Sleep is important for all of us, but it is absolutely crucial for children to get enough sleep and rest every day.
Rest and Relaxation
At DMW, we believe that children will let us know when they are tired or need a rest. We will always act in the best interest of every child and ensure that their need for quiet time is met. Even children beginning to wean off their daytime sleep are given the opportunity for a short nap if they need it! After lunch each day is a dedicated ‘Rest and Relaxation’ period across the service.
Children who are well rested;
Will remain more focused and alert during the day
Have better problem-solving abilities
Are better able to make positive decisions
Are able to learn and remember new things
Are able to better regulate their emotions
Have more energy to get the most of out of each day!
Signs you child is ready for changes in sleep behaviour:
They last all day without getting grizzly in the afternoon
They resist their sleep throughout the day
You need to do so much to get them to sleep that it is impacting on you (ie. Driving them around in the car)
Cutting out the Midday Sleep
Easing children into less sleep is the best method. For example at DMW, every child has the opportunity to rest and relax throughout the day. They may not be outwardly encouraged to sleep, but if they fall asleep educators try not to wake them
Children will only sleep when they need it. As we and parents see at night time, if a child is determined not to sleep, they won’t
As educators we insist on children being allowed to sleep as long as they need to whilst in our care to ensure they are getting the best out of their day whilst at DMW
An alternative to cutting down sleep in terms of time, is to put the child down earlier so they have a longer ‘awake’ period in the afternoon (The Sleep Store, n.d.)
Strategies for when your child doesn't want to go to bed:
A consistent routine will be your best tool to use in the fight at bedtime
Having a visual routine can also help this process e.g. story, kiss/cuddle and then sleep
Be prepared to have a transition period where your child will absolutely challenge you in every aspect of the bedtime routine, however persistence and following through on commitments will help tip the scales back into your favour in the long term battle of sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following hours for each age group. These hours are inclusive of any naps during the day as well as overnight.
Quality Area 2: Children's Health and Safety
Element 2.1.1 Wellbeing and Comfort: Each child's wellbeing and comfort is provided for, including appropriate opportunities to meet each child's need for sleep, rest and relaxation.