Ask Hello. Nappers and Quiet Keepers: Preschool Rest Time
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NAEYC’s HELLO online forum is a great place to have conversations and create connections with peers around important early learning issues.
In a recent Hello discussion, a director sought advice on nap time practices.
I have been researching the value of nap/rest time for preschool-age children. Preschool programs typically have 30-minute to 2-hour rest periods. I would like to pick other educators’ brains about practices for preschoolers’ rest time.
—Betty, Kansas City, Missouri
Responses focused on ways to create a peaceful nap time environment and ideas for activities for children who don’t sleep. Here are excerpts from the feedback Betty received.
This teacher describes how she creates a relaxing environment by adjusting the lights and playing calming music. She offers quiet alternative activities for children who don’t sleep or don’t sleep for a long time.
Our kids, ages 3–5 years, rest on mats, with the lights dimmed, between 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. The younger children listen to quiet, restful music (try yoga channels on YouTube or Pandora). The older children start with an online story (listening only, no screen watching), then move to calming music. After 45 minutes, they can have their “quiet keeper” boxes—shoe boxes with quiet activities they can do on their mats. They are quietly and happily occupied until the lights go on.
—Abigail, Sharon, Massachusetts
This member describes how she talks with children about the importance of resting and gives another example of options for children who don’t sleep.
I believe rest time is very important for young children. (I don’t call it nap time because some children do not sleep.) Some children don’t get enough sleep at home, so having the opportunity to rest at school is helpful and healthy. I tell the children they are resting their bodies and resting their minds. The length of time depends on the children’s ages. I have taught in a classroom where the children were ages 3–5. Since the length of time scheduled for rest was the same for all, we had books and quiet toys (like puzzles) available for those who didn’t sleep or who woke up early. My only requirement was that the children respect those who were asleep by being quiet. So they understood that this was not a time to talk and play.
—Tawanna, Raleigh, North Carolina
Do you have questions or suggestions to share with your peers?
Are you simply interested in reading different takes from early childhood educators around the country? Tap into the vibrant discussions on Hello at hello.NAEYC.org/welcomehello.
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Vol. 11, No. 5