Daycare Kids Refusing to Rest

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Ever since my two year old transitioned out of (started climbing out of) the crib about 2 months ago, the other daycare kids (ages 3 & 4) as well as my two year old will not stay down for quiet time. We have had a consistent routine every day after lunch of reading books aloud and quietly until everyone has used the bathroom, gotten drinks, etc. & are ready to go to their own rooms for quiet time and they all will usually fall asleep. Lately they have literally been bouncing off of the walls. They refuse to stay in bed and usually tag team getting up with lame excuses. I have been marching them back to bed kindness and firmness and they are still getting up. I have also tried using advice in the Positive Discipline childcare provider book and have yet to see results. Having the kids nap in the same room is an even bigger disaster. When my attention is on one child who has gotten up another one gets up and runs around and jumps all over (literally) and so on. I spend the entire time trying to get them to go down and using the advice in Positive. Discipline by taking them back to their beds over and over. If they don't get naps or at least some down time, they are impossible in the afternoon. We have pretty regular & consistent routines and physical activity. I am at my wits end!!! They have me right where they want me &I don't know what else to do. Not to mention that I need the down time as well! This constant battle is also taking away from the one on one time I used to have with my 5 year old during the day.



Family childcare provider


Hi Lareesa,

I remember those days so well. Many years ago, I started a preschool program in my home so I could stay home with my young children. I was able to gain cooperation from all the kids (as soon as their mothers left) except my own. Sometimes I sent my children to be cared for by a neighbor while I took care of 15 other children. I know a bit more now and have a few suggestions. If none of them work, you might try finding a neighbor who will take your child during naptime.

  1. Try the quiet time routine charts. You might do one for the whole group, showing pictures of them all doing the tasks on the routine chart, and individual charts for each child to follow. Then ask them, "What is next on our (or your) quiet time routine chart?" Remember to ask them not to tell them.
  2. Involve the four-year olds in a secret problem-solving session. Let them know, "I need your help. What ideas do you have to help me solve the quiet time problems? How could you help me?"
  3. When you take them back to their beds over and over, I'm wondering if they can feel your emotional frustration. Sometimes it does require taking them back over and over for several days before they feel the kindness and firmness at the same time and settle into a new routine. However, if they feel your frustration, that is an invitation to power struggles.
  4. Do you have a network of other child care providers? It can be very helpful to ask others how they have handled this situation. If you find something that works better than any of our suggestions, it would be wonderful if you would share it with us. We would use it in a workbook we are preparing to go along with Positive Discipline for Childcare Providers, and would be happy to use your name if you would like.

You certainly do need the down time as well. Hopefully this adjustment time will pass soon. My guess is that you are a child care provider for the same reasons I did it you enjoy children and you would like to stay home with your own. Hopefully you will find it worth it to put up with some frustration (and there are many in every job) so you can enjoy the benefits.

My best to you,

Jane Nelsen