Helping young children to get quality sleep: early childhood educators

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    In the early years of life, quality sleep is essential for children to grow, learn and develop to the best of their potential. Supporting kids to get the right amount of sleep and the sort of quality sleep they need can help them and their parents to be healthier and happier.

     

    Early childhood educators are not in children’s homes at bedtime, but will see the results the next day if children do not get the sleep they need. Educators can help children and their families to learn about the importance of sleep and to put some simple steps in place to support good quality sleep.

    Sleep and rest routines

    Settling and sleep do not always come easily, but forming good sleep habits in the first year of life is closely linked to parents’ ability to maintain routines and soothe their children.

    Early childhood educators can support parents to establish and maintain good sleep habits in children through the environment you provide for sleep and rest.

    Also in this edition of Grow & Thrive:

    Sleep – essential for life and learning

    Sleep and the early years of school: early primary teachers

    Helping your child get the sleep they need: parents                  

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      In your setting:
    • Provide a separate, supervised area that is reserved for sleep and rest. This supports the distinction between awake time and sleep time and helps to minimise distractions.
    • Direct children who do not want to sleep into quiet, restful activities instead.
    • Maintain good levels of communication with parents and other caregivers to ensure that you know of anything that might have disturbed the sleep of children in your care.
    • Let parents and caregivers know about the rest that their child has had that day at your setting.
    Babies

    There are no hard and fast rules for sleep in babies – some seem to need a lot and others only a little or even no daytime sleep at all. Working with parents to find out more about their child’s home sleep patterns can really help.

    General patterns for daytime sleeps are: 

    Age  Day sleep
    3-6 months  2 or 3 sleeps, each up to 2 hours
    7-12 months  A morning nap and an afternoon sleep is usual, for a total of 2-3 hours
    12+ months  An afternoon nap for up to 2 hours

    Toddlers and preschoolers

    For most children, daytime naps will decrease as they grow older, and stop by the time they start school. Most toddlers and some preschoolers will have a nap for around an hour. Most children will also need some time every day for quiet activity.

    Some children will have sleep problems that go beyond simply putting a good sleep routine in place. If you have particular concerns about a child at your setting, there are resources available on the Raising Children Network to help parents to start to manage their children’s sleep problems. Rcn_Logo(2)

    Also in this edition of Grow & Thrive:

    Sleep – essential for life and learning

    Sleep and the early years of school: early primary teachers

    Helping your child get the sleep they need: parents

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