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Home Daycare

Home Daycare: How To Get Five Kids To Take A Two Hour Nap … In The Same Room

SleepInPost

As a daycare provider, you *might* be lucky enough to have space in your home for all of the kids to take a nap in a separate area.  But if you’re like most, you just don’t.  Chances are, you’ll have one or two areas that are safe and accessible for kids to sleep in.  And chances are, they’ll all be napping at the same time.

Here’s how to get all of your daycare kids to sleep at the same time:

  1. Make naptime a consistent part of your routine.  Use whatever time works for you and your schedule, but make it the same time every day.  Make sure it’s the same length of time everyday.   I suggest 2 hours for babies and toddlers.
  2. Change diapers and have a toilet time before starting naptime.
  3. Give each child their own dedicated space to sleep.  Whether it’s their own playpen or cot, give them a physical space to call their own.
  4. Provide a warm blanket and pillow for each child (or have them bring their own from home).  The coziness factor is huge when it comes to keeping kidlets quiet.
  5. Close the blinds and turn off the lights.  Make it as dark as possible.  The decrease in light will naturally help their bodies to quiet down.
  6. Play the same soft music everyday for the duration of naptime.  This helps muffle any unexpected doorbell chimes or other sounds that would otherwise shatter the silence.  And, it becomes an audio cue to the children’s brains that it’s time to slow down and rest.
  7. Provide picture books for the kids that you know won’t sleep.  Make a rule that they can look at the books, but they need to lay down and stay on their own cot.
  8. Tuck everyone in with a hug or kiss and a “Night-Night”, or a similar routine that will signal the beginning of naptime for them.  Put down any playpen nappers first, and then work on the cot nappers.  After this point, make sure they stay on their cot (unless they have to use the bathroom) until naptime is officially over.
  9. Sit beside the children that have trouble falling asleep, starting with the most likely to fall asleep and ending with the least likely.  If one child has a hard time staying on his or her cot while waiting their turn, sit them in your lap while you sit with the others.  Rub their backs, stroke their hair or forehead until they’re asleep or at least quieted enough to fall asleep on their own.
  10. If anyone gets up off their cot, gently lead them back to it and lay them down, reminding them that it’s sleep time.  Rub their back or feet if needed.
  11. Signal the end of naptime by turning off the music, opening the blinds and turning on the lights.  You may have a wake-up song too.  This helps with getting the kiddos in sync with the routine.  They’ll very quickly start to get the idea of the routine and flow of naptime, and they’ll have a much easier time settling when they know there’s a definite end.
  12. Change diapers and have a toilet time, or have snack time, or some other activity in your schedule that gets the kids up and moving.  For the ones that have trouble sleeping, this will give them something to look forward to.
  13. Don’t allow the kids to sleep longer than your scheduled naptime.  Giving them a specific length of time helps their little bodies regulate and sleep more deeply and restfully.  It also makes it easier on parents at night in keeping a consistent bedtime.

Consistency and routine are the most important factors in helping multiple children sleep in the same room.  After about a couple of weeks, the children will know what to expect and when to expect it.  You’ll find that most children will enjoy the time to sleep, or for the older ones, even just to rest and have a quiet time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!  What do you struggle most with in getting children to sleep, either in your home daycare or with your own children?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!

24 Comments

  1. Giannina Guy

    I really can not imagine trying to get that many toddlers to sleep at the same time, hats off to you!!

  2. Alli

    I bet you have the best daycare ever! All of these tips on naps are great. I always found that having a schedule and sticking to it as much as possible made things so much easier when my kids were growing up.
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  3. Jenn @ EngineerMommy

    These are great tips to encourage multiple kids to nap simultaneously. When I pick up my daughter from preschool, I often see the teachers sitting on the floor next to the kids who seem to be having trouble falling asleep.
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  4. Heather @ Kraus House Mom

    My kids are 10, 9, and 7. When my husband stayed home with them he could get all three to take a nap at the same time. He was like a toddler whisperer.
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  5. Jane

    I am one of the lucky ones with space for three babies/toddlers to sleep in separate rooms. Older children do sleep all in one room. I follow much of what you suggested so know these strategies work. To cut down on distractions and noise that might wake them I made a sign that I hang on my porch next to my door bell when it is nap time. It says “Children napping. Please do not ring door bell.” I include my cell phone number and ask the visitor to text me to let me know they are at the door. One of the cribs is in a room where there is a phone so I unplug that phone so that any phone calls will not disturb this child. I also run fans in all the bedrooms so that also helps cut down on noise. Your idea of playing the same music every day is a great one but I don’t have a way to do that in all bedrooms so I do fans.

  6. Heather

    I did it! Parents were always amazed that the kids slept so long and didn’g give me problems at nap time. They just did what they were supposed to. The babies were the hardest, but they get used to the routine as long as you stick to.
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  7. Boonie

    Tabbing your post for future use! Nap time is so essential for little bodies and brains. It’s amazing that you’re able to do this, and yes, being consistent is very important. Little ones need structure, and it’s up to us to model it early on. It’s difficult in the beginning, but it is so worth it when you see the little ones telling you what happens next in the day 🙂

  8. Miranda (Myrabev)

    I do not have kids yet and never worked in daycare before but kuddos to you for having such a wonderful routine. It’s hard enough to get one kid to sleep but many, wow.
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  9. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great tips for a home daycare provider to get all the kids to lay down for naps. It truly is so important to keep the same consistency and routine each day. Have designated spots for each child is also important.

  10. Mary Edwards

    Getting 5 kids to sleep at the same time and in the same room sounds terrifying! These are great tips to make it so much easier.
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  11. Nickida

    These are great tips for regular parents like me who have four children and sometimes nap at the same time. These tips are great for creating bedtime routines.

  12. Rebecca

    My friends and I used to always ‘fake’ sleep during nap time–or at least that was our plan. I was usually the only one that stayed awake…and was bored while every one was taking their nap!

    Great tips!
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  13. Franc Ramon

    I think it would great for kids to follow a sleep routine. It would be easier for them to sleep and would also enable them to have a better schedule for the day.
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  14. Stephanie of The TipToe Fairy

    I’ve learned with 3 kids that consistency is always the key. Kids definitely thrive on routine.
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  15. Jaime Nicole

    I can’t even IMAGINE trying to get a large group of kids to go to sleep at the same time. You have some great tips!
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  16. lisa @bitesforbabies

    This is something I just don’t understand, lol! I’m a teacher so I find it unbelievable (but impressive!) that day care workers make this happen 😉
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  17. dawn

    oh wow. awesome tips. I know my old daycare teacher would have loved this list. i remember she used to have a tough time with us. I know that was years ago but i remember it all to well. lol

  18. Tiffany @ Daily Leisure

    Wow! This is amazing. I couldn’t get two kids to take a nap in their beds. Ever! I want to do a home daycare, but I feel like my home is not big enough for all those kids. I love children at that age, and had mine home until Kindergarten. I miss all the fun projects and learning experiences!
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  19. Maureen

    While I don’t run a daycare I sometimes babysit my niece and nephew so these tips are awesome 😀 Thank you for sharing!
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  20. Sue

    We nap all in the same room at my house too! I put the younger ones down at 1pm then the older children down at 1:30pm. We usually nap until 3:30pm, I use white noise and they all sleep pretty much 90% of the time. There are days when one disturbs the whole bunch and it’s a huge playpen party but those days are far and few between. It helps to stick to a routine of getting enough outside play and fresh air to guarantee good naps!

  21. lisa

    I have a hard enough time getting my own kids to sleep! I can’t imagine trying to get 5 kids to nap in the same room. I give home day care providers so much credit.
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  22. Amanda

    Yes. Yes!

    I get my kids (and daycare kids) to sleep all at the same time, in the same room by doing most of these things too!

    My routine: Lots of outside fun, then lunch, coloring or playdoh (so I can clean dishes and they settle down), then potty breaks, Naptime…. from 2pm tip 4:30pm (cause it takes 15-20minutes for everyone to fall into deep sleep + 2hrs of actual nap time)…..

    I also play this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/hvOHISBckw8

    It’s an 8-hr long meditation/soft music….thing. I tell new kids, “okay we are going to lay down now and we will get up when the music stops…” No need to tell them it’s an 8hr video. 😉

    Thanks for the tips!
    PS LOVE THE BLOG/Vlog!

  23. Nichole Collins

    Thank you for such a great post, I am in my first year of daycare and learning as I go. I love the tips and use most of them now, but I’m thinking about adding the book part for my older ones. The main culprit of not settling down is my own 2 year old, but I’ve heard from other providers their own kids are always the hardest. I also did not have a set wake-up time, but I think i’ll add this in. Right before I do my music, I also read a chapter book and some will fall asleep before our chapter is over, and helps with a love of reading, so that’s cool too!

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