Hey Forest Friends Parents,

This email is for you! Today, Teacher Alicia and I are hoping to start a conversation about nap time/quiet rest time for kids who don’t nap. How has nap/rest-time been going at home? Have any challenging behaviors come up? 
Email us your questions, thoughts and concerns! We’d love to help brainstorm ways to make midday rest easier for you and your kids. Also, let us know if setting up a zoom call check-in would be helpful for you and your family.
Teacher Alicia and I wanted to open this conversation because we know that, at school, putting a child down for a nap can be a huge feat. We can imagine that the transition from napping at school to napping at home, in addition to all the other recent changes that the kids have experienced, is bringing up new behaviors for some kids. At school, putting kids down looks different each day, new behaviors emerge each week (and sometimes only last for a week), some kids are transitioning out of nap, and some kids really fight naps when they need them the most! While Teacher Alicia and I do not have all the answers, we know specific kids, we know what they like to read and which types of books help them calm down, and we both have used many different techniques to put kids to sleep.
Tips and Tricks
Neither of these lists are exhaustive! We may also tell you things that you already know. If you’re having trouble and you’ve already tried everything on these lists, please get in touch! 
Things we do to help kids rest:
  • Read 1-2 books out loud in a quiet, calming voice – some kids need more books than this, some kids need a firm boundary of only 2 books, and some kids will read an entire stack of books to themselves to help them go to sleep. Ask us for more info!
  • Sound machines – if you don’t have one, you can try this calming rain sound video
  • Music – we use the same playlist every day so that the Oaksters associate the songs with sleeping. Here’s Teacher Alicia’s playlist!
  • Make sure they have all their comforting things near them and ready in case they need themAt school, this means their water bottle, tissues, family picture, stuffies, dolls, or occasionally a special toy from home. Some Oaksters also use the bathroom more than once before going to sleep! For some children, the process of gathering all of these things is part of their nap time routine.
  • Noise blocking headphones/sleep masks – Some children may need a little extra help blocking out the outside world!
  • Match their energy – If a child is really high energy at the beginning of nap time, you may need to match this energy in your calming techniques. This is a bit difficult to explain, but you might need to rock your child a little faster, use a rocking chair when you normally just pat their back, etc.
Tips for adults putting kids to sleep:
  • Try to remain as calm as possible – This is so hard! And no one is perfect! But if you notice yourself getting anxious, taking deep breaths, singing/humming, shushing, or rocking with your child in a rocking chair may help you and your child to calm down. Also, see the next bullet point 🙂
  • Let go of the expectation that your child will sleep – Sometimes, they might just not sleep that day. On days that are particularly frustrating, you can set a timer for how long you’ll try to put your child to sleep (30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour?), and then set aside some quiet, restful toys they can play with if they don’t sleep. You can also try a story podcast or the recordings we sent out last week – Imagination Meditation and the recording of Teacher Alicia reading a book.
We hope this email is helpful, and please let us know if you have any questions! Thanks for all the feedback last week!
Sending you well wishes,
Teachers Alicia and Eliza