How to Get Toddlers to Nap at Daycare

by Erica Loop, Demand Media
    Getting kids to sleep isn't always difficult.

    Getting kids to sleep isn't always difficult.

    Naptime is one of the most ominous words known to moms and toddler teachers. When you send your precious little one off to a fun-filled day of play at day care, there's the expectation he will take some sort of nap. It's always preferable to pick up a well-rested angel instead of cranky toddler. While a daily nap is the goal, getting tots off to dreamland isn't always easy. Instead of stressing every time your child's teacher tells you that she just couldn't get him to sleep, prepare for the daily nap ahead of time.

    Step 1

    Talk to your toddler's teacher. If your child is having problems falling asleep during naptime, get to the root of the issue. Ask questions such as, "Do you have quiet time or a quieting down routine before naptime?" "Do you turn the lights down or all of the way out?" or "What are you seeing right before naptime that might cause him to resist seeping?"

    Step 2

    Visit your child's day care right before naptime. Your presence will disturb and disrupt the entire room's sleep schedule. Because you don't want to take responsibility for a gaggle of screaming 2-year-olds, remain unobtrusive. Only go if you can peek in from a window in the door or another room. Watch your toddler. Look for reasons that might explain why he isn't sleeping such. Check for nearby toys that are just too interesting to put down or other childrens' behaviors.

    Step 3

    Send your toddler off with a favorite lovey. Pack his bedtime blanket or a plush toy to hold while falling asleep.

    Step 4

    Keep your toddler's naptime routine and rituals the same at home as at day care. If his teacher makes them nap at 1 p.m., give him a nap at the same time on his days off, too. This also applies to before-bed activities such as playing soft music or reading a story.

    Tips

    • Talk to your toddler about napping at school. Be simple and to the point. Tell him, don't ask him, to listen to his teacher and take his nap when the other kids do.
    • Find out if there is a possible reward at school for napping. Can the teacher give him a sticker every day he naps well?
    • Keep in constant contact with your toddler's teacher. Ask her every day if, and for how long, your toddler napped.

    Warning

    • Avoid yelling at or punishing your toddler for not napping. You've probably experienced a bit of insomnia here and there, and no one yelled at you.

    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.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images