Question: How do you help infants with nap time when they have trouble falling asleep and especially don’t want to be left alone in their cribs?
Answer: Nap time can be stressful for infant teachers but there are several ways to mitigate the stress level. One of these options is to create a solid routine that infants are used to and can feel comfortable with. Often if an infant cries after being put down in the crib it is because of the uncertainty of the routine they are involved in. The caregiver can also recommend that a special item from home comes with them to care to help comfort them. Just be sure to be taking the annual Safe Sleep training through DEL and following those guidelines whenever sleep questions occur!
Question: What do I do with a child that wakes up during nap time and won’t go back to sleep?
Answer: It is a good idea to keep the room darkened during the scheduled nap period. So, if nap time is 12:30 to 2:00 then the lights should stay off during that time, with soft nap time music playing. Keep distractions in the room to a minimum. This allows the children to learn that there is a routine.
For children that wake early on a regular basis, I would start with the “we don’t want to wake our friends, so you have to stay on your nap mat and look at a book quietly if you don’t want to sleep”. However, if this gentle suggestion doesn’t work, don’t force them to stay on their mats. Have a quiet activity ready before nap for those who wake-up, somewhere at the side of the room. We always put playdough out on a table ready to go so that those who woke up could quietly move to the table and play with playdough.
Children will learn the routine. If you establish boundaries, and set the stage, they will follow.
Question: What if a child will not wake up when nap time is over?
Answer: I would first begin by examining your nap time routines and times. Perhaps the child takes longer to settle into nap and so they really aren’t getting the rest time that they need. Maybe nap time comes just after a very active period so they are unable to settle in. Another thing to consider is where the child is napping. Are they near a child who is a loud sleeper or an active sleeper? In addition to these things you may want to consider the child’s temperament and see if that may play a role in everything as well.
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