It's easy for little babies to sleep on a mat, but will your preschool-aged daughter nap?

How to Get Kids to Nap on a Mat

by Shara JJ Cooper

Things are going very well for you and your child. So well, in fact, that you feel ready to go back to work or to put her in preschool. She sleeps well and has a good routine. You're confident she'll transition well. But wait -- what about naps while you're away? You're told that she's going to be napping on a sleep mat. Hmm. That sounds like a challenge. She's used to sleeping in her dark, comfortable room. Not on a cool floor with other kids. Oh, dear. You need to start preparing her for this change now, so she knows what to expect.

Talk to her before her first day of preschool, so she'll know what's going to happen. Explain that she is going to go to daycare and she can have her naps there. It will be just like home, you say. Make it sound fun so she isn't intimidated.

Set up the nap mat in her room during nap time and give her the option to sleep on it. Give her familiar items, like her blanket and favorite stuffie. Encourage her to lay on the mat by being there on the mat with her. Keep everything else in her routine the same, including the time of the nap and the amount of light in the room.

Send her blanket and stuffie with her to daycare when she starts going. They'll bring her a lot of comfort at nap time. The floor is cooler, too, so she'll need a blanket to help her rest. Explain to the staff what you're doing and that you want her to have her fave comfy things with her during this transition.

Items you will need

  • Nap mat


  • If you have an older toddler or preschooler, she may be more comfortable skipping naps. If so, tell her that she doesn't have to sleep during nap time but that she does have to lay down on her mat during quiet time. Hopefully, she'll start napping when she's adjusted to the new routine. But if she isn't napping, you'll need to put her to bed earlier.

About the Author

Shara JJ Cooper graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2000, and has worked professionally ever since. She has a passion for community journalism, but likes to mix it up by writing for a variety of publications. Cooper is the owner/editor of the Boundary Sentinel, a web-based newspaper.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images