The question of naps is going to come up whenever you’re interviewing a new family. Chances are, at least one parent will ask if you require children to take naps, and if you’ll bend that rule for them. But naptime is so important for young children. Here’s why I believe that a consistent naptime should not be open to discussion, either with your daycare parents, or with your daycare children.
Kids Get Tired
Many of your daycare children have risen at 6:00 or 7:00 am, and many won’t get home until at least 12 hours later. That makes for a long day. For children, going to daycare or school is much like going to work. Knowing how a 12 hour shift tires you out, just think of how a little one feels at the end of the day without a break. And chances are, you’ve had the daycare children playing outside, walking to the playground or the bus stop, doing crafts and sensory activities, and learning lots! They’ve been busy, and they need the time to rest.
Tired Kids Get Cranky
Children in need of sleep are far more likely to have meltdowns, be irritable, be aggressive with others, and have trouble controlling their behaviour. And this will continue for the rest of the day. Parents will be more likely to have a difficult time during pick up, through supper and bedtime, so it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a consistent naptime as part of your day.
Kids Need A Break From Each Other
Your daycare children probably spend 8-12 hours together each day, doing everything together. In most families, not even siblings spend that much time together. They need a break from one another, especially when chances are that some of them are introverts by nature. Interacting with others drains their energy, and they often feel like they need to be “on” the entire time. Giving them a chance to relax and sleep, or even just look at a book by themselves for an hour or two, allows them the time to recharge their “social batteries” for a second round.
YOU Need A Break
As a daycare provider, you’re on the job non-stop. There’s no one else to watch the kids while you run to the bathroom, respond to an email from a parent, clean up the lunch dishes, or do any number of other things that are most easily done without the children underfoot. And with an 8-12 hour day that doesn’t include coffee breaks, you need the time to simply decompress. Making sure that naptime is non-negotiable allows you the time to do those things, or even just to sit down for a few minutes.
Even if they don’t actually sleep, giving your daycare children a set time period to lay down, zone out, or look at a book, will make all the difference in how the rest of the day goes. They’ll be rested, and you will have had a chance to regroup before tackling the rest of the day!
Do you think naptime should be non-negotiable? Why or why not?