A common issue raised by daycare providers is that children in their care cry specifically during naptime. Some child care providers don’t know why the children are crying and how to handle it. When a child is crying during naptime it can be disruptive to other children at rest. . It can be both a frustrating and challenging part of the daycare job. Some experts suggest that caregivers let the child cry it out while others oppose this method.
So, we interviewed Susan Cooper M.Ed., author of “Cooking by the Handful” and member of Applied Scholastics International, to find out why young children cry during naptime and what child care providers can do to alleviate the issue.
Own A Daycare: What are some reasons children cry during naptime in daycare?
Susan Cooper: Some of the reasons children cry during naptime are that they are genuinely tired, that the environment has changed so much and has caused them undue stress (example: too dark), that they are expecting certain activities or items and not getting them. A tired child will usually nap without a problem.
Own A Daycare: How can daycare providers handle children who continuously cry during naptime? In other words, what strategies can they use to prevent or reduce this behavior?
Susan Cooper: The best way to handle children who continuously cry during naptime is to start with lunch. Do not serve food that is high in sugar or caffeine. Get the children outside for lots of play and exercise right before nap. Gradually change the environment by setting out the cots, then setting the items out (blankets and books) and lastly turning off lights. Put the children that cry the most in a more isolated area and put them on their cots first. Try having them sleep on their stomach while gently rubbing their back.
Own A Daycare: How do daycare providers handle crying children when they continually disrupt the naptime of other children?
Susan Cooper: The best way is to have the child try napping in the office with the director to find out if the child will nap. If the child is not a napper, explain that quiet play while staying on the cot is ok, such as reading a book. If the child can learn how to stay on the cot with quiet play, then he/she can return to the nap room.
Own A Daycare: Can you please provide some tips for daycare providers for discussing this subject with parents?
Susan Cooper: In California, a child cannot be forced to nap but can have quiet play while staying on a cot. If parents understand this and what quiet play consists of, then parents should understand. A parent who wants a full day of academics for their child needs to understand that children of 6 years and up are capable of that but younger ones need a quiet time.
Read More: How to handle crying during nap time.
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