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Our 0-2's setting is experiencing issues with meeting parents wishes regarding letting children sleep during their day at nursery.


Following a team meeting we have found conflicting views regarding whether we should keep children awake (following parents wishes) or allow them to sleep - afterall we are here to meet the children's individual needs, but at the same time we are required to consider parents wishes.


I use the term consider - and hopefully get across to parents that it is not always possible to keep a child awake - as it is not always appropriate to wake them after just 1/2 an hour.


Our keyworker system allows us to liaise with parents each morning - and keyworkers are informed of the child's sleep patterns during the night - which is a good indicator as to how much sleep the child may require during the day.


My personal issue is that I do not require my staff to keep children awake all day - so they fall asleep on the way home and parents are left to an evening of peace and quite - but I also wouldn't expect them to let children sleep for long periods in the late afternoon ( I am a parent myself, and realise the fustration of trying to put a child to bed, following a long afternoon nap)


Keyworkers DO meet individual children's needs - we do not have set sleep times within our routine - but I am really struggling with how to reach a compromise with some parents.


I have advised staff that they should review each childs individual routine on a more regular basis -and adapt it to meet the child's changing needs in conjuction with parents wishes, but I am wondering if a written policy for parents on this issue would be a good idea??


I suppose what I am looking for is a written policy on sleeping children, that meets the needs of the children, considers parents wishes and makes life a little easier for my practitioners - any suggestions or comments would be welcome.

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Hi kellogs and welcome!


Cant help you with your particular problem but as a parent I found it virtually impossible o keep my children awake if they wanted to sleep and as a reception class teacher I have had children fall asleep in my classroom--also very difficult to prevent! A tired child becomes very fractious and can present behavioural issues too, and I would have thought needs to be allowed to sleep.


However, hopefully someone with the experience in this sector will be along soon----perhaps they are still at work??!!

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Hi Kellogs, I've worked in a couple of settings where the children are allowed to choose their own sleep time. if they look sleepy they are provided with a place to sleep either in the playroom or in an adjoining room. I havent come across parents objecting to their child having a sleep so cant help with that area but I do know some children are woken up after 1/2 hour or so. I personnaly dont like it but at least they've had some sleep. Have you tried talking to the parents about how important sleep is to young childrens development? Children cant learn if they are tired, cold, hungry and we as childrcare workers seek to keep them comfortable. I do sometimes wonder about the clash that can occur when parents views are against our training and codes of practice. If a parent told us to 'smack him if he's naughty' we would be horrified and explain why we cant, but on the other hand I wouldnt want a member of staff telling me what was best for my child either. Sorry I have been absolutly no help :o

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Well, our setting follows children's needs, although we liaise very closely with parents, too. If, say an older child was continually appearing tired and fractious, we might discuss this this parents (depending on how amenable they are :o ) - in fact recently we have done this in my Unit. The parents responded by bringing his bedtime forward (he is mornings only) and the change in him is amazing!! No more behaviour issues and much more energy and enthusiasm.....




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Hello Kellogs' welcome to the forum and thank you for such an interesting first post topic for discussion. I think your approach is considerate of all and you have practically written your policy within the statements you have made.

I think that keyworker relationship with parents on this matter is crucial and there can be no blanket everything fits all approach. This is similar to childrens toileting development, individual and paramount that it is in partnership with parents. Partnership meaning negotiated discussion on a professional basis ensuring the child is at the centre of the decisions made. Also these skills / routines change on an individual basis, and their progress will have hiccups, depending on external factors linked with emotional development etc.

I think we have all experienced parents wanting us to 'keep children awake' to stop them being awake all night. We explain to parents that we will try to follow their wishes but ultimately we cannot stop a child falling asleep, we do however discuss different strategies, one of them being regular bedtimes even though a child may not seem ready for sleep, without stimulation and attention in the evenings they are more likley to sleep earlier. It still amazes me how many children tell us they eat in front of the TV and stay up until they fall asleep on the sofa before being taken to bed. :o

In my own experience my grandson came to preschool ( daughter works with me) from age 2 yrs, all day 4 days a week, he would stay awake, sometimes becoming grumpy in the afternoon, we would then play quiet restful games with him, (he wouldn't sleep in case he missed something- inquisite lad through and through xD ). As soon as we got in the car to go home at 4pm, he would fall asleep, sleeping for the 20 minute journey home then waking refreshed. He still maintained an early bedtime (6-30 to 7pm). This 'cat nap' seemed to take the edge off his tiredness but didn't disturb his night time routine.


Good luck, as I said your approach seems really sensible.



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Thanks so much for your responses xx


Having mulled over this for most of this afternoon - and reading your responses, I think the best way will be to write an article for our next newsletter on the importance of sleep for young children.


Then at our next team meeting - implement a policy with the staff, along the lines of ' individual sleep issues will be discussed with keyworkers/parents to formulate an appropriate sleep strategy to meet the needs of indiviudal children, where parental wishes will be considered. This will be reviewed as the child's needs change. ( or something along those lines ) Making it clear to staff that they need to work in partnership with parents on individual basis ( rather than an overall policy)- when drawing up sleep routines and strategies. Basically get them to talk more to the parents and make decisions together???


The newsletter article can then be used during meeting with parents when discussing sleep issues - so they can see things from the Nurseries point of view. Does this make sense???


Hope so!


Thanks again for your responses - any suggestions for the newsletter article would be welcome???


Forgot to mention that one of my staff members suggested a consultation activity with parents - sending out a questionairre asking for thier views and suggestions - before implmenting any kind of policy - that way they have made a positive contribution , and more likely to take on board any ' policy/procedure'


Liked that idea- so thought I would share with you

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