49 answers

Advice Needed Regarding Pre K That Requires Naps

My almost 5 year-old son just started his new pre-K. He hasn't been taking regular naps for the last year or so, and he does fine without them (he is generally good natured until bedtime). However, his new school requires him to take a 2 hour nap. He is not allowed to read, color, or engage in other quiet activities during this time, like he was at his previous school. He literally has to lie down and do nothing for 2 hours. Yesterday he reported that while he lying there awake, one of his teachers actually asked him to turn around and close his eyes. I feel this time is too long and boring for him, not to mention a waste of his time.

Just to clarify, he turns 5 in November and he is in pre-K, not kindergarten. This is a private school that goes from preschool through early elementary school. Picking him up earlier than mid-afternoon is not an option, as I'm on maternity leave but will be going back to work very soon.

Any advice to get him to nap? Alternatively, is this issue serious enough to warrant moving him to a different school? The school is otherwise very satisfactory.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, I spoke to the director and as I expected, she was not willing to budge on their policy. I suggested quiet activities, or transferring my child to an older class during naptime, and even having him nap for one hour, then do quiet activities for the second hour. Everything was met with a resounding "no." Her attitude was that no matter what, it would be disruptive to the other kids. I know for a fact that this is not true, because it was done successfully at my son's previous school. The worst comment she made was that we all have to face things we don't like in our lives, so my son better get used to it!

I know the 2 hour nap policy is there so that two teachers can combine their classes and each one of them can go on a one-hour break. Well, at other schools they have floaters and subs who can keep the teacher to child ratio the same during naptime, but I guess this school is too cheap to do it.

I'm 75% leaning towards taking him out.

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A., my granddaughter also took naps in pre k and then she would be up til 10pm. we just went with the flow, at first she complained but later she was napping along with everyone else. this year she will be in Kindergarten and will get out at noon so no naps! I will have to entertain her and still work from home at the same time. Hopefully we find lots of playdates!

Nobody should be forced to nap. I've never heard of a school that does that. I've only heard of schools that have a "nap room" and a "rest room." You may want to look for a new school. Good luck!


I would talk to the school and see if they can let him do something else. Even if it was to just lay there and read books and relax. He shouldn't be forced to take a nap if it's not needed. If they aren't going to comply then I would take him out of the school.

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I consider myself a "nap Nazi" and expect my daughter to nap everyday, no exceptions. But EVEN I think that what the school is doing is ridiculous -- given your child's age. I understand if he's 2 or 3; but at 5-years-old, 2 hours is a lot to expect if they're not sleepy. I say, look for a new school that allows rest time...like quiet reading, coloring etc..

Hi, A.. A lot of kids don't nap by age 5. Could you talk to the school director or principal about quiet time? If your son lays quietly for a few minutes while the other children fall asleep, he should be allowed to read a book or do something else quietly. If he's forced to sleep for two hours, it may disturb his sleep patterns at night and cause other issues for him. If the teacher and/or school administrator are unresponsive, that may be indicate potential unresponsiveness to issues in the future as well.

I can't imagine that the school is requiring him to take a 2 hour nap. I can see if they let him have quiet time while the other kids nap. But forcing him to sit there and lay down for two hours?? That doesn't seem right. Besides most kids that age won't take a nap anymore and certainly won't sit there doing nothing for 2 hours!

I would have a talk with the teacher and school administrator and tell them that your son no longer naps and what if any alternatives they have for that 2 hour period.

I can't see forcing him to take a nap when it isn't needed. Doing so might mess up his nighttime sleep schedule.

If they aren't flexible in doing what your child needs by giving him quiet time with some toys or books instead of napping, I would certainly look at alternative schools to send him to.

From Single Mom of 3 - 2 hours is too long for anyone healthy, child or adult to sleep during the day. 45 min -1 hr is standard. Talk to the school, see if you can come to some kind of an agreement with them...they should know better.

Well, I would think seriously about finding a new school. If your child does not need a nap, you may end up having a lot of conflicts. Is there no way for him to play quietly in another area? If they are not willing to provide you with this option, they are not the right school for your child (at least not at this stage of the game). There is no reason to torture your child and yourself. You may even end up creating a behavior problem which can be tough to fix. It sounds like you know the right thing to do, even if it won't be the easy thing to do. The key is to fit the school to the child, not the child to the school(for this type of issue). Good luck- there are schools out there which offer pre-k without mandating a nap. Have you considered Montessori?


I would talk to the school and see if they can let him do something else. Even if it was to just lay there and read books and relax. He shouldn't be forced to take a nap if it's not needed. If they aren't going to comply then I would take him out of the school.

That seems like a long time for a nap at that age. My daughter is 3 1/2 and if she takes a two hour nap it interferes with her sleeping at a appropriate bed time. I believe in quiet time, but she does not necessarily sleep. If he is not tired and does not need it then he should not be forced into it. I would probably change schools, but it is whatever you are comfortable with. Good luck! Sorry I could not be more helpful.

I would move him to another school. A 5 year old napping is not a consistent thing and requiring a 5 year old to be quiet and lay still for 2 hours isn't reasonable. Good schools have quiet areas for kids who are too old to nap so they can color or read while the other children are napping. I am appalled at his teacher telling him to turn over and face the wall as if he was being punished. I worked for a place that had a daycare (supposedly Montessori) that ended up kicking my son out for not napping and I noticed that every time I went back there, even after he wasn't there, it was like a military camp. They didn't have a place for kids to go to who were too old to nap so they forced them to lie down and were very cold towards the kids who had a hard time laying still for that long. My son was only 3 1/2 so as soon as I moved him to a better daycare he slept with no problems because it was a loving yet consistent environment. But anyways, most 5 year olds don't nap consistently and that's a fact. I would suggest finding a better school because they are out there. I was lucky enough to find a licensed home daycare with a lady who has been taking classes in early childhood education so she's awesome and our son is loved and happy....he's now 4 1/2 and sometimes he naps and sometimes he doesn't but she doesn't care either way because she knows how to keep him quietly occupied and isn't looking for that time as a break; she knows that there is no break when your job is to care for children. When looking at schools, just drop in unannounced especially at nap time and see how things are going; make a point to meet the teachers to gauge their personalities...after all you are the customer and you should be satisfied with the level of care they are providing. Best wishes.

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