6 answers

Nap Transition for Preschool - Need a Strategy

My daughter (3 next month) will be going to preschool in the fall. I spoke with the program coordinator about naps and was told they usually nap at 1pm for about an hour. Well, my daughter currently naps from 2pm to 5pm or later if we let her (she then sleeps from 8:30 -7ish).
We’ve been trying to cut the nap time gradually every 2 weeks or so to see if we can reduce it to close to an hour before she starts school so that it’s not such a shock to the system (we’re working on 2-4:15 right now). My daughter loves sleep almost as much as I do and when we wake her early, she lets you know that she is not happy about it with her now famous "I’m still sleepy leave me alone" evil-eye.

One of the other mothers at school said her daughter napped the same way and now she just ends up power napping on the weekends. I fear that my weekends will be spent dealing with an uber grouch if we can’t make a switch.

Did anyone else have to deal with this that has strategies that did or did not work?

What can I do next?

More Answers

When my kids were in preschool, they would usually let the sleepy kids sleep a bit longer. I am sure this is a common concern among preschool parents, so maybe talk with the teacher and see if they can let her sleep a bit longer until she gets used to the shorter nap time.

I have 7yr old twins in 1st grade, and one of they would still nap during the day if she could. She will still take a nap on weekends if needed.

My son started pre-K last fall and basically the class coincided exactly with his nap time. One day he had a nap and the next day he was in school. We just did it cold turkey. He now takes naps when he gets home from school. Hope all works out for you!

Does your daughter sleep 10 - 12 hours at night? My son stopped napping by the time he was 2 years old but he slept 10 - 12 hours every night. At age 19 he has now went back to taking naps because at school he does not get enough sleep at night, who would have figured that.

S.

I would suggest cutting her nap back to 1 hr (or 1.5 hours max) now and putting her to bed at 7pm (or earlier if necessary for a few weeks). If she's used to this much sleep overall, she's still going to need it on the new schedule. Better for her to be a bit crabby now, before school starts, and get used to the new routine.

Is it possible to find a different preschool with a half-day program? For instance, my daughter will be starting preschool this Fall in a M-W-F program, 9am-11:30am.

Does she have to go to a full day program? I know there are lots of half day programs out there. Some kids just need more sleep and it may benefit her more to be getting the extra sleep as opposed to the schooling at her age. If it has to be full day, then I would keep doing what you are doing and moving bedtime earlier and earlier. It is a tough task to do this time of year though when it is still light out and the kids can hear other kids out playing.

I read the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child a while back. While most of the book pertains to infants and toddlers, there is a section for pre-schoolers and older children. It may be worth borrowing from the library just to give that section a quick read. I understand the sleep issue though. My daughter goes to a special ed pre-school program in the afternoons so she misses out on that down-time. She makes up for it at night but I rarely see her rise in the mornings before 9-9:30. She is just too tired for the day when we have to get her up earlier. I have a feeling switching to all day kindergarten is going to be really rough because she will be losing that extra 2-2.5hours rest she is used to having.

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