that the other kids are doing helps. Check in with the care provider and ask what they do if your child is having trouble napping. (Mine doesn't force a nap, which was reassuring to me, but she naps anyway-just not the entire time). you may also find that you'd need to put him to bed earlier if he seems tired. He'll get into a routine without forcing, but may go back to your standard routine (needeing rocking) at home. anon
If it's a good family daycare, they would probably be willing to help your child develop a nap schedule in the same way you taught him to go to sleep alone at night. Where my son goes to daycare, all of the kids lie down at the same time in a darkened area, and they are so used to the idea that they all will lie down on their mats ''because it's time'' and go right to sleep.

Talk to the daycare provider about the routine she uses for naps. Once you start daycare, it may actually be beneficial for your child to see all the other children lying down and going to sleep; he may just imitate them and have less trouble than you think -- especially if you have eased him toward that time and routine. And definitely explain your concerns to the daycare provider, and ask her if she can help you work this out. Good daycare providers will always be happy to work out this kind of concern with you, in a way that's beneficial to everyone. Karen


How does your daycare handle naps for 14 month old?

December 2002

I would love to hear from others about how your day care handles sleep (in the 12 - 18 month old set)and get advise on 1) how to negotiate with my day center (one teacher in particular)on this issue and 2)things I can do to encourage him to nap on his own in an environment where I have little control. My son clearly still needs 2 naps a day but doesn't get them on any regular basis at day care. I know it is very common for children not to nap well in the exciting environment of a day care center, but I am still hopeful that I can have some sort of impact of how my sons sleep is being handled. It is a wonderful center and my son LOVES going and LOVES the women who care for him. But quite often he is so tired by the end of the day that even when I pick him up at 4:30, he will still fall asleep FOR THE NIGHT in the car on the 12 minute ride home. I should say that I have read Weisbluth on infant/toddler sleep and trust his views on the consequences of lack of or poor quality sleep, though I still respond to some of my sons night wakings and nap wakings. I also read the No Cry Sleep Solution and frankly could not do it her way. I call my way, jokingly the ''some cry solution''. I have never taken the nap issue on with my son at home first because he naps quite well there--though not always and second, because I have control over his naps only two days a week! In day care, there is one teacher who doesn't seem to understand the consequences of nap deprivation and she seems to be in a power struggle with me over my sons naps as well as his affection as, when I come to visit she gets her feelings hurt when he prefers me over her. But that is another posting! She is an amazing care giver but has some outdated views on babies and sleep. I guess because of the track record so far (he's been there since he was 4 months old but only full time for three months) and our dynamics, I don't trust her judgement about when he is sleepy and how timely she responds. I know sometimes with me on the weekends, he doesn't want to take a nap even though he needs too and I have to do certain things to eliminate the opportunities to get excited until he can feel his own tiredness but this doesn't happen at day care. Thank you for your responses! S


Hi. I am an infant/toddler teacher, and have a degree in early childhood development. I would like to say that children that age should sleep on demand, not by a schedule, and for as long as they need. They need this sleep to develop, it is crucial, and they are not ready for schedules.I also think you should be able to spend time with your child when you pick him/her up, not have him/her sleeping the whole night. After all, he/she has not seen you all day.Talk to your childcare provider, express your concerns, and demand better! if not, I would be more than willing to suggest some other day cares that allow children to sleep.Good Luck! jennifer
I read your message with increasing horror. It seems the issue is not actually only about how the day care handles your child's naps (though of course that's important) but rather how your day care understands and cares for your child and how well it works with you to ensure the best for your child.

I have to say I don't think it sounded like a center that is very attuned to your child (of course children resist sleep!), nor does it seeem very willing to work with you towards the best care for your child.

That said, your son may be in transition to one nap and he may soon only need the one nap they give him. I'm more concerned about the process and dynamics at work behind the issue.

I'm sure you hate to think about it but I'd move. I was very horrified by the statement that the day care provider seems ''jealous'' that your son prefers you. A day care provider should not only understand that but ENCOURAGE it. Sabrina


You didn't say what the daycare person prefers for naps, but at 14 months, children can usually be slowly moved into one nap a day. I found this preferable to 2 naps because I didn't have to worry about where I'd be for the 1st or 2nd one and whether they had both. At about 12 or 1pm, my child would be ready for the one nap and that worked better for our nanny as well, since we were sharing with another family. Sharon

Two-Year-old Won't Take Naps at Daycare

2001

My 2.5 year old has always been a good sleeper and napper, though he's always been tougher to get down for a nap than for nighttime sleep. Once he's down, though, he usually naps about 2 hours (or more, if I'd let him) and still gets about 11-12 hours sleep at night. There are certainly days when he gets over-excited and doesn't nap at all, but on the whole, he does, and he's clearly not ready to give them up. He's in day care 3 days and with a sitter for 2, and she has the best success getting him down for the nap, though lately it's taken a bit more time and effort on her part (in general, he's resisting sleep more now that he's a bit older, but is still better at it than most at home!). Anyway, for the last week or so, he's been resisting napping at day care. I gather it's always taken a little extra effort to get him down there, but lately, he's been fighting it all the way and there have been a couple of days where they've simply given up and stopped trying to put him down. He apparently will not lie still or play quietly, either, but is very loud and disruptive, so they've begun putting him in the office during nap time (which is okay with me).

My problem is how to deal with the teachers about this. From the second day he didn't nap, the head teacher asked me what we were going to do about the "napping problem," which, at that point, I hardly thought it was. In fact, since I know my son is definitely not ready to give up naps, and since he still naps at home well, even if he's a bit resistant, I'm thinking the reason this has gone on so long is that it's become a kind of game for him, since he senses or knows how annoyed and frustrated the teachers are. He's 2.5, after all, and delights in nothing so much as testing adults to the limit. Today his teacher told me how disruptive she finds him, implying that this is the first time in her long career that she's encountered this problem, and asking me to come up with a solution for it. She also said that "it's a law" that he has to at least lie quietly (if it is, I would like to see it enforced on a bunch of two-year-olds, who could probably take on an army of govt. bureaucrats!)

I admit that I'm too easily thrown by this woman, whom I find to be overly invested in the children behaving the way she wants them to, but my son has really been thriving in this room, and despite her rather anal and hard approach, he seems quite fond of her, and crazy about the other teachers, so I figure my problems with her are my problems, and I shouldn't pull him out of there. Anyway, I'm concerned that a) her and other teacher's anxiousness about the napping is making his resistance worse and b) that they are expecting me to DO something about it, which I don't see how I can. The head teacher actually suggested that I tell him he will have one less book at night if he doesn't start lying still at nap time. Not only does this seem unfairly punitive, since no matter what she says, not napping is not a crime, but also absurdly ineffective, since two-year-olds' memories are measured in minutes, not the hours between sleep and day care! Something you'd think this teacher would know. So, I'm looking for suggestions I might present to the teachers that will minimize their frustration with him (which I certainly understand, since I feel the same way when he chooses not to nap at home, too, and he is more hyper when he hasn't napped, and therefore more difficult to deal with) and also will cause him the least amount of trauma (when he gets in the car at night he's begun talking a lot about the fact that he's in the office during nap time, and he repeats things the teachers presumably saying to him about his lack of sleeping, and I'm concerned that this is beginning to color his whole day) and help them see that the best way around this problem may be to stop making it one by whatever means works for them. Thanks for any advice.


Not-napping is a pretty common problem in daycare. Some children just don't need to nap; others are anxious, others are overstimluated by the presence of other children. It's pretty impossible to convince a restless two-year-old to lie quietly on a mat for an hour or two. It's also a common problem that the not-napper(s) will get loud and disruptive and make it hard for the other children to sleep. It's all part of the normal challenge of a childcare worker's work.

I believe the law in this situation states that children must have a rest period during the day. This includes everything from sleeping to quiet reading and solitary play.

The dilemma is that the no-nappers often actually do need to sleep. It is difficult in a group setting to help a restless or anxious child settle for a nap. The first thing to consider is rearranging who sleeps where. A restless child can be positioned between two nappers, or in a corner a little away from the other children. Another possible solution is to improvise a space apart from the other children (ideally out of earshot), make it as unstimulating as possible, and try to help the child settle there. A child who really doesn't need to nap might be allowed to look quietly at books or play with soft toys once the other children are asleep.

Teachers can fall into the trap of getting into a power struggle with the child. It certainly is exasperating to have one child wake up a room of sleepers with his/her antics. Perhaps your son's teacher might turn over management of your son to someone else when the situation starts to get to her. Having a regular plan of dividing naptime between two people might make that a routine break for her.

There's not a lot you can do to help the teachers. Certainly, withholding stories is going to be meaningless at his age and might set up some behavior problems later on. You can tell him that you think he's tired at naptime, and you would like him to be rested so he can have fun in the afternoon. Louise


I had the same problem with my son at about that age. He would tell me after school that they made him sit with the "big woman" in the office because he wouldn't lie still at naptime. Bottom line -- in my opinion there is nothing you can do to make a 2 1/2 year old sleep or lie still and quiet if they don't want to, and the more attention he gets for his reluctance to nap, the more fun it is for him. I actually had to switch my son out of the Montessori school he was at over this problem (when he was a little over 3). They just did not have the ability to handle a 3 year old that would not nap.

I switched my son to a school that had an "active room" for kids who didn't want to nap. The teachers would read the kids a book or they would listen to books on tape, and sometimes the kids would fall asleep anyway. I know some kids would nap on some days, and go to the active room if they weren't cooperating at naptime. The vast majority of kids napped anyway. My son was really done with napping by then, and it has been a godsend. I think this approach really takes the pressure off and might cause a child who really does need a nap to sleep when they need to.

I think it is really ridiculous that the teachers are asking you to solve their problem. It sounds like they really just want a break, and expect your son to give it to them. It may be their frustration that is feeding his drive to stay awake! I don't think that this is your responsibility. However, if you did want to try something, you could give him a reward when he does nap or lie still at school, like a sticker or something else he would like. They say positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative -- but this stuff never worked on my spirited guy! Just one point of view! Meri


It sounds like your son and my son were cut from the same mold as far as napping goes. We've pretty much given up on him napping at daycare, though he naps nearly every day for two hours when he's home. Fortunately he wasn't the first one to stop at his facility, and his teachers are much more understanding that your son's sound. I think it sounds like you have the right approach, and that your son's teachers might be making the "problem" worse with overly-reactive responses. He probablydoes think it's a game, and being in the office during naptime might be part of the fun. Perhaps better would be for him to stay in the room on his mat or cot or whatever they use, and be around the other (presumably boring) sleeping children, instead of being moved to an exciting, new, and possibly bustling environment for nap. Sometime I go to my son's school for lunch and naptime, just so I can be sure that he gets a nap. You may not be able to do this, but perhaps you can find a way to put your son to sleep that one of his teachers will be willing to implement at daycare. This way works for me, and the teachers at school who have tried it say it works for them (with my son) as well: I too feel that they is an aspect of fun in avoiding the nap. So when I'm with my son, I settle him onto his cot, talk to him and tell him made up stories, very quietly, while the other children settle down. Once the room gets quiet, I tell him I am not allowed to talk anymore, because those are the rules. It seems to help for him to know that I have rules which I must follow too. Then I make myself comfortable, get out one of my books, and start reading. I usually lean one of my arms onto his cot so he can be up against me if he wants to be. When the teachers do this, they make sure the other kids are settled, and then one of them grabs a magazine and sits with my son until he falls asleep. There is no talking allowed. I think this method works because it sends my son the message that quiet is excepted of everyone. There can't be any discussion about whther or not he will sleep, because there can't be any talking. My son is a big fan of backrubs and lullabies and stories, but while these may be soothing, they don't help him sleep. Boredom does. If I and the teachers act disinterested in his antics, he stops them. We've been doing this long enough that he doesn't act up anymore, or ask for anything he knows he can't have, but this took work, and your son's teachers will have to commit to doing it the same way every day, and to being patient. You may have to use a similar naptime strategy at home, too, just for consistency. By the way, we've made it a rule that on the days when he doesn't nap, he goes to bed at 7. On napping days he stays up until 8 or 8:30. We don't call this to his attention, and it isn't a punishment. But we do make sure to mention often how much nicer he is on the days he has had a nap, and how much fun it is to get to spend more time together on those days. We only talk about this on the days when he has napped, when he isn't feeling so grouchy and weepy. I hope you get this all sorted out, and that you find something that works for you. I think the big thing is to express to your son's teachers that you are very happy to work with them to fix this "problem" as long as they are willing to work with you *and your son* in a way that will actually help. As his parent, you are the arbiter of what will work and what won't; yours is the highest authority, whether they like it or not. Good luck to you! Heather
I agree with your assessment that this teacher is out to lunch. Since it sounds like the rest of the situation works well for you, leaving is not an option. So. What to do? Let me start by offering my condolences, as the mother of another child who pretty much stopped napping at 2 1/2. I feel your pain, and that of the teachers! In our case, she would sometimes nap at school at the hour they wanted, though not often. She would almost never nap at home, unless it was very late in the afternoon, sometimes falling asleep at the dinner hour (you can imagine how well that worked!). The only thing that *I* was ever able to do to mitigate the situation was to make sure that she went to sleep on time (but not early!), and got up at a "reasonable" hour. If she slept late, or went to bed too early the night before (or was allowed to nap more than 1/2 hour after 6 pm), the nap situation was made worse. You are absolutely right that withholding a story for this is punitive and non-functional. (That they suggested it would make me concerned about how they handle non-conformity in general, and any acting out for that matter--I'd be thinking 3rd or 4th thoughts about the school at this point). OTOH, turning that around might work better--an *additional* story to *reward* the desired behavior, rather than losing one to punish "bad behavior." At 2.5 yrs, this might not work yet, but it might be worth a shot. (This worked VERY well when we came to potty training my daughter at age 3 BTW--she still gets an "extra" story everynight when she hasn't had any accidents all day.) In general, carrots work better than sticks, no matter what the age.

Similarly, the appropriate thing to do *at* the daycare is to *reward* his "desired" behavior, and to *ignore* his undesirable behavior, as much as possible. Which means, as they have been doing, isolating him when he is disruptive, and otherwise letting him be. The stuff about it being some regulation that kids have to naps sounds like utter BS to me. I'm sure there's a rule about them *providing time* for the kids to nap. But forcing a nap is, as you said, impossible (I would love to see that confrontation between the 2 year olds and the govt. bureaucrats!). They need to *persuade* him to sit quietly. This may mean sitting with him in the office and quietly reading stories, or providing quiet activities for him, or any of a number of options. At my daughter's last daycare, one girl would sit by her and rub her back, and keep reminding her to be quiet. If she couldn't keep quiet, then she went in the kitchen and played with puzzles or read books. If they could find something that he *really* likes to do, maybe they could "bribe" him with it during the day--"your favorite teacher will sit with you and read you a whole story after you get up from your nap/quiet time." If there was no quiet time then there would be no immediate gratification of the extra story (or game, or whatever makes him happy). Not that they take anything *away* from him, just that he gets something *extra* when he does what they want. Good luck! Dawn


I don't have a problem with my daughter not taking naps at her school in general (she's almost 2.5 yrs.), but there are times when she skips a naps and simply rests, like today (then lucky me, she goes to bed an hour earlier!). But the teacher doesn't care! I also know for a fact that there are several kids there around the same age who DON'T ever nap there. She has no problem with it! It sounds to me like this woman is over-reacting; maybe she's upset that she doesn't get her "break" from the kids. I know how she feels in a way, as I look forward to mine when I'm home with my daughter. but you pay her to look after your child and look out for his best interests, and this might make me question that. Non-napping kids is NOT uncommon.

I think providing your child quiet time is the right approach, but forcing him to sleep is a battle you might want to reconsider. We all pick our battles, and I'm not so sure that's a good one. And the idea of taking away a book at nighttime if he doesn't nap sounds ludicrous, to me anyways.

You say you are happy with some aspects of this woman's care, but yet you listed a lot of negatives. Yes, it is important that your child seems happy there, but you are part of the equation too. I value my relationship with my caregiver, and if it were to go wrong for any reason, or I didn't like her personally, or felt irritated or put out by her, I would personally reconsider the relationship. Even though its a pain in the booty, you might want to step back and reconsider the whole picture. I know that's not the advice you were looking for. Good luck to you.


At the preschool we attended, there were always a percentage of kids - even some of the 2 year old group who resisted napping. They had two places for nap time - a napping room, and a "rester" room. In the rester room the kids had to agree to spend the first half of the time on their mats, listening to music, or looking at a book. The other half of the time was quiet play time - more reading, playing with small manipulatives etc. The teacher sounds a bit too uptight. The school should help her adapt to your kids temperament - not make you feel he has a problem. Some high energy kids often nap well at home 0r when alone, but find school too stimulating to settle down for sleep. Any decent preschool should know this, and not put a "head trip" on the parent. On days your son doesn't nap at school, you can expect he will fall asleep very early - like 6:00 on some days. This transition lasts awhile - sometimes 6 months. Good luck.
Napping in childcare was hard for my child also. I think the problem for her was that it was she couldn't nap easily in a room with so many other kids, and the teacher-child ratio wasn't high enough for someone to rock her (another kid was already getting rocked when she started the program) or to rub her back. They let her run around with the older kids, but that wasn't ideal because the supervision was minimal during that time, and she did need the rest. I ended up giving her a nap when I picked her up in the afternoon, because she was just too cranky if I didn't. At three I moved her to another program where the teachers were much more actively involved in rest time, which usually includes stories, or yoga, or relaxation activities. She still doesn't sleep, but the rest seems very helpful, and on days that she doesn't go, she often needs to have down time from 1-2:30 or so. I suspect your child's teacher is responding to the school's being understaffed and the (legitimate need of the teachers' to eat lunch and rest during the kid's naptime. Is it possible to have your babysitter pick you son up in the afternoons on the days he goes to preschool? Or could you send him to school with something special and quiet that he can only use if he rests during restime? Immediate, positive consequences usually work better with most toddlers, rather than some consequence off three hours in the future. Good luck!
I think it's very possible that your son does not actually need a nap every day, and he's doing his best to tell that to all his caregivers. I suggest that you consider looking for a daycare center which pays more attention to the needs of the individual child! The center my son is at (CEC, Berkeley) has a teacher on duty every day to care for those children (ranging from toddlers through age 5) who don't take a nap, or only need a short one. They have free play outside during nap-time (there's a covered porch for rainy days.) When he's in the office at his daycare center, is anyone there doing anything to actively amuse him? Otherwise he is probably getting very bored there, and no wonder he's being "disruptive".

My son stopped napping on weekend days at age 2-3/4. He still naps at daycare, but after having a 1 1/2 hour nap there in the middle of the day he won't go to sleep at night til 10 pm. Sometimes he does wake up early from nap, then he can play outside. (I may soon ask the daycare center to include him in the "no-nap" group and see how he does.)

Not all children need the same amount of sleep. My son needs about 10-11 hours a day. My mother tells me my sister stopped napping altogether at 1 1/2 yrs old.

In my visits to various daycare centers, I encountered at least one center that insisted that "all 2-3 yr olds" need a 2 hour nap. This made me certain that I could not send my son there, since this policy demonstrated an inflexible attitude enforcing sleep patterns that wouldn't suit my child. Naps suit the teachers, obviously, giving them a nice rest, they may not suit your little boy as well. Kathy


Daycare is upset that 2.5-y-o won't nap

My 2.5 year old has always been a good sleeper and napper, though he's always been tougher to get down for a nap than for nighttime sleep. Once he's down, though, he usually naps about 2 hours (or more, if I'd let him) and still gets about 11-12 hours sleep at night. There are certainly days when he gets over-excited and doesn't nap at all, but on the whole, he does, and he's clearly not ready to give them up. He's in day care 3 days and with a sitter for 2, and she has the best success getting him down for the nap, though lately it's taken a bit more time and effort on her part (in general, he's resisting sleep more now that he's a bit older, but is still better at it than most at home!). Anyway, for the last week or so, he's been resisting napping at day care. I gather it's always taken a little extra effort to get him down there, but lately, he's been fighting it all the way and there have been a couple of days where they've simply given up and stopped trying to put him down. He apparently will not lie still or play quietly, either, but is very loud and disruptive, so they've begun putting him in the office during nap time (which is okay with me).

My problem is how to deal with the teachers about this. From the second day he didn't nap, the head teacher asked me what we were going to do about the "napping problem," which, at that point, I hardly thought it was. In fact, since I know my son is definitely not ready to give up naps, and since he still naps at home well, even if he's a bit resistant, I'm thinking the reason this has gone on so long is that it's become a kind of game for him, since he senses or knows how annoyed and frustrated the teachers are. He's 2.5, after all, and delights in nothing so much as testing adults to the limit. Today his teacher told me how disruptive she finds him, implying that this is the first time in her long career that she's encountered this problem, and asking me to come up with a solution for it. She also said that "it's a law" that he has to at least lie quietly (if it is, I would like to see it enforced on a bunch of two-year-olds, who could probably take on an army of govt. bureaucrats!)

I admit that I'm too easily thrown by this woman, whom I find to be overly invested in the children behaving the way she wants them to, but my son has really been thriving in this room, and despite her rather anal and hard approach, he seems quite fond of her, and crazy about the other teachers, so I figure my problems with her are my problems, and I shouldn't pull him out of there. Anyway, I'm concerned that a) her and other teacher's anxiousness about the napping is making his resistance worse and b) that they are expecting me to DO something about it, which I don't see how I can. The head teacher actually suggested that I tell him he will have one less book at night if he doesn't start lying still at nap time. Not only does this seem unfairly punitive, since no matter what she says, not napping is not a crime, but also absurdly ineffective, since two-year-olds' memories are measured in minutes, not the hours between sleep and day care! Something you'd think this teacher would know. So, I'm looking for suggestions I might present to the teachers that will minimize their frustration with him (which I certainly understand, since I feel the same way when he chooses not to nap at home, too, and he is more hyper when he hasn't napped, and therefore more difficult to deal with) and also will cause him the least amount of trauma (when he gets in the car at night he's begun talking a lot about the fact that he's in the office during nap time, and he repeats things the teachers presumably saying to him about his lack of sleeping, and I'm concerned that this is beginning to color his whole day) and help them see that the best way around this problem may be to stop making it one by whatever means works for them. Thanks for any advice.


Not-napping is a pretty common problem in daycare. Some children just don't need to nap; others are anxious, others are overstimluated by the presence of other children. It's pretty impossible to convince a restless two-year-old to lie quietly on a mat for an hour or two. It's also a common problem that the not-napper(s) will get loud and disruptive and make it hard for the other children to sleep. It's all part of the normal challenge of a childcare worker's work.

I believe the law in this situation states that children must have a rest period during the day. This includes everything from sleeping to quiet reading and solitary play.

The dilemma is that the no-nappers often actually do need to sleep. It is difficult in a group setting to help a restless or anxious child settle for a nap. The first thing to consider is rearranging who sleeps where. A restless child can be positioned between two nappers, or in a corner a little away from the other children. Another possible solution is to improvise a space apart from the other children (ideally out of earshot), make it as unstimulating as possible, and try to help the child settle there. A child who really doesn't need to nap might be allowed to look quietly at books or play with soft toys once the other children are asleep.

Teachers can fall into the trap of getting into a power struggle with the child. It certainly is exasperating to have one child wake up a room of sleepers with his/her antics. Perhaps your son's teacher might turn over management of your son to someone else when the situation starts to get to her. Having a regular plan of dividing naptime between two people might make that a routine break for her.

There's not a lot you can do to help the teachers. Certainly, withholding stories is going to be meaningless at his age and might set up some behavior problems later on. You can tell him that you think he's tired at naptime, and you would like him to be rested so he can have fun in the afternoon.


I had the same problem with my son at about that age. He would tell me after school that they made him sit with the "big woman" in the office because he wouldn't lie still at naptime. Bottom line -- in my opinion there is nothing you can do to make a 2 1/2 year old sleep or lie still and quiet if they don't want to, and the more attention he gets for his reluctance to nap, the more fun it is for him. I actually had to switch my son out of the Montessori school he was at over this problem (when he was a little over 3). They just did not have the ability to handle a 3 year old that would not nap.

I switched my son to a school that had an "active room" for kids who didn't want to nap. The teachers would read the kids a book or they would listen to books on tape, and sometimes the kids would fall asleep anyway. I know some kids would nap on some days, and go to the active room if they weren't cooperating at naptime. The vast majority of kids napped anyway. My son was really done with napping by then, and it has been a godsend. I think this approach really takes the pressure off and might cause a child who really does need a nap to sleep when they need to.

I think it is really ridiculous that the teachers are asking you to solve their problem. It sounds like they really just want a break, and expect your son to give it to them. It may be their frustration that is feeding his drive to stay awake! I don't think that this is your responsibility. However, if you did want to try something, you could give him a reward when he does nap or lie still at school, like a sticker or something else he would like. They say positive reinforcement is much more effective than negative -- but this stuff never worked on my spirited guy! Just one point of view!


It sounds like your son and my son were cut from the same mold as far as napping goes. We've pretty much given up on him napping at daycare, though he naps nearly every day for two hours when he's home. Fortunately he wasn't the first one to stop at his facility, and his teachers are much more understanding that your son's sound. I think it sounds like you have the right approach, and that your son's teachers might be making the "problem" worse with overly-reactive responses. He probably does think it's a game, and being in the office during naptime might be part of the fun. Perhaps better would be for him to stay in the room on his mat or cot or whatever they use, and be around the other (presumably boring) sleeping children, instead of being moved to an exciting, new, and possibly bustling environment for nap. Sometime I go to my son's school for lunch and naptime, just so I can be sure that he gets a nap. You may not be able to do this, but perhaps you can find a way to put your son to sleep that one of his teachers will be willing to implement at daycare. This way works for me, and the teachers at school who have tried it say it works for them (with my son) as well: I too feel that they is an aspect of fun in avoiding the nap. So when I'm with my son, I settle him onto his cot, talk to him and tell him made up stories, very quietly, while the other children settle down. Once the room gets quiet, I tell him I am not allowed to talk anymore, because those are the rules. It seems to help for him to know that I have rules which I must follow too. Then I make myself comfortable, get out one of my books, and start reading. I usually lean one of my arms onto his cot so he can be up against me if he wants to be. When the teachers do this, they make sure the other kids are settled, and then one of them grabs a magazine and sits with my son until he falls asleep. There is no talking allowed. I think this method works because it sends my son the message that quiet is excepted of everyone. There can't be any discussion about whther or not he will sleep, because there can't be any talking. My son is a big fan of backrubs and lullabies and stories, but while these may be soothing, they don't help him sleep. Boredom does. If I and the teachers act disinterested in his antics, he stops them. We've been doing this long enough that he doesn't act up anymore, or ask for anything he knows he can't have, but this took work, and your son's teachers will have to commit to doing it the same way every day, and to being patient. You may have to use a similar naptime strategy at home, too, just for consistency. By the way, we've made it a rule that on the days when he doesn't nap, he goes to bed at 7. On napping days he stays up until 8 or 8:30. We don't call this to his attention, and it isn't a punishment. But we do make sure to mention often how much nicer he is on the days he has had a nap, and how much fun it is to get to spend more time together on those days. We only talk about this on the days when he has napped, when he isn't feeling so grouchy and weepy. I hope you get this all sorted out, and that you find something that works for you. I think the big thing is to express to your son's teachers that you are very happy to work with them to fix this "problem" as long as they are willing to work with you *and your son* in a way that will actually help. As his parent, you are the arbiter of what will work and what won't; yours is the highest authority, whether they like it or not. Good luck to you!
I agree with your assessment that this teacher is out to lunch. Since it sounds like the rest of the situation works well for you, leaving is not an option. So. What to do? Let me start by offering my condolences, as the mother of another child who pretty much stopped napping at 2 1/2. I feel your pain, and that of the teachers! In our case, she would sometimes nap at school at the hour they wanted, though not often. She would almost never nap at home, unless it was very late in the afternoon, sometimes falling asleep at the dinner hour (you can imagine how well that worked!). The only thing that *I* was ever able to do to mitigate the situation was to make sure that she went to sleep on time (but not early!), and got up at a "reasonable" hour. If she slept late, or went to bed too early the night before (or was allowed to nap more than 1/2 hour after 6 pm), the nap situation was made worse. You are absolutely right that withholding a story for this is punitive and non-functional. (That they suggested it would make me concerned about how they handle non-conformity in general, and any acting out for that matter--I'd be thinking 3rd or 4th thoughts about the school at this point). OTOH, turning that around might work better--an *additional* story to *reward* the desired behavior, rather than losing one to punish "bad behavior." At 2.5 yrs, this might not work yet, but it might be worth a shot. (This worked VERY well when we came to potty training my daughter at age 3 BTW--she still gets an "extra" story everynight when she hasn't had any accidents all day.) In general, carrots work better than sticks, no matter what the age.

Similarly, the appropriate thing to do *at* the daycare is to *reward* his "desired" behavior, and to *ignore* his undesirable behavior, as much as possible. Which means, as they have been doing, isolating him when he is disruptive, and otherwise letting him be. The stuff about it being some regulation that kids have to naps sounds like utter BS to me. I'm sure there's a rule about them *providing time* for the kids to nap. But forcing a nap is, as you said, impossible (I would love to see that confrontation between the 2 year olds and the govt. bureaucrats!). They need to *persuade* him to sit quietly. This may mean sitting with him in the office and quietly reading stories, or providing quiet activities for him, or any of a number of options. At my daughter's last daycare, one girl would sit by her and rub her back, and keep reminding her to be quiet. If she couldn't keep quiet, then she went in the kitchen and played with puzzles or read books. If they could find something that he *really* likes to do, maybe they could "bribe" him with it during the day--"your favorite teacher will sit with you and read you a whole story after you get up from your nap/quiet time." If there was no quiet time then there would be no immediate gratification of the extra story (or game, or whatever makes him happy). Not that they take anything *away* from him, just that he gets something *extra* when he does what they want. Good luck!


I don't have a problem with my daughter not taking naps at her school in general (she's almost 2.5 yrs.), but there are times when she skips a naps and simply rests, like today (then lucky me, she goes to bed an hour earlier!). But the teacher doesn't care! I also know for a fact that there are several kids there around the same age who DON'T ever nap there. She has no problem with it! It sounds to me like this woman is over-reacting; maybe she's upset that she doesn't get her "break" from the kids. I know how she feels in a way, as I look forward to mine when I'm home with my daughter. but you pay her to look after your child and look out for his best interests, and this might make me question that. Non-napping kids is NOT uncommon. I think providing your child quiet time is the right approach, but forcing him to sleep is a battle you might want to reconsider. We all pick our battles, and I'm not so sure that's a good one. And the idea of taking away a book at nighttime if he doesn't nap sounds ludicrous, to me anyways.

You say you are happy with some aspects of this woman's care, but yet you listed a lot of negatives. Yes, it is important that your child seems happy there, but you are part of the equation too. I value my relationship with my caregiver, and if it were to go wrong for any reason, or I didn't like her personally, or felt irritated or put out by her, I would personally reconsider the relationship. Even though its a pain in the booty, you might want to step back and reconsider the whole picture. I know that's not the advice you were looking for. Good luck to you.


At the preschool we attended, there were always a percentage of kids - even some of the 2 year old group who resisted napping. They had two places for nap time - a napping room, and a "rester" room. In the rester room the kids had to agree to spend the first half of the time on their mats, listening to music, or looking at a book. The other half of the time was quiet play time - more reading, playing with small manipulatives etc. The teacher sounds a bit too uptight. The school should help her adapt to your kids temperament - not make you feel he has a problem. Some high energy kids often nap well at home 0r when alone, but find school too stimulating to settle down for sleep. Any decent preschool should know this, and not put a "head trip" on the parent. On days your son doesn't nap at school, you can expect he will fall asleep very early - like 6:00 on some days. This transition lasts awhile - sometimes 6 months. Good luck.
Napping in childcare was hard for my child also. I think the problem for her was that it was she couldn't nap easily in a room with so many other kids, and the teacher-child ratio wasn't high enough for someone to rock her (another kid was already getting rocked when she started the program) or to rub her back. They let her run around with the older kids, but that wasn't ideal because the supervision was minimal during that time, and she did need the rest. I ended up giving her a nap when I picked her up in the afternoon, because she was just too cranky if I didn't. At three I moved her to another program where the teachers were much more actively involved in rest time, which usually includes stories, or yoga, or relaxation activities. She still doesn't sleep, but the rest seems very helpful, and on days that she doesn't go, she often needs to have down time from 1-2:30 or so. I suspect your child's teacher is responding to the school's being understaffed and the (legitimate need of the teachers' to eat lunch and rest during the kid's naptime. Is it possible to have your babysitter pick you son up in the afternoons on the days he goes to preschool? Or could you send him to school with something special and quiet that he can only use if he rests during restime? Immediate, positive consequences usually work better with most toddlers, rather than some consequence off three hours in the future. Good luck!
I think it's very possible that your son does not actually need a nap every day, and he's doing his best to tell that to all his caregivers. I suggest that you consider looking for a daycare center which pays more attention to the needs of the individual child! The center my son is at (CEC, Berkeley) has a teacher on duty every day to care for those children (ranging from toddlers through age 5) who don't take a nap, or only need a short one. They have free play outside during nap-time (there's a covered porch for rainy days.) When he's in the office at his daycare center, is anyone there doing anything to actively amuse him? Otherwise he is probably getting very bored there, and no wonder he's being "disruptive".

My son stopped napping on weekend days at age 2-3/4. He still naps at daycare, but after having a 1 1/2 hour nap there in the middle of the day he won't go to sleep at night til 10 pm. Sometimes he does wake up early from nap, then he can play outside. (I may soon ask the daycare center to include him in the "no-nap" group and see how he does.)

Not all children need the same amount of sleep. My son needs about 10-11 hours a day. My mother tells me my sister stopped napping altogether at 1 1/2 yrs old.

In my visits to various daycare centers, I encountered at least one center that insisted that "all 2-3 yr olds" need a 2 hour nap. This made me certain that I could not send my son there, since this policy demonstrated an inflexible attitude enforcing sleep patterns that wouldn't suit my child. Naps suit the teachers, obviously, giving them a nice rest, they may not suit your little boy as well.


Preschool's naptime is too early for 3-year-old

Feb 2008

My 3 year old son has been at his preschool 5 days (9:00am - 5:30pm) for 6 months. Everything is going well except his naps. He almost never naps there. I think it's because the class naps at 12:30 which is too early for him.

He used to be at a home based daycare before preschool and he would nap from about 2:00 - 5:00. He napped everyday without fail. He naps at home every weekend.

I've spoken to other parents in his class and there are at least 2 other children (out of 10) that do not nap at preschool. One child's father said that naps are hit or miss at home so they don't know if it has to do with preschool's nap time. However when she does nap at home, it is much later (starts between 2:00 - 3:00).

I asked the preschool director about this and she won't budge on delaying the nap time even 30 mins. She didn't have any advice for me either. She said this is a schedule that has worked for a long time.

I'm now thinking that I should have him there for just the morning find a nanny/sitter to pick him up for the afternoon so he can nap at home.

Is there any other option that I'm not considering? Should I ask the director again? Any other ideas? I can really use some help. working mom


Is he cranky without the nap? If not, then it's probably not a big deal. Does he make it up in nighttime sleep or going to bed earlier? There are many toddlers I know that don't nap. anon
Try Skyline Preschool in Oakland? Their naptime is 2-330, which can be a little annoying for some parents whose kids then don't want to go to sleep if they're sleeping that late. Sounds perfect for you!
We had a similar problem. I wonder if there is any way that you can adapt your home schedule to match the school's schedule? The preschool we had decided upon had naps an hour later than our kids were accustomed to taking them. We had about 3 months notice that the kids were going to go there (off wait list) so we slowly moved their nap time. Now, my kids had very set, immovable schedules, it seemed. Daylight savings nearly killed us. Plus, I needed them up at a certain time, and I wanted them to bed at a certain time. I thought that moving naps would destroy the lovely schedule I was accustomed to and that worked well for our family. But, I used techniques like waking them up early from naps, and playing with their bedtimes (still within what I was willing to do), and eventually they did it so now they are in sync with the school. They still take much LONGER naps at home on the weekends than they do at school, usually. But, it has resulted in much more pleasant evenings at my home--no cranky kids b/c no naps at school. It made the transition to school very easy too--they napped their first day! But, remember that it takes several days to re-set your kid's clock, so don't get frustrated if they don't snap to it. gotta do the preschool's schedule--or find a new preschool with your schedule!

3 year old has to lie there for 2 hours doing nothing

Dec 2007

Our 3-yr old son goes to a wonderful preschool and he is very happy there. I usually drop him off around 9:30 am and pick up around 3:00 pm (3 days/week). The school has a policy that all children need to either nap or lie down from 12:30 - 2:30 pm. Our son stopped napping when he turned 2, so I wasn't sure how that was going to work for him. I had a few friends who told me that kids usually start napping again after an exciting morning in preschool and when they see their peers sleeping around them.

He's been at the school for 5 months now and he has napped twice. This means that pretty much every day he lies there for 2 hours on a little mat doing nothing. I have asked him directly and indirectly if it bothers him, but he says that he's fine with it. It bugs me, though.

I'd like to know other BPNers' point of view and/or experience with this. Should I let it go? I have looked for a school that doesn't enforce naps, but in our area (Napa/Vallejo) I have been unable to find such a school. They either have half days only or a full day and the full days all include a similar nap time period. JOJ


My then-3yr-old son and I were in the exact same predicament-- wonderful preschool with wonderful teachers and a 2-hour naptime during which he did not sleep. OR he would fall asleep just from boredom and then wouldn't sleep till close to midnight at home. I had a lot of angst about what to do, esp. since I could not find another preschool whose quality matched up to the current one, which he and I loved. My son always behaved well during naptimes, which would lead any casual observer to think he was dealing with it fine. The two reasons I decided to move him to a different preschool were that he let me know clearly that he's unhappy with the naptime situation (although he loved everything else about the school), and b/c of his occasional (unnecessary) naps there, his nighttime schedule was erratic, driving me crazy. Two hours is a long time to ask any preschooler to lie still awake. Yes, it was an adjustment to the new school, but now at 4, he's doing so well and is happy at his new school. He's very happy with the rest time at his new preschool, which allows him to play for 1 hour and has him rest for 30min. As your son moves onto 4, it's really the social interactions with the other kids that will become important. I realized that the most important thing about preschool is a safe, well-supervised environment that nurtures positive social interactions with peer. In my son's case, I know I made the right decision although it was a tough decision. Kim
Hi, I'm also the mom of a three year old who hasn't napped since he's been two. He goes to a full-day preschool several days a week that has a long nap time, but they recognize that many children won't sleep during that time. Their solution is to offer several quiet activites like reading or listening quietly to books on tape (I think the kids have to be sitting or lying down). This ensures that even the non-nappers wind down and relax during this time and don't disrupt the kids who are sleeping. Might your preschool consider this? It's hard to believe that they manage to enforce two hours of staring at the ceiling on all the kids who no longer nap. Mine doesn't nap either
For more than a year now, my daughter has been attending a preschool that also has a two-hour nap time. I knew going in that she'd never sleep during that time. And I knew that laying down staring at the ceiling for two hours was going to be torture for her (I remember it being that way for me too when I was in preschool and kindergarten). But I also believe that kids need their own downtime, regardless of whether they nap. When my daughter stopped napping at home, nap time turned into quiet time, where she goes into her room for about two hours and reads and plays quietly on her own. She has come to enjoy this time very much (as have I!!!). Now this is a far cry from nap time at school, which is one of the reasons she has such a problem with it. I too was annoyed at first with the severity of laying on little mats with nothing to do for two hours. I figured the least the teachers could do was give her some books to look at, especially when she started becoming disruptive. But I just let it go, as did my daughter eventually. The teachers also came around when they realized she was never going to nap, and she is allowed to look at books or finish any projects that she started earlier in the day. So I guess my answer to you is to also let it go. And be happy that your kid is okay with his preschool's nap time and is not causing any trouble (as mind did). And FYI, when I asked about the nap time requirement at my preschool, I was told it was some sort of universal preschool mandate. I never did any research to check it out though. jo
I went through this problem with my son, now 3 1/2. I completely understand your concerns, but I think it's great that he seems happy. My son was miserable because of the enforced period of staying on his mat. The school was unable to offer any alternative, so I did end up switching to another preschool, where he currently attends 5 mornings, instead of 3 days. If your schedule is flexible, you may want to consider something like this. I am thrilled with the change - he's much happier, learning more, etc. Many schools in our area seem to require that children lay down for a while (30 min or so), but let those who do not sleep move into a different room after this. Also, some offer a 9 - 2:30 schedule with no nap. These are typically just preschools, not daycare facilities. Many 3 year olds stop napping, so I'm sure other parents share your concerns (even if the school denies this). Since you're otherwise happy with the school, perhaps if you got together with some of the other parents, you could convince the school to offer another space for the non-nappers. My advice is to go with your gut feeling. I'm sure you won't regret it. Sharon

3 1/2 year old doesn't nap anymore but preschool requires it

Oct 2007

Our 3 1/2 year old son began preschool this year. There are many great things about the school, but one big problem we're having is that he doesn't nap (and hasn't for more than a year). During naptime, he's expected to stay in the room with the sleeping kiddos and stay quiet for an hour and a half while the others sleep. Needless to say, this hasn't gone very well. Daily, the teachers report that he has disciplined because of his lack of sleep/inability to keep quiet. Am I being ridiculous to think that this is a rather unfair situation for everyone? Anyone willing to share how their kids' preschools handle naptime? Thanks! Frustrated (and tired) mama


Each preschool has a different way of handling their non-nappers. In my school, for example, we have two options: in one room, children actually sleep or try to sleep. In another room, children have an hour of quieter, indoor play, but do not need to even attempt to sleep. In other schools, however, all children MUST lay down and be quiet for an hour or two. I have worked in many places like this. Often, this is partly a space issue (there are not two separate spaces for children) or a staffing issue (preschool teachers really do need lunch and rest breaks, and this often happens during nap times). At such places, it is possible that the staff would consider letting your child look at a book or play with quiet toys at that time. It is also possible that they will feel this is too distracting or disturbing for other children who really do need to sleep. Certainly, try to talk about this issue with the teachers. It's really best for you to approach them from a positive perspective: ''What can we do together to help Johnny at nap time? He doesn't nap at home anymore.'' However, ultimately you may have to choose: if you otherwise love the school, then you will have to help your child to cooperate with their nap policy; if the nap policy is making your child and therefore you miserable, perhaps it's time to move on. Preschool Teacher
Damn the state nap requirement! We too are struggling with our previously non-napping 3.5 year old. Her preschool handles naptime pretty much the same way as your son's, although her teacher is very willing to work with us and with her (we have the added ''bonus'' of her sometimes falling asleep for the entire naptime and then not going to sleep at night until 10 or 11pm). Sometimes she has to be moved to another room, sometimes she does great, sometimes she falls asleep and they wake her up early. Her teacher and I talk about the sleep thing almost daily - seems if one of us has a good sleep day, the other has a terrible sleep day. Blame it on the state
My reading of the state requirements on napping is that the preschool must have mats for all children under 5 and make naptime *available*, but there is no requirement that says the children must take naps or must stay in the nap area. I've had three children in two different preschools, and I have never heard of requiring *all* the children to either take a nap or be quiet for and hour and a half. My experience was that most of the children no longer took naps. Mats and a quiet space were available to the children who needed or wanted naps. All the other kids (the majority of 3 and 4 year olds) did normal preschool activities during that time. I wonder if your preschool doesn't have the space to provide naptime for some and playtime for others?
If it were me, I would change preschools. I would feel really bad about my 3 year old being expected to be quiet for such a long time, and then disciplined for not doing it. Even I, a grown-up, wouldn't be able to do that!

Preschool requires naps every day, 3-y-o doesn't

Dec 2006

My son, who will be 3 in February goes to a full-day preschool 2x per week. In general, I am quite happy with the school and teachers, but napping is becoming an issue for us. He typically skips naps every other day or so at home, but the school requires naps. If kids don't nap, they are expected to occupy themselves quietly, in a fairly dark room (next to the nappers). My son is often miserable during this 2 hour period, and I think it is making him dislike school. It seems a bit much to me to expect a 2 1/2 year old to sit quietly for 2 hours. Is this normal? I had planned to send him for 3 days/ week starting in January, but I'm getting nervous. The school seems to think that this will help him deal better with nap-time. I wouldn't be surprised if he stops napping completely fairly soon. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks! Sharon


Our daughter started going to preschool when she was 3 and I specifically chose a preschool that did not have nap time, because she had already stopped napping. Her current school's position on napping is that most 3-yr olds don't need it and that it is a cheap way of ''entertaining'' them for a couple of hours. If they don't need a nap, they shouldn't take one.

Change schools! Don't make him be miserable. Since he is still in the inbetween stage of napping sometimes, you can find a school that doesn't force the children to nap or have quiet time and you can give him his nap when he is home JOJ


California State Law governing licensed preschools and daycares says that programs lasting six hours or longer per day (including full day kindergarten), must have a nap or rest period for children age 5 and younger. -- good info to know

3-year-old not napping at preschool - she needs it

Feb 2004

I need some advice on how to help my three-year old daughter nap at her preschool. She used to go to a half-day preschool and took a two hour nap when I brought her home, and still needs that nap. Since January, she has been going to a preschool until 3. The nappers are placed in a dark, reasonably quiet room from approx. 12:30 until 2. My daughter and the teachers have told me that she naps, but her evening behavior suggests the opposite. What to do? Karen


try putting her to bed earlier anon
The first thing to do is talk to the daycare provider about your concerns. Chances are you don't need to do anything, because your son will develop new habits tied to the new routines at daycare, and your caregiver should be able to reassure you that she has dealt with many children just like your son and can help them learn a new naptime routine with no trauma. (In fact, I'd be very leery of any caregiver who asked me as a parent to change *my* habits in order to make *her* job easier!)

We had some of the same concerns when our son entered preschool, since he'd had no consistent nap routine at that point and his nanny usually got him to sleep by going for a long walk with the stroller, which obviously the preschool teachers, as caring and attentive and willing to hold or cuddle the kids as they are, could not do. But the preschool *does* have a very structured daily routine and the kids all seem to adapt to it very quickly. Our son had no trouble whatsoever with it and now naps more consistently and more easily at school than he ever has or does at home. Based on what my parent friends tell me, this is entirely typical. Holly


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