Sit and do nothing for 30 minutes.

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011 ( 46 moms have responded )

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No, really. Don't do anything. Don't read, don't talk to some one, don't watch TV, don't do anything. Just lay down in a dark room and be quiet, but don't fall asleep.

Now imagine trying to do that at the age of 5.

My daughter is five years old and is being made to do this every day at school. She doesn't nap. She hasn't napped in two years (sadly) and is being forced to lie on a mat in a room and do nothing for 30 minutes. Nothing.

I asked if she could read a book quietly. "Sure," I'm told "No problem." Yes, it is a problem. They want her to wait 30 minutes until all the other kids are asleep before they'll give her a book. After 30 minutes the kids that aren't asleep are allowed to get up and choose a quiet work to do. So effectively, no, she's NOT allowed to read quietly.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed off about this. I've talked to the teacher and the director and it's getting no where. I'm going to go in and have a pow-wow with the director soon if we don't get this straightened out soon.

So what are your thoughts, ladies? Am I over-reacting here? Is sitting and doing absolutely NOTHING for 30 minutes too much to ask of a five year old?

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Charlie - posted on 08/30/2011

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No I dont think its too much to ask but I do think she needs to wait until the rest of the children have settled first the only other choice really would be to have her secluded from everyone else at rest time because it does make it incredibly hard for other children to settle when they think something is going on .

Like I said earlier I think the ability to sit quietly without outside stimulation is important , children as young as 4 are quite capable of doing this ...personally I think adults would benefit from 30 minutes of this too.

I dont know... I guess I see it from the teachers perspective , I can understand that there are children who dont wish to sleep and thats fine she should have a book after the others are down which wouldnt be more than 15 - 20 minutes.

Montessori is almost the same as Reggio philosophy , we had almost the exact same "rest time" the thing is most children at that age havent learnt to settle their mind or their body , they run off the surrounding stimulation of the enviroment, this is why they will often get all the children to have rest time at the same time and not offer the ones who do not wish to rest an activity or book until the others are asleep ..otherwise you have one or two kids wanting a book as well , then the child next to them wants one too even though they are so tired their eyes are falling out of their head, then the next two think oh well they are reading Im going to sit up and chat , then little Jhonny wants to go to the toilet but really he just wants to walk around because everyone else is doing something , and now everyone is wide awake, overtired and going nuts .....argh its a nightmare...this is one of those small times during the day IMO the children need to settle and relax at the same time , if they sleep they sleep , if not then IMO they should have the opportunity to do something quietly after the others are down .

Nikki - posted on 08/31/2011

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Sorry I haven't read the second page. I would just demand that they give her a book. I am not sure about regulations in the US, but in Australia you are not allowed to leave kids on a bed with nothing to do for such a long time, of course they are going to get bored and play up.

We always separated our sleepers and non sleepers into 2 areas, the non sleepers would rest, listening to music for ten minutes then they would read stories and close to waking up time for the other group they would have quiet activities.

To be honest, it doesn't really matter what they think or what their policies are, you are her parent and you have the right to decide on her behalf what is best for her. I wouldn't put up with that.

Konni - posted on 08/31/2011

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I would be pissed even in public school. I would also wish them best of luck to try & get my daughter to lay down for 30 mins & do nothing! She doesn't nap and most 5 year olds I know don't nap daily, their big kids now who go to full-time school I think the idea that they still have nap time is ridiculous. Quiet time sure, where they can quietly sit down for a little bit, read and wind down. In my younger daughters daycare, I have the choice if she naps or not (she's 4) and if she doesn't nap she goes into the bigger kids room. I don't like her to nap, she goes to Kindy 2 days a week & they don't have naptime there!

[deleted account]

I guess i am going to go against everyone....and say its a good thing to teach children meditative thought. 30 minutes of down time with some light relaxing music or in perfect silence is great,. I think 30 minutes is a lot to ask of a 5 year old, but its still a good lesson to instill.

Charlie - posted on 08/29/2011

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We did this at our school , most 5 year olds slept but there would always be one or two awake , we would spend the first half hour reading a story and the second half hour was for resting , we believe children need down time reguardless of sleep they need to learn to relax ...hey some adults need to learn to relax IMO .

In the last 10 minutes when kids are waking up we generally give them a book to read on their bed but not before because the children who do still need their rest want to stay up , they want a book too they force themselves awake because they think they are missing out and it creates hellish overtired children overstimulated by the other kids.

We also used to play music during rest time and sometimes I would put the projector on and make a kaleidascope roof with rainbow plastic and the kids ( 4-5years ) would learn visualisation and meditation , perhaps an idea you could offer your school ? ...I mean kids have great imaginations when they learn to focus it , rest time can be very beneficial even when awake.

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Mrs. - posted on 09/01/2011

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Its funny, I thought this was going to be a post on taking the time for yourself each day to meditate, deep breathe and listen to music.

I'm not sure this is bad skill to develop. It is one I still try to do.

Anywho, you/your kid aren't crazy about it. So, I'm wondering, would it be okay to have her listen to an Ipod? She could listen to stories,children's audiobooks or music. Would this not be allowed? I'm just thinking, the teacher could give it to her after the other kids have settled and take it from her when rest time is done.

I don't know, just putting it out there. I guess it is no different than a book, but maybe it could work. Maybe not.

Montessori schools are just different. Sometimes there are huge benefits, sometimes there are negatives, like it isn't a super easy fix with a principal that is help accountable to a specific curriculum and standards. Maybe, this might be one of those things you put up with because the benefits of putting her in a Montessori school far outweigh this one thing.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 09/01/2011

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Talk to the principal because this idea seriously sucks. I didn't even know about kindergartens that still did nap time. My older daughter was in full day last year and no one napped! And this full day was at a Catholic school. I don't know if that's much different from a montessori school.



However no you aren't over reacting. I can't even have my nearly 6 month old be in the car without something to do anymore!

Kate CP - posted on 09/01/2011

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Alison: The beads are something we are all participating in. So if my husband does something kind for me, like loads the dishwasher, I put a bead in the jar. The beads are actually flower arranging stones. You can get them just about anywhere. :)

Alison - posted on 09/01/2011

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Those sound like good solutions. The love light thing sounds really cool. So do you put a glass bead in when your daughter makes a good choice or does she put one in when she fells happy--or both? And where do you get the glass beads? I think that sounds cool.

[deleted account]

No, I don't think you are overreacting at all. They should be able to accommodate sleepers and non -sleepers at the same time. Lots of 5 YOs don't nap! Can you give her her own book to use during naptime?

Kate CP - posted on 08/31/2011

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Okay, I feel like very few are really getting what I'm saying. Number one, this is a Montessori school so what is perceived to be "the norm" is not. The children are allowed to pick their own works, work alone or with a group, walk around and converse with other children, or even teach other children a work they have mastered on their own. They do not have desks. They do not have homework. They do not eat in a cafeteria. They do not do paper work (unless it's something like learning to write where they are forming letters). This is not a typical kindergarten and as such it doesn't have the typical layout or rules. Montessori is very different from traditional education.

Two, I had a conference with the teacher and the director of the school today. There are several things we will be working on at home and in the classroom to help Samantha learn how to be at peace with herself and to respect others. The teacher is allowing Samantha to bring a book of her own and a small stuffed animal as a security item to help Samantha feel more at ease in the room while the lights are down and everyone is quiet. Samantha will be practicing how to meditate with me at home for a minute at a time and we will slowly increase that time as she gets better and better.

We are also instilling the "love light" system that her teacher uses at school for at home. This is how it works: Inside all of us is a light, a love light. And when we see things or do things that make us happy, that light shines brighter and brighter. When we see or do things that makes us sad or angry, that light dims a little bit. So every time a person does something nice, or helps out, or makes a good choice, their love light shines brighter. To show this we take a glass bead and drop it in a jar. It makes a pretty noise that you can hear all through the house AND is shows how many good choices we can make in a day.

Lastly, I have to admit that when I first sat down and wrote this all out I was pretty pissed off. I had heard one thing from my daughter, another thing from her teacher (on the phone), and still hadn't heard back from the director of the school. After going to the school today and observing the class during nap time (or quiet time) and speaking with both the teacher and the director I feel a lot better about things. I have always wanted to move forward and find a solution to this problem, not slap a bandaid on it or place blame. Each child is unique and has individual needs. As long as those needs can be met and NOT at the expense of the class, I believe we should strive to achieve that goal. And in this case I believe the teacher and I are all on the same page and are working toward that goal: to help Samantha to thrive in her environment.

[deleted account]

My daughter refused point blank(not rudely or in an aggressive manner) to do this and wear a bib at meal times in daycare.She was one and a half and very advanced, out of nappys etc.She told them no.She was made but it did not work.So they did not make her.



I got her at 1oclock each day.She went to another room were the babys were at 12.30 so she didn't have to nap with the kids who did(as they were there all day from 8 in the morning).My daughter was a toddler and they could not force her.



Why make your daughter nap at this age to?

If she does not want to.

Does your daughter really find it hard to sit quietly?.



All i will say is there has to be a compromise.Its not going to kill them to give your child that.If shes finding it stressful to sit for 30mins.



**I also have a 2&half year old who has not taken a nap during the day since she was 9mths.My first would not sleep in day from about the same age to.I was also like this as a kid, still am really.Sleeping is for night time.Personally speaking.My kids sleep right through at night.There great sleepers.

Elfrieda - posted on 08/31/2011

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I think you might be over-reacting a smidge. I remember feeling very insulted that they would think I needed A NAP like A BABY but I just lay there and imagined things, and i think it actually was a good, restful part of the day.



Maybe you could help her get through it by asking her to imagine something during naptime, and tell you about it when she gets home from school. For example, tell her a story about one of her stuffed animals, who went into "Rainbow Land" or whatever and had exciting adventures with going over waterfalls, and making friends with the squirrel that lives in the magic forest, and how there's this big castle with lots of secret passageways. And then ask her to think of what might happen to the stuffed animal next, and she can think of it during naptime.



This is just off the top of my head, you could make it better and more suited to what she's interested in. That way it could be a positive time instead of her knowing that you and her teacher (probably she loves her, too) are angry with each other. Kids pick up on the tension so quickly.

[deleted account]

I still take a nap in the afternoon.....always have. Right after work or school i would come home nap for a half hour then do house work or w.e. I just nap when Gabby does now.

Mary - posted on 08/31/2011

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I get the concept of quiet or down time for her age range - but 30 minutes of nothing at that age is a little long, IMO. My daughter is not quite 3, and there are those days where I know she is tired, but fights laying down. Like most parents, I have found that placing her in her room, with the shades down, and absolutely no stimulus usually does result in her falling asleep, even when she is fighting it. However, we are talking about a 5 y/o, and many of them have outgrown the need for naps. I could understand telling her that she has to lay quietly for even 15 minutes, but why she can't have a book next to her that she could start to quietly read after that period has passed and she hasn't fallen asleep seems just asinine. It would seem more disruptive to the others to have them lay there and then get up and find a "quiet" activity to pass the rest of the time. 30 minutes seems unduly long to me for a 5 y/o to just lay there like a lump if they are not tired.

Sherri - posted on 08/31/2011

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@Lissa My 5 yr old and kindergartner still needs to nap and does for an hour everyday.

@Kate a lot of schools have quiet time where children are expected to lay down and do just that for about a half hour. It is recommended for children to have down time.

You also can't allow your daughter to do something that no other child can do. Same rules for all children. I find this is the norm here in all schools that are all day for that age. So honestly I am not quite understanding the problem?

Lissa - posted on 08/31/2011

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I don't understand why they are trying to get 5 year olds to nap either! Here we go to nursery for half days age 3-4/5 then full school days 9am-3pm, napping at five and at school seems weird to me.
Dig your heels in here and demand she get her book at the very beginning of "nap time".

Alison - posted on 08/30/2011

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I wonder if an mp3 player would be too distracting according to the teachers. You can download free books at booksshouldbefree.com or music and she can listen quietly without turning pages etc. I imagine it would still be a little distracting, but maybe not as much as turning pages of a book or playing music for the whole class. I saw in another discussion that you thought you might end up homeschooling. I don't know if you're serious or not, but there are a lot of resources and programs now. I'm going to an info meeting tomorrow on one where I work with a certified teacher to develop a plan and give weekly and monthly reports. Plus, there are classes available during the week I can choose to send my kids to. It's not traditional homeschooling, but I think it will be a good compromise for me and my husband on the homeschooling front. I've already bought some curriculum after reading reviews on homeschoolreviews.com and there's lots of free material online too--like amblesideonline.com

Erin - posted on 08/30/2011

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They play music at my daughter's daycare. She is in the 2-3yo class, so most of them still sleep, but occasionally some don't. They lay quietly listening to the music while the rest fall asleep (15mins-ish) and then they can read or draw.

Jane - posted on 08/30/2011

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When I was a kid I welcomed this quiet time because then I could daydream, or as my daughter calls it, tell myself a story. Could she try doing that?

Mary - posted on 08/30/2011

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WTH?? As someone who just lived through 3 days without electricity, I can tell you, it sucks. But hey - what the hell do you do once it gets dark, and you're not yet sleepy? I was so bored, I actually did read with a flashlight! So, if my adult ass can't do it, I think it's unreasonable to expect that of your 5 y/o.

Why the hell can't she read a book? At least that way her time would be spent productively AND quietly. To me, reading for pleasure IS downtime.

Tara - posted on 08/30/2011

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Just wait until they tell you she might have adhd because she can't lie still for 30 minutes and do nothing at all.

No kidding it might happen, I've been witness to it.
Stand your ground and don't back down. She needs stimulation at school. If the other kids don't need it at that time of day, fine but she does and she shouldn't have to sit idly doing nothing while her peers catch a few zzzzz's.

They should have an alternate room for the kids who don't/can't/won't sleep.

Silly to tell kids they are tired and need down time when they know they don't.

Merry - posted on 08/30/2011

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Now it is good to learn to think forfun, but not with no stimulation for thoughts I think,in the car we would look out the window and sit quietly, imagine things, stories, etc. Fine. Or if it was dark we would have music on and listening to music quietly is not mean. But silence and darkness? That's just too much I think she needs something to stimulate her imagination if she's expected to lay still and quiet for a half hour when she isn't tired. Sheesh. No adult I know would be happy with that arrangement, although I'd love a quiet dark room to nap in :P

Merry - posted on 08/30/2011

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I don't see anything wrong with being upset! I sure would be! She should be able to read for those 30 minutes, I could see making her lay down, but she should be able to have a book! That's not too much to ask, IMO all the kids could have a book, the tired ones would fall asleep and the not tired ones would read!
Also I like the idea of a kaleidoscope projection on the ceiling, just starts or something, even that should help her if she really isn't allowed a damn book. Or music, that could help too if it's something she can listen to or it can at least spark her imagination. Or honestly I think the best situation is to ask the parents if their specific child needs a nap, if yes, put them in the dark quiet room, if no then take them to another room, sure the nap kids might make a fit about not going with the other kids but just don't tell them! Idk, split up the room, nappers and non nappers. There has to be a solution here.
But this is one reason I'm glad I'm homeschooling, yeah it's good for kids to learn to 'deal' with things that aren't specifically for them but every day for a half hour is too much to expect for a kid.

Katherine - posted on 08/30/2011

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I don't remember this being 5. This is totally unrealistic. She should at least be able to READ!!!!

Kate CP - posted on 08/30/2011

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The Montessori principal is based on the ideal of "following the child" which means you follow their lead. If they are getting restless and acting bored then take a break from what you are doing and try something else. If they are acting tired and worn out, let them nap. Montessori is VERY individualized, which is why my family and I like it so much. My mother is a Montessori teacher, I was raised in a Montessori environment, and so is my daughter.

That is why this upsets me so much. This teacher is not following the child's needs, but trying to mold the child to her surroundings. That is another thing that Montessori taught: the mold the surroundings to the child, not vice versa. Instead of my daughter feeling normalized in her surroundings, she feels upset and chaotic. That is not an ideal environment for learning and growing.

If this were your typical public school I probably wouldn't be so irked by this. I would probably shrug it off and say "It is what it is and she'll have to deal with it." But this ISN'T a public school. It's a Montessori school with certain teaching and behavioral principals that should be followed. And if they aren't following those rules that Maria Montessori laid out for us all those years ago then I feel it's my job as a mother and a fellow Montessorian to guide them back onto the path.

Sorry about the rant, just now enjoying my first cup of coffee...so things may read a little disjointed. :P

Anna - posted on 08/30/2011

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I don't think you're wrong to be upset. However, I can't really know that the teacher is in the wrong either. This is one of the main reasons I am considering homeschooling. In a classroom of 25 kids (or whatever it is) the teachers need to make decisions based largely on group dynamic and often at the expense of the individual child. I don't blame them and I understand why this is the case, but as a mother, I want my child's needs to come before everything else. Personally, I think it's your duty to work with the teacher and explore every alternative, but ultimately you need to understand that it's her classroom and she has other children to consider.

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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Samantha goes to Montessori school so she's not really in any grade at all. She's with kids her age range, between 3 and 6.

Jurnee - posted on 08/29/2011

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When I worked in preschool, most of our kids would nap, but the ones who didnt were allowed to lie on their cot with a book and read or look at pictures. Some of them actually would fall asleep reading.After most of the nappers fell asleep(about 20 min) the others were allowed to draw or color,or I would read to them. The only rule was they had to be quiet and respectful of those who were resting. I think they should provide some alternative. Also, if your daughter is 5 is she in kindergarten, because I know my children didnt have nap time then.

[deleted account]

Yeah, I didn't mean YOU should pick her up early. ;)

That's the same issue (I think) that my mom had w/ my school before she finally convinced the teachers to let me do something else during nap time.

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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...and I have to admit, I'm pissed about this. I was told that she could read a book and it turns out she can't. I was told one thing when I enrolled her and it turns out it's not what I was told. I guess I wouldn't be so pissed off if they hadn't presented the situation in a certain light and then switched it on me.

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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I can't pick her up early, though. She's in primary school and will miss a good portion of her day if I pick her up before nap time.

Part of the problem is she's causing a worse disturbance by being so damn bored than (I believe) she would be if she had a book. I'm worried that at this point her teacher has turned this into a power struggle.

[deleted account]

I don't think so, but on the other hand I can see how that could make the other kids not want to settle down. Until my nephew's mom started picking him up early.... he was just laying there for an hour and a half. That's what she said, at least, but I can't picture that boy holding still for even 5 minutes, so.... ??

Maybe a compromise could be 15 minutes? I don't know. Good luck w/ it though!

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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So am I wrong for thinking that giving her a book to read quietly is too much to ask?

[deleted account]

My 4.5 year old nephew hasn't napped since he was barely 2. His preschool has an hour and a half nap time. His mom now picks him up before nap time. I WANT to leave my son for naptime cuz he needs to nap and won't at home since being weaned, but he's not quite adjusted enough for me to leave him that long. When I was in preschool/daycare my mom had to make special arrangements for me to have something to do since I wasn't napping anymore.

I love the nap option for those kids that need it, but since many kids do quit napping by 2... there should be an alternative.

[deleted account]

I see the school's (or is it a day care?) position--if she is doing something else, the other kids who need to sleep will want to do that too, and they will miss out on the sleep they need.

I think sitting and thinking is a lost art these days. It may sound lazy, but I LOVE to just sit and do nothing for a few minutes. It gives me time to reflect on my day, think about my ambitions, organize my memories, set goals, and sometimes, I just daydream about being some place else--it's relaxing. It literally slows my pulse and puts me in an instantly good mood. I agree 30 minutes is a long time for a 5 yr old, perhaps 15-20 minutes would be more suitable, but I do think the quiet time doing nothing is actually good for us, and might be good for her too. We don't always have to be occupied. In fact, thinking on our own strengthens the creative parts of our mind--teach her to make up her own stories during the quiet time, she could be an accomplished author one day.

Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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They've been attempting to get her to do this for 4 weeks and it hasn't gotten any better.

I have NO problem with quiet time. I have no problem with nap time. I have a problem with people trying to force my kid to nap when she hasn't napped in damn near three years. She doesn't like it. She doesn't need it. She sleeps at least twelve hours a night. If they would let her read I while she sat there I would be pleased as punch. But they make her sit there and do N O T H I N G and be silent for 30 minutes. SHE'S FIVE. I don't even think an adult can just sit there and do NOTHING for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the kids that are still awake are allowed to get up and do quiet work. That's fine, I have no problem with that. I have a problem with expecting too much from my daughter. She doesn't have a short attention span at all. But lying there with nothing to do, no one to talk to, in total silence for thirty minutes is too much to ask of a five year old.

Rosie - posted on 08/29/2011

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i think it's a good idea for some of them to rest. i don't doubt that most children have given up naps by age 5, mine middle boy gave his up before age 2, my oldest at around age 4, my youngest is 4 and is slowly transitioning out of naps, although i think he still needs them-he fell asleep on the couch today.

my middle son had "nap" time in kindergarten last year, and he had no problems with laying down, even though he hadn't taken naps since he was not quite 2. so while i see it could be annoying to lay there, i honestly don't think it would hurt her to do it, and could teach her to listen to directions while they're at it. i do agree that she could read quietly or something as a compromise, but i honestly don't think it's going to affect her in anyway, and our children surprise us with what they are capable of doing sometimes. :)

Medic - posted on 08/29/2011

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Is she in kinder? Kinder here does not have nap time...which my son wishes they did. I would think they should have something to do for the ones that do not sleep.

Johnny - posted on 08/29/2011

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Is there not a way that they can place her somewhere else to read or play while the other children nap? At my daughter's preschool, not all of the children nap. Some either have given up naps and some are transitioning to kindergarten so are working to give them up. They send those kids outside or into the other room during nap time. The situation your daughter is in sounds rather inflexible.

Lady Heather - posted on 08/29/2011

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Not as energized or possibly just sleeping more at night and doesn't need it during the day. I'd bet more on the latter. My daughter doesn't always nap and she's just over 2. She has a ton of energy. But she sleeps at least 12-13 hours a night.

I googled out of curiosity and around 3/4 of kid stop napping before age 5. So the nappers would be in the minority. You'd think they'd have something to cater to the majority who don't nap. I guess bright side - could be good for her imagination? Can't think of any other bonuses.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 08/29/2011

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My son has a lot of energy since around 2 and so at 5 when he had to lay down I felt it was needed.
Im guessing your daughter is not as energized so I can see where she does not need the rest time.
I would talk to them as well

Stifler's - posted on 08/29/2011

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And yeah at 5 years old at least give them something to do if they don't nap, at any age. That is mean.

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