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Napping at Kindergarten   

Culture of Sleep

At the kindergarten, different sleep rituals can be experimented with that may not be possible at home. A child who only falls asleep with daddy's hand at home does not necessarily need the hand of the educator in kindergarten, as in Rufus’s case. Taking on a ritual from home may be helpful in the early days (stuffed animal/blanket, bottle, pacifier) but can be later phased out.  

As long as children feel comfortable in both places, at home and in the kindergarten, completely different rituals can succeed in both places. A child is able to distinguish between these two environments and adapt within them. She will acclimate to new rituals and circumstances in the kindergarten as well as maintain the old habits at home. Everyone has probably heard or even themselves said: “What, my child sleeps in the kindergarten without her blanket? That would not be possible at home!” Rufus’s father, for example, may be astonished to find that his son can sleep successfully at his kindergarten without him. 

Of course, sleep in the kindergarten can initially influence sleep at home. Often, parents report that the child is more affectionate, especially in the evening or at night, and may wake up more often. It can be imagined that the child has to “recharge their batteries” after being separated from their parents for several hours during the day. This is completely normal and may even help parents to feel that they are still needed by their child although they are thriving at kindergarten.  

As mentioned above, later sleep times at home may cause parents to believe that napping at the kindergarten is influencing their child’s ability to fall asleep at night. One cannot say with certainty that there is a correlation between a child taking a midday nap and then not sleeping during the night. Parents and educators should always ask themselves: what is the motivation behind the desire for a child to sleep - the needs of the child or the wishes of adults? Allowing children to only sleep for a short time, waking them up at a specific time, or even keeping awake with a stimulating game/program goes against a child's need for sleep and right to have this need met. A fatigued child is a stressed child and a stressed child often conflicts with caregivers and peers which can further prevent the feeling of security and the ability to relax. A good kindergarten environment should be characterized by both tense and also relaxing moments: Here, the child can play, explore and also rest.  

Settling in and sleep

The start of such an intense new process in the life of a child might engage the child’s thoughts throughout the day and night. It can be helpful to both parent and child if parents are able to remain as relaxed as possible during this time. Sometimes they may need a little affirmation and reminders from the professional.