How to Prepare Your Child for Naptime at Daycare

How to Prepare Your Child for Naptime at Daycare

Sending your child to daycare or preschool for the first time is an exciting time in both of your lives, and an especially important time in their development process.


Young children 1-5 years old typically need around two hours of sleep during the day andthat length of nap can vary by child. Often parents forget to concern themselves with regulating their child’s sleep schedule during a transition of caregivers or return to work. It is important to check with each daycare and preschool on your list to review their nap policies and prepare your child.


Depending on the age group, younger children may be given naps throughout the day based on their own schedule and need for sleep.  Toddlers may start to have a set naptime after lunch as a class.  Preschool children may have a group nap time and the opportunity to play or read quietly if they no longer nap. Some children find naptime at school to be confusing at first but soon come to enjoy the rituals and structure of a daily rest time.


One way to prepare for the transition is to replicate the same naptime routine as your daycare facility. On the days your child is home have them nap during the same times they normally would while at daycare to further promote the habit. Additionally, if your facility plays music during naptime you can incorporate this into your routine as well.  

“Continuing the nap schedule during weekends and vacations is helpful to ensure everyone has a happy day and gets enough rest,” said one mom.  “We can tell when our little ones are starting to fall apart due to lack of sleep and try to make nap time part of our weekend schedule to ensure the evenings are enjoyable for everyone in our household.” 


Childcare facilities are typically required to follow the safe sleep guidelines outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Some states require children to keep their shoes on during naptime, this way in case of an evacuation their feet will be covered. If this is the case for your facility, you may want to practice this during naptime at home. The guidelines also advocate for dimmed lighting rather than turning the lights off as a safety precaution. Dimmed lighting is something parents can consider when replicating naptime at home.

The transition to a daycare or preschool in Syracuse NY is an exciting time, and the changes are something all parents can help prepare for by asking questions during the tour and interview process. Keeping open communication with the teachers in the classroom about your child’s likes and strategies is also helpful.