As parents we spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about our child’s sleep. The early days of parenthood involve trying to get a squirming newborn to sleep. Then there is the transition to just one nap in the middle of the day.
Then there comes the point where you know that if they sleep past a certain time they won’t go to bed that night. And finally there is the battle when your little one decides they do not need to have a nap anymore, thank you very much. For reasons unknown, this often seems to happen at the same time that a new baby joins the family.
At this point parents are in a bit of a pickle. Often it’s clear that the child does still need to have a rest in the middle of the day, because otherwise they’re falling asleep at the dinner table into their spaghetti and meatballs. But the pain of getting them to sleep when they don’t want to is very real.
This is where your child care educators can be invaluable. Toddle spoke to the centre manager from Niño Early Learning Adventures Malvern East in Melbourne, to find out how an educator can actually help a parent who is going through this sleep transition.
What age do you commonly see children giving up their daytime nap?
Generally we see children give up their daytime nap around 2 ½ years old, with some children either giving this up later or earlier - as every child is different.
How do you know when a child still needs that daytime nap?
We find that if the child is still showing their tired signs around that sleep period then they probably need that sleep during the day. These signs could be anything from tiredness, getting a little bit upset, or for some children they are overtired and find it hard to settle into a quieter period as they still need that sleep.
What do you do with a child that is no longer napping but still needs to rest?
We offer our children a quiet space where they can lie down and do meditation with an educator, or they can do a quiet experience such as a puzzle once they have had this initial rest. It is so important for children to have that downtime for themselves, to refresh their brain ready for the next part of their day.
Is it OK for a child to nap on some days and not others?
It is. Some days children may not have had the best night's sleep and then need to sleep during the day, while on other days they do not need it. We look at what the child needs to ensure that their needs are being met first and providing them with that space to rest/sleep if they need to. Most of the time children will become able to tell you if they need to sleep.
Why do you think some parents may not want their child to nap at child care anymore?
Some children are not tired at bedtime and that night time routine becomes a struggle. Once that night time routine gets back on track then the child may go back to needing a day time nap or rest.
However, the majority of the time parents not wanting their child to nap at child care is due to the night time routine becoming a struggle and children not getting down to sleep until after 10pm, which is not ideal for anyone.
Any other insights for parents on the topic of naps?
With daytime naps it is always important to follow the child’s cues and provide them with what they need. Some days a child’s brain is more active than others and they need that time to rest and recharge. Giving children that time and space to even have some quiet time is so important for their development.
You can read more about Niño Early Learning Adventures Malvern East here, or start looking for child care in your area by entering your postcode in the search box at the top of the page.
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