Often (but not always) anxious behavior, such as fidgeting, excessive movement, defiance about getting on a cot or settling down at nap time is a sign that a child lives in a home where there is domestic violence. The Lucile Packard Foundation’s valuable “Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: An Early Childhood Educator’s Handbook to Increase Understanding and Improve Community Responses,” offers many solutions for early ed professionals. When it comes to nap time:
- If possible, do not have the child nap. Provide an “awake-room” for those who do not need to sleep.
- Turn nap time into a positive, nurturing time by having the child cuddle with you on your lap.
- Have the child join nap time after most of the other children are asleep. This will allow you time to support this child.
- Do not demand sleep. Use this time as a chance to nurture and reassure the child that he/she is loved, valued and safe.
- Keep nap time positive. Do not use threats (e.g., “If you can’t lie still, I’ll take away your stuffed toy until after nap time.”).
- Encourage use of transition objects (e.g., stuffed toys, blankets, bottles, cups) even when children are older.