How Do You Get Kids to Sleep in Summer?

PROVIDERS!!! I need your help. Summer is looming. I’ve had a few sick/half days that remind me that I have three big kids who don’t sleep, and then a bunch of littles who do. How do I preserve naptime when the big kids are here? How do you do it?

As it is, I have kids spread all over the first floor of my house for napping: kitchen, hallway, living room, play room. I have to do this because my kids are generally not natural nappers. They are a very social bunch who would much rather play and horse around than sleep. That’s why I keep them so spread apart. If they see each other, no sleeping.

Now, add the big kids into that. Do I just confine them to one room? It’s hard to do. They’ll sit for a short movie but after that they’re restless. If I can get the littles down they’ll sleep much longer than the bigs are willing to be quiet. And the bigs are also asking for snack, using the bathroom, going outside to play, running upstairs for a new toy, etc. etc. etc. etc. I actually do spend quiet time with them to (attempt to) keep them entertained, but they lose interest in me after half an hour.

I know some providers who sleep all the kids in one room – I don’t know how they do it! If I could manage that the bigs could move more freely, but I don’t see how I’ll get the littles to settle down to sleep. I’ve also seen dividers that some people use and when I’ve tried they just get knocked down. Does anyone have a good STURDY divider suggestion?

If you have secrets for me, please share! I’ll take all the help I can get. Thanks ladies!

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5 thoughts on “How Do You Get Kids to Sleep in Summer?

  1. Oh – the peril of mixed age groups! Yes, it is definitely hard to get the littles to sleep with the big ones around. I sometimes feel like all I say is “remember we have to try to be quiet and respectful because the little ones are trying to rest.” I do try to nap everyone in the same room, though, because it certainly does make it easier. I have strategically moved shelf units and such around as barriers, then you can hang blankets over them if they can see through. At one particularly hard juncture, I actually had a clothesline of sorts across my den that I put a pair of long curtains on that I pulled closed at nap time (I clipped them together and weighed down the bottoms with some heavy books, too). Good luck!

    • Thanks Sara – I love all the tactics you had to use to keep those curtains closed! I know what those little hands would be doing otherwise! My other problem is the big ones SLAMMING doors, or not closing them at all of course. Sigh. I’ll have to think about how many I can fit in the hallway… Thanks for your advice!

  2. Hello, My big kids spend nap quietly up stars but, they are Mine and enjoy a good nap, Haha. I put the troublemaker in a space by himself but right now, there are 4 kids sleeping in the other room with only a porta crib, laundry basket, and 2 buckle seats dividing them. No talking, no toys, stay on your beds, and heads down are the rules. I say quiet time and Shhhh alternately until they settle down. I expect them to rest and peer pressure helps! Also it’s very dark and the fans are going, you try to keep your eyes open with the fan blowing…they shut them and it’s all over. Make deals with the big kids about what you expect for each half hour of rest and reward them at the end with snack!

  3. My childcare is in the finished portion of my basement- so its me, and 5-6 kids a day, all day in one room. I have nappers for the most part, and they all nap in the same room. Everyone has a child sized cot and their own spot in the room. I play naptime music, which is pretty loud, but they sleep through it- and it drowns out the non-nappers for the most part. My advice would be designate a non-napper space, set up naptime rules and enforce them. Play a short movie, let them make playdough or snack for after nap, do a craft that you otherwise couldn’t do with the little ones, legos&puzzles, or other quiet type things. My nan-nappers still get a cot, which they stay on or next to, with puzzles, books, coloring pages, learning workbooks, etch a sketch, sticker books, anything that keeps them relatively quiet.
    By the way, went to your workshop 6/18 in worcester. I’ve only been doing home daycare for almost 3 years. I have been super stressed and exhausted with my current group of kiddos (mostly ages 1-4) and just hearing that you nd some of the other ladies go through the same things I do on a daily basis helped me know I am not alone! Thanks for sharing your experiences!!

    • Thanks Jenn – I like your idea of playing the music LOUD, I play it quiet hoping it won’t disturb them but loud might be a good option! I’m transitioning to summer now, different mix of kids every day, so I’m trying to get into the swing of things. Today my usual non-napper is sleeping, usual napper is wide awake, 2 others asleep, and one always-napper just got woken up by my son!! Oh well. If I can get 15 quiet minutes for lunch I should be happy, right?! Lower expectations for summer…

      Thanks for coming to my class! Yeah, I keep saying how amazing it is that we ALL deal with the same stuff. I love to see everyone’s head nodding yes when someone tells a story. Year three was when I really felt like I knew what I was doing – it took THAT long. It sounds like you have a very young group to boot. Hang in there – and you’re definitely not the only one feeling crazy!!

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