A new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst supports what most caregivers already know — children who take an afternoon nap not only have less behavior problems, but they have improved memory and cognitive function. The children studied showed that when they napped in the afternoon they were better able to recall what they had learned that morning. The study also suggests that for preschool-age children a good night’s sleep does not make up for a lack of an afternoon nap.
What can we do to support children receiving a time of rest in the afternoon?
- Have each child rest in the same area each day. The familiarity will help them relax.
- Offer quiet activities just before rest time such as stories, fingerplays, or puzzles.
- Allow children a special naptime “snuggle” like a a blanket, small pillow, or stuffed animal.
- Help children relax by dimming lights, playing soft music, and rubbing backs.
- Talk to parents to gain insight on how they help their child rest.
I remember waving a special wand over children to encourage them to close their eyes and drift off into “dreamland” and that I could hardly wait for them to wake up and tell me about it. What creative ideas do you have to share with others about getting children to rest their bodies and minds? Share with us at