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Home Daycare

Home Daycare How-To: Why Naptime is Non-Negotiable

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?

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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!


  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    While I agree that naps are important, not every child is made the same way, so they dont all need tehm. My boys both stopped taking naps at about 2.5, so when the preschool that I sent them to told me they required a TWO HOUR nap in the afternoon, I only sent them in for half days versus whole days. They told me the kids could just lay there if they can’t sleep. I wasn’t about to pay for my kids to lay in the dark for 2 hours.

    • Megan Elford

      That’s a great compromise. I had a few daycare children that also grew out of their naps and they would read/look at books or play quietly with small toys on their cots.

  2. Jaime Nicole

    I think that it’s really easy to overlook your point that kids need a break from each other too. It’s amazing how much a nap can improve everyone’s disposition and patience!
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  3. Angelic Sinova

    I’m 23 and I still like a good nap every once in a while! In fact, when I was in college, napping between a 3 hour break in classes was vital to regain my energy <3
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  4. Joann

    Some down time does every person some good…. kids are so busy with going from one thing to another through out the day. Naps are good and kids are so much happier when they have good rest periods. This is a great list!
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  5. Dogvills

    I agree with Robin. My twins stopped taking naps when they turned three. They sleep longer at night, though.
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  6. Kath Rivera

    Nap is important but my son is so energetic and he seldom go to nap in the afternoon. But they need also to take a break and lay down to recharged their energy.

  7. Joanne T Ferguson

    I think it is always good to have children in some sort of a routine! Even if it is a rest, this way it re-energies their batteries too! A cranky children makes for a cranky time for all!

  8. Franc Ramon

    Funny, when we are kids we hate nap time and when we are adults, we crave them. Nap can really power up kids high-energy demand for their lifestyle.
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  9. Tyra

    I totally agree with these points – kids just get so cranky when they don’t have adequate rest. And unlike us, they use up their energy quickly!

  10. Michelle

    I totally agree that everyone can use some rest or down time whether they are sleeping or not. I was a teacher for many years and there were too many responsibilities I needed to get done without distractions.
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  11. HilLesha

    I have noticed my toddler behaves better when she gets a nap in the afternoon. Then, there are days she refuses to take one even though she’s clearly showing signs of being tired. 🙂
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  12. Life as a Convert

    Yes to all of these.. especially the last one! I wish my kids would still nap now, but they are older.
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  13. Rosey

    All great points. Naptime is good for kids and it gives adults a minute to refresh while they’re napping too.

  14. CourtneyLynne

    Ughhh I wish my daughter would take a nap!!!! She use to take 3hr naps and I use to be able to get so much done… And she would wake up all happy… Now she refuses and Ughhh… I miss nap time lol

  15. Aimee fauci

    Nap time is also ME time. If my daycare kids are too old for a nap…then they have quiet time.
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  16. rika

    nap time is so important for kids and adults.. especially for kids, great for their development
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