The Elusive…Everyone Quiet…and Asleep…Nap-time

I see it bounced around forums and Facebook, everyone talking about their must have nap-time.  How, each day they get all the kid’s asleep and on the same schedule, no exceptions. They get paperwork done, rooms cleaned, and have time to mess around on the computer to see what the rest of the world is working on and doing.  I am going to start by saying “I am so jealous!”  I have only been able to in my “10+” years working in early childhood education, to make this happen twice with a group of children, consistently.

The first time was early on in my career, when I had my family child care by another name.  These kids where a great bunch of sleepers, I loved it.  The second time, I believe was due to the room I was teaching in at a center, it was cave dark in that room.  Oh, those kids slept, and slept, I had to wake them up everyday. I could hardly see to work, but that is not the point.  I am just sitting and remember in a nice happy place, “Ahhh, those where the days.”

Now, I am very lucky to have one day about every two weeks, that allows me to catch-up on stuff and maybe do some deep cleaning. I have analyzed my routine and schedule, and have come to the conclusion that it is not me.  I have a mixed age group, so I am working with babies, toddlers and preschoolers, trying to get them all on board my quiet time and nap schedule.  Here is a good schedule for my weekly nap time.

Monday

  1. One of my babies thinks that she is good with a 30 minute nap.
  2. Which in turns wakes up one of my toddlers.
  3. I am unable to get toddler back to sleep.  (In Kansas we are not allowed to just let our children lay there until nap-time is over.)  So, after a certain amount of time I give the child something to play with on their mat.  Of course, we are talking about a toddler and there is no “volume control” included and I end up sending them to the playroom.
  4. Which means I should just wake everyone else up, because the toddler is going to run back and forth, from the playroom to where I am trying to get some work done, to show and tell.
Tuesday
  1. I have a restless preschooler, that is having trouble settling down.  (Now, I do help try to get my kids to settle down into nap with patting and  back rubbing.  I can only do this so long, I have a kitchen and bathroom that have to be cleaned.)
  2. After wrestling the mat, kicking the floor and trying to make a tent with the bedding the preschooler falls asleep.  Only, after he is sure that he has woke up his neighbors.
  3. Lucky me.
  4. Go to number 3 on Monday.
Wednesday
  1. Baby takes an extra long nap in the morning.  (I am a firm believer in letting babies sleep, so I will not wake them up!)
  2. So, the baby is not tired when everyone else goes down.
  3. I let baby play a bit in her bed while I get that pesky kitchen and bathroom cleaned.
  4. But, now I have a choice.  I can let the baby play while I try to get a few things done, and take a risk that while I am concentrating on something they sneak off and use one of the sleeping children, as a climber. Or, I can go with them to the playroom and enjoy the one to one time.
Thursday
  1. My lovely daughter decides that today is a no nap day.
  2. She runs up and down the stairs where I am trying to get her into a movie so as not wake everyone up.
  3. She is not falling for ” That Jedi that mind trick.”
  4. See number 2 on Monday.  Except now there are two running back and forth from the playroom.
Friday
  1. A parent requests that a child not nap, so they can pick them up early.  They are going to be traveling out-of-town and hope that the child will sleep along the way. (It so did not work out for them.)
  2. I decide that because of the child that is staying up, it would be best to let everyone stay up a little longer before they go down for nap.
  3. Chaos rules.
  4. Everyone’s schedule is now out of whack and we are all a bit cranky.  Thank goodness it is Friday!
Now, I share some of my daily nap fun with you not for sympathy, or to be whiner. (Maybe, a bit of a whiner.) Sometimes, I just have to shake my head and laugh at the many ways this group of children find to be disruptive at nap. I just want those providers that also have nap-times like mine, not to fret when they see how blissfully happy those provider’s are that get consistently quiet nap times, I want you to know that you are not doing anything wrong.  That nap time is not a guarantee.  Just know that you might have to catch-up on some work after all the kids leave.  But, in having to do this you can also feel good to know that your time-space  percent will go up with all the extra time spent catching-up.  Plus, if you have a parent that thinks you bum around during nap and do nothing but watch T.V. or play on the computer you can have them read this article, it might give them a different perspective.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy says:

    Oh my gosh, I cant believe that your schedule is so simmilar to mine, I have 9 kids 3 which go to school, 1 preschooler which leaves 20 minutes later. 1 4 yr old 2 31/2, 1 18 mo and 1 5mo old. The preschooler, the 4yr old and 1 of the 31/2 old, dont take taps, at nap time I lay the 18 mo the 31/2 old which is the new kid on the block and getting him into a routine, the 5 mo old takes 45 minute naps during the day and cant seem to get him on a schedule. It would be so easy just to lay everybody down and they would all take a nap if I made them but the preschooler never takes naps and the other 31/2 yr old if she takes a nap she doesnt go to bed for her mom at night til late so she doesnt get a nap. She gets pretty nasty late in the day exspecially when her mom picks her up. The 3 kids go to another room and color, play with the blocks and watch a movie and some times they can get noisy and I have to threnten them with a nap and they stop. I hope soon I can get the baby on a schedule cause I am starting a newborn in December. It use to easy for me but now its very stressful, It will be extra stressful when the 3 older boys are here when school get out. Thank you for your story. I haope you enjoy mine.

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    1. Andrea says:

      I have a mixed age group with a just turned 11 month old, 16 month old, 18 month old, two three year olds and a 5 year old. I had to laugh when you said the one infant wakes the others. That is very true in my daycare! The 11 month old is the boss and when he decides he is awake then naptime has ended for all! I have found with my old clock radio has ‘nature sounds’ buttons on it. I now put the radio on waterfall setting and turn it up pretty loud and place it directly under the 11 month olds’s pack and play. SUCCESS! He is such a better sleeper now with out the little noises waking him up! Plus, the other children seem to be sleeping longer too with the noise in the room. Did I mention they all sleep in the same room? So my suggestion for the only thing that worked for us it a noise maker! Sounds crazy but it works!! Good luck!!!

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