Preschool nap alternatives?

Hi, I have a 4.5-yo with a busy mind. She stopped napping when quarantine started, and now that she’s back in preschool (since sept), she’s been complaining about naptime, which is at least 2 hours of laying in the dark. She complains about being bored. 

I’m wondering: is it standard at most preschools to require kids to lay in the dark for 2 hours if they aren’t napping? Especially the older kids? I’ve heard of places allowing kids to play quietly in another room or outside... I am considering looking for a different place to take her, but I want to get a gauge of others’ experiences. TIA!

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RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

Providing nap or rest time for all ages is actually a preschool licensing requirement in California, so all schools do it in some form or another. That said, different preschools handle naps differently, and there are some that set up areas for kids who wake early or who do not nap to come to play quietly once they have rested. Others are stricter about keeping things quiet and dark for the duration of the nap period. I would start with your current preschool to see if they have solutions before starting to shop around if this is your only concern, though--they may have ideas. (Our child's old preschool would play audiobooks quietly during the rest period, for instance; the nappers slept right through them and the non-nappers could lie quietly in the dark but be listening to something and still physically rest.)

RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

Two hours in the dark for a kid who isn't napping - especially at that age - seems inappropriate and not a good use of her time. Maybe 30 min of enforced "rest", but not two hours. At my son's school, the older kids who don't nap can play quietly, or outside. 

RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

My child never napped at preschool unfortunately. He has never had to lie in the dark for 2 hours and would not be able to. My understanding is that he rests quietly in the dark for maybe 20 to 30 min? But then plays quietly sometimes with other non-nappers. 

RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

Our 3.5-year-old has been phasing out his nap for a few months now (he takes a nap a couple of times a week, tops), and he's rarely slept at his preschool (Hearts Leap) since he started in a new classroom back in September. His teachers don't make any of the non-napping children lay in the dark; instead, they come up with solutions for quiet activities that don't disturb the sleeping children. For our son, they figured out that he likes audiobooks, so he listens to books on CD using headphones during nap/rest time. They have some books on CD at the school, and I've been checking out other books on CD from the library to add to the collection. And I think other children look at books on their mats, or other quiet activities. Hope this helps!

RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

My daughter is a little hit and miss about naps at school -- they let her bring one book to her cot, and often she falls asleep with it, but if she doesn't she can look at the book and also get up to go over to a 'quiet play' area in the dim room (there is filtered light from the curtains). It seems to work out well and she doesn't wake up the others from what I understand.

RE: Preschool nap alternatives? ()

Our preschool allowed kids to do quiet activities on their mat - coloring, looking at books, etc. And rest time was only about 1.25 hours, though kids who were sleeping were allowed to sleep longer. They also placed mats strategically, so kids who were falling asleep weren't distracted by the kids who were awake. Some rest is super important even for non-nappers, but two hours of just lying there sounds really long!