Nap time

Nap time

Respecting developmental differences.

It's a common sight in a preschool classroom, and even in some kindergarten and first grade rooms. Rubber mats rolled out on the floor and children lying down. Some are asleep while others are relaxing, but a few are fidgeting. It's nap time in the class and everyone must rest.

I remember the week I spent in a daycare program when I was four. To be exact, I only remember the nap times. I was a precocious child when it came to naps and had quite taking them by the time I was two, according to my mother.

That 45 minute break in the day, where we laid on the floor in a darkened room, was hard for me. So hard I remember it clearly some 32 years later. My son also stopped napping young, but fortunately he was never exposed to the forced nap of preschool.

Not all preschools handle nap time the same way. More are moving toward a quiet time where children are encouraged to lay down for a few minutes and listen to a song or story, something that at least stimulates the mind.

Those that don't fall asleep are allowed to look through books or color quietly at their mats. A few preschools are exceptionally observant, and separate the non-nappers from the nappers as they notice the pattern over the first few weeks of each year.

While I do advocate for a quiet time in school during the early years, the forced naps of my childhood really need to be done away with. Not all children nap, nor should they. Forcing these children to lie down and do nothing can feel like torture to a young kid.

It can also be torture to a family if a non-napper does fall asleep. I know my non-nappers would be unable to fall asleep until late at night and it would throw off their entire sleep schedule if they did happen to catch some midday ZZZ's.