Daycare Policies About Nap Time

by Erica Loop

    Imagine an entire day without your toddler or preschooler napping. Oh, no! It sounds about as much fun to you as it does to her daycare teacher. With circle time, outdoor play, art, music and more, most day cares recognize and understand the need for a young child to nap during the day. That said, schools typically have set policies related to all things that fall under the nap time category.

    Daycare centers don't make nap time policies just to mess with the parents. Likewise, your child's school's administration isn't trying to assert a dictatorship when it comes to sleeping. Child care centers that operate on a full day schedule typically require an afternoon (or after lunch) nap time to make the rest of the day manageable. Some children are dropped off at daycare around 7:00 a.m. and not picked up until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. in the evening. Without a nap, the day becomes too long for kids and adults to bear. The primary reason behind a nap time policy is to make sure your child doesn't become irritable in the afternoon, and that she stays safe before, during and after her nap.

    Some nap time policies aren't choices that are left up to the daycare center. Certain local or state licensing requirements may include strictly enforced nap time procedures. For example, the California Child Care Center Licensing Regulations include a specific section on nap time policies that daycares must follow in order to keep a license. This includes having a daily nap time that is free from distractions and providing at least one teacher or aide per 24 children. While each state doesn't have the same exact requirements, most of have similar policies. Licensing inspectors check during yearly visits to make sure that your little one's daycare follows these rules.

    While not every child can easily sleep during nap time, daycares often demand that non-sleeping kids are quiet during this restful period. Teachers typically will tell the children that they must try to sleep, and if they can't, they must sit or lie quietly. This can include a quiet-time activity such as looking at a book or even sitting at a table drawing. Understandably, this policy helps napping children to fall asleep easier and provides a calm atmosphere in the room.

    Some schools have policies regarding pick ups during nap time. While you are technically free to get your child at any time that you please (after all, he is your child), a constant stream of parents in and out of a supposedly quiet nap time room can ruin the sleep for the whole class. This means that your child's center may require that you come in early or wait until after nap time is over to pick up your child. It's all good. You and the staff are on the same team, as far as your child's welfare is concerned.

    About the Author

    Erica Loop is an arts educator and freelance writer. She has been freelancing since 2010 and writes mostly child development and kids' activity articles for websites such as education.com. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

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