Ah, I can still remember nap time fondly.  We’d be given our cookie and juice, then handed our blanket.  We’d be led off to the nice little cots laid out in rows, and then, goodies eaten, we’d drift off a quiet slumber.
And no doubt my daycare teachers remember it fondly as well.  They’d get us lined up and hope we wouldn’t fight over our cookies or spill our juice everywhere.  Being led kicking and screaming to our cots one-by-one must have been difficult, and chasing after all those who didn’t want to sleep was probably pretty tough.  But the hour or two of peace and quiet they’d get was well worth it.
You see, daycare kids need to take naps just like kids everywhere.  When that magical time after lunch rolls around, you know, the time when stretching appears and yawns take over, then you know a nap can’t be far around the corner.

My Kid Hates to Take a Nap!

The main problem is that very few young children like to take their naps.  Do you know any that go along willingly to nap time?  They’re far and in between.  So how can you make your child actually take a nap?  Here are a few pointers:

  1. Have a nap time that you stick to;
  2. Follow a set routine before lying down;
  3. Read a book;
  4. Play some soft background music;
  5. Have special nap clothes;
  6. Don’t get frustrated.

That last one’s probably the most important.  Young children will often wake up after dozing off or get fussy just before they’re about to fall asleep.  You’ll find yourself repeating the same nap routine over and over again.
This is going to happen, and you have to be calm and realize it’s going to happen.  Getting frustrated will only make your child not want to take a nap more.  There are plenty of great resources out there on ways to get your child to sleep, just check out some of the great links at the end of this article.

Benefits of Napping in Daycare Children

Daycare children really get a lot of benefits from naps, as do people of just about any age.  Sleeping is really good for the mind and body, but it’s especially beneficial to the young and growing minds of daycare-aged kids.  Here are a few reasons why:
Memory:  Studies on napping have shown that children can remember more vocabulary words after a nap than if they’d gone without a nap.  Sleeping allows our brains to shut down quite a bit and rest, but it also allows us to process all that information we’ve run across during the day.  This is especially important in young daycare-aged children whose brains are still forming and being bombarded by information each minute.  They need that nap to get things sorted out a bit before starting the process all over again.
Mood:  Any parent of a young child can tell you what happens if their child doesn’t have a nap.  Their mood significantly worsens as the day progresses and they get moody, irritable, won’t do what you say, won’t eat their food, and generally give you a headache.  You know they need a nap but they don’t want one.  It’s a constant battle.  But look how much that mood improves following a nap.  Children are their happy selves again, showing the beneficial effects that napping has on our mood.
Mommy:  Now, to be fair, this could be called Daddy as well.  What it means is that when your child takes a nap you get a huge break, and a nice rest yourself.  All those little things you’ve been putting off all day can get done, you can finally eat, and everything will be quiet!  It’s a great feeling, and makes that battle before the nap well worth it.  Remember, if Mommy’s not happy all the time then your baby or daycare-aged child won’t be either.  Naps benefit everyone and should be engaged in regularly.
There are many great resources out there on napping and young children.  If you want to learn more about how a nap can help your daycare child, then check out these great links: