Preschool Nap Time Activities

When trying to get our little ones to settle down for nap, I walk through each room and spray my “magic sleepy dust” which I can only buy from the magic store. It is really just a can of either peach or vannila scented air freshner that I have covered with pretty paper. I spray a few squirts in each class room and as the scent falls the children start to say how they can feel the effects and get very quiet and still. The teachers then start to rub the backs of those children that need extra attention. The children look forward to my daily visit to their naproom.

Naptime usually is handled this way at my home. I have older children (5-9 yrs.) and they generally don’t sleep. I have created “quiet boxes”. They are simple to make. I purchased plastic shoeboxes and searched dollar stores for activity books and other games. Then I added cassette players with earphones and books and tapes, paper, pencils, crayons, ananything small enough for the box. Works great and keeps non-sleepers very quiet. Rule is if you get to loud you lose the box.

First I must say Amen to Hap Palmer’s Seagulls Album…. It is great. I have also done some special activities with my 4 and 5 year olds in the past…. We have rested by pumpkin light (Of course using the pumpkin we carved as a class) during the Halloween season, Christmas Lights during Christmas etc. I also have often allowed the “leader” for the day to sit in my chair and hold up a book that goes along with one of those book and tape sets, and turn pages at the chimes. Great for self esteem, and the children are very attentive. Occasionally, I will have a child who is reading already, and this is a prime opportunity to let this child read a story to the entire class.

I allow 30 minutes after lunch for down time. In this time children can look at books, sing or lay down on thier cots. I end this time by reading a story and then begin rubbing backs. This allows the children to digest their lunch a bit before laying down…I know I can’t sleep right after I just ate a meal!

At naptime, I play relaxing music. Some of my favorites include “Piano Romance Naturally,” “The Ocean’s Edge,” “Piano Rain,” “Thunderstorms,” “Titanic,” “The Enchanted Garden,” “The Secret Garden,” “Rain Pools,” and many by Enya. During naptime, I lay with the children individually, rub their backs, tussle their hair, stroke their cheek, or tickle their fingers. Most children are out within 10 minutes. It is important to beware that these strategies are not excepted everywhere. I work at a very reputable preschool, where we are 100% trusted to be this close to the children. If tihs is not something you can practice, I suggest sitting with the child, rubbing his back or playing with his hair, and always play soft and relaxing music. It definitely works!!

I always try and pray with the children before naptime. I ask them to lay quietly and then ask them one at a time to tell me what they want to pray about today. They always have something to add. They love to share with the group. Not only does this relax the children but it helps me get to know them better and find out what is important to them.

I like to play lullaby =music or Pacaabelles Cannon in D.I sit with the children and rub or pat backs. Some of the children have their favorite animal or blanket. Some even hold onto a photograph.The children as they are done eating and clean up get their own things for nap and then lay on their mats. For early risers I sometimes move their mat away from the sleepers and give them books to look at or I sit with them and rub backs agian and just spend time with them.

Early childhood classroom teachers may not need to do much “digging” to find an excellent source of classical music for their children. I recommend the teachers to check into thier local Public Radio station for classical programing. Our local station, WDAV from Davidson College, even has a program “Mozart Cafe” from noon to 2:00PM – perfect for lunch and rest time! And the best part: IT’S FREE!!!

I work in a Mother’s Day Out program with 2 year olds. Unfortunately, our classroom is crowded with 14 children. Since August, we’ve had maybe one or two fall asleep during nap time. Until last month, when I discovered the Heartbeat Music Therapy tapes distributed by Eckerds drugs. Believe it or not, we’ve had every child but one go to sleep within the first twenty minutes of nap time. This allows my partner and I to regroup before heading into the afternoon. These tapes are a God-send.

When the cherubs head in for snooze time they all hurry in the nap room and hide in their sleeping bags. I then have to “find” them. I comment maybe Joshua is in the pet net……no…….hmmmm maybe he went to work with daddy…….no…..hmmmmm maybe he is under the bed……..on and on then I say I might as well fold up his sleeping bag and pretend to fold the sleeping bag up with the child in it! Giggle and laugh! The love it. I then give smooches and scrunches (hugs and kisses!) Believe it or not the cherubs can’t wait to head in for nap! After each child has had a turn I put on soft music and rub backs for a while until cherubs are settled. Of course not every day is peaches and cream but it is pretty routine and peaceful 98% of the time! I work with a group of 6 – 8 children ranging in age from 2 1/2 – 5.