Combat Nap Time Troubles in Toddlers: Tips for Educators, Parents and Caregivers

Nap time sounds like the calmest time of the day. However, until it becomes a regular part of the toddler or Pre K routine, these young ones often struggle with settling down. Some toddlers have never had a nap time or they are coming to you with a different schedule than that which the rest of your class is on. Sometimes, troubles at nap time begin simply because they are used to a different environment or routine. Read on about nap time routines for Pre K kids and toddlers for some great tips and one really fun activity!

The Dreamtime Routine

Below is an activity to make toddler nap time enjoyable as well as some tips for developing nap time routines for Pre K children.

For this activity you will need a silk, rayon or satin drawstring purse. If you don't have one, they are fairly easy to make. Any material that has a texture or children can associate with something magical will work just fine. You can also decorate the drawstring purse with beads or sequins to make it even more magical in appearance and feel.

  • Get the toddlers settled in for toddler nap time.
  • Read a brief story about something magical. One fun thing to do is to make up your own story using the toddlers' names as characters in the story.
  • When the story is done, it's "dream purse" time. Take the drawstring purse around to each child. Allow the children to put their hands in the purse to "draw out a dream". Children really enjoy this and it makes them look forward to nap time.

Top Tricks for Peaceful Nap Times

This dream purse activity will make nap time more pleasant, but the following tips will also help to ease troublesome nap times!

  • Make nap time follow lunch and a bathroom break; children will be comfortable and tired after playing all morning.
  • Talk in soothing tones to set the mood for nap time.
  • Make the room as dark as possible while still being able to see the toddlers.
  • Play calming music during nap time.
  • Tuck each child in and wish them sweet dreams as they draw from the dream purse described above.
  • When the children join the facility ask their parents to send along a blanket and/or stuffed animal that is special, so that the child might draw comfort from them at nap time.
  • Make sure that nap time is at the same time every day.
  • If you have infants, then tend to their needs and settled in as the toddlers make their "beds".
  • Make sure all toys are picked up and the area is clean so there is nothing to distract the children or keep them awake.

Most nap time troubles can be resolved by simply sticking to a routine. Routines comfort children, thus calming them. Though Pre K or toddler students may struggle at first, you will notice that usually after about a week they are familiar with the routine and will adapt well to it – as long as it stays the same!