I am a new preschool teacher wondering.. What is the most effective way to settle 4-yr.-olds down for NAPTIME?

Question:There are about 10 to 12 children. I don't want to sound mean to them, but I also DO want to be FIRM. Any tips?

Answers:
THUMBS UP for the first answer!
i'll just add that the music shouldn't be too loud or it will stimulate them..
the nap room should have curtains:)
you can read them a story using a very low tone of voice so that they are forced to calm down to listen..

you dont have to be firm ,if you create the correct nap mood and use the whisper tone for talking they WILL settle down... i guess if a child is still active.. well ..after all it's only a nap.. if someone doesnt feel like napping i dont think this is a problem he\she could spend this time doing anything else...or what do you think?
edit: somebody told me this could be considered an advertisement so i'll erase the part i suggested that kind of music...
put on soft music (classical type) and get them to lay down and (get theatrical with them... ) tell them to close their eyes and picture what the music is telling them. softly tell a story as they lay there and before you know it, they'll be out.

If not, and they refuse to settle down, enforce consequences. Ahead of time, let them know that during nap time this is what you expect, and if they don't do that, then this is what will happen... loss of playtime, etc. If they don't comply, follow through with the consequences and I bet the next day they will follow the rules. Reward them for good behavior. After naptime they get a special treat or prize from the treasure box.

Don't let them do hyper activities right before naptime. Transistion them. Read a story or play a "quiet" game before naptime. If they are running around they aren't going to easily settle down.
u just tell then that u are going to bring cockis the next day or sumthing like that
smoothe them into taking a nap, music or your voice.
Do something quiet to help them settle down. We used to have them wash up and go to the bathroom after lunch and take a book on their cots. We'd have a short quiet time then collect the books. We'd dim the lights, play quiet music and rub backs. Remember that not all children need to sleep. Our rule was that everyone had to rest for the first half hour then the ones who didn't fall asleep could take books or quiet toys such as puzzles on their cots. As a matter of fact, the state regulations in NY require that you accommodate kids who don't sleep.
Rub there backs for 1 min each, play soft music, and tell them if they do not go to sleep or rest quietly you will not rub their backs anymore
Have them lie down & then make it a routine that the first 10 minutes of naptime you read poetry to them.
I can tell you what they did in my childrens preschool as I use to work there myself. Is first commit to a routine, while the kids were eating lunch, we would pull out their nap matts and put their sheets on and wait until they were done. then they would turn on the radio lightly to jazz. lights out and sit there quietly. Doing this every day the kids developed a habit. Quickly!
Make sure you get them outside to burn energy in the morning. Even if it's only 10 or 15 minutes outside it will help. Do music and movement activities indoors for extra active play. Then before lunch change to a calmer atmosphere, quiet activities and such, gearing them down so to speak for nap. Do they go straight from lunch to nap? Mine did and I'd have them wash hands, go potty and get a book to take to their cots. Once everyone was on cots, they'd put the books under their cots and try to go to sleep (they'd also be able to get their books out if they woke up early, sometimes I'd even stick other toys under their cots to keep them occupied if I knew they were early risers). Play calm music or find a like love song station to listen to during nap. I'd put towels or blankets over the blinds to make it darker and kept a night lite in the bathroom. You may have to pat or rub backs of some of them.

Think about the kids personalities when laying out the cots. Don't put two buddies next to each other if they won't stop playing and chatting. Or mortal enemies that won't stop fighting. It's a good idea to put a child who always naps next to one who doesn't. If you can, keep them farther then 2 feet apart not just for health reasons but so they don't bump each other or disturb each other.

Also (I fought with my director a lot over this one but) I never took my lunch break until at least an hour into nap. If someone else came in right after or during lunch they'd all be up when I'd get back.

Lastly try not to be a stickler if some kids don't nap (My mom says I stopped napping at about age 2 and did fine). Just find something quiet they can do on thier cots, or maybe there is another room they could play in, or an extra teacher (I know keep dreamin right) that could take them outside??
Well, the majority of 4 year olds have given up naps, so actually getting them to sleep might not happen. I imagine you are bound by licensing to provide a certain amount of rest time each day?

Previous posters have the right idea. You want to create a calm, quiet, restful setting for naptime. You might have better luck referring to it as "Quiet Time" or "Rest Time" rather than "Nap Time" as many children see naps as for babies and they don't nap anymore.

Assuming this is right after lunch, after they've all cleaned up and used the washroom, have a storytime. Turn on quiet restful music. Keep the blinds closed/lights low. Allow children to have a book and/or a special item to cuddle from home (special blanket or stuffie).

You'd be surprised how many resistant children will be more cooperative when told "You don't have to sleep, but you do have to stay on your cot/mat/whatever quietly." You might be surprised at how many end up falling asleep, too! LOL
Soft music is good. Maybe a story. If their old enough then you could have the look at books for awhile before the nap. I think there are some children who will not nap. As long as they stay on their mat and don't bother anyone then it is fine.
Put on music and half of them will knock out! But for those tough ones, I used to bribe them lol. "Whoever takes a nap gets a special surprise when they wake up!" Always worked and they love you!
Okay, the first rule of thumb is don't call it nap time. I know this sounds strange, but it's the right way to go. Call it "rest time" or something like that. Most preschoolers here the word nap and their instincts say "no nap". That seems to happen with just about EVERY preschooler. Regardless of what you call it, it can be successful if you keep a few things in mind:

Number 1: have a designated area for each child. Children are comfortable with things that are familiar. Have children lay in the same spot every day. If children keep each other awake with talking back and forth, separate those children, by putting them at opposite ends

Number 2: offer an alternate activity to napping. This can generally be accomplished by saying "you don't have to sleep, but you need to stay on your cot/sleeping bag/mat and read a book quietly" or something along those lines

Number 3: let children bring in a favorite stuffed toy or blanket to sleep with. Some children simply refuse to sleep or even attempt to sleep without their comfort toy or blanket.

Number 4: don't serve snack right before nap time, or you will constantly have children getting up to go to the bathroom. Also don't have nap time immediately following recess without an unwind/quiet time first so that children can get back into quiet mode.

Number 5: read a story to the class, as though you were reading a bed time story. Pick a slightly longer book than you usually would, and don't show the kids the pictures. Most of the time, the kids will drift off to sleep before the book is even finished.

Number 6: play a CD such as Baby Mozart in the CD player at a low volume. Classical music has the same effect on preschoolers that the weather channel has on adults who hate watching the weather, they will be sleeping in no time.

Number 7: have a bathroom time right before nap, to avoid the up/down up/down of having to go the bathroom when you are trying to settle everyone down.

Number 8: if your classroom has windows, close the blinds or curtains to make it semi dark in the classroom so children won't be tempted to get up and participate in other activities.
First the activity before nap time should be a quiet book, like Wynken,Blynken and nod or Good Night Daddy. Something that is not getting the children hyper before taking a nap.
Baroque music, like that of Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, and Vivaldi. These composers used very specific beats and patterns that automatically synchronize our minds and our bodies. For instance, most baroque music is timed at sixty beats per minute, which is the same as an average resting heart rate. With appropriate music the effects are as follows:
The pulse and blood pressure decrease.
The brain waves slow down.
The muscles relax.
Also, rubbing/patting their backs gently helps them feel secure in their environment.

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