'Dear childcare workers, I adore you. But please, please, please stop making my child nap.'

A plea to daycares from a the mother of an exhausted child.

The one thing that drives me nuts about childcare.

I need to start this with a caveat, you know just in case.

Because the fact is that ALL childcare workers hold my complete and total admiration.

I entrust them with the safety and happiness of my children, time and time again.

They are dedicated, devoted, wonderful people, I am in awe of.  (Am I making my point?)

And when I arrive to pick up my daughter and one of her carers is cuddling her, playing with her, engaging with her I am taken aback at the deep relationshship they have formed. It’s a beautiful thing.

Do you get it? Have I made it clear enough childcare workers rock my world?


Why, oh why must they nap?

And this is just a little but. A please-very-nicely-but.

A if-it-offends-I-take-it-straight-back but.

A please-still-love-my-daughter-as-much-as-you-do-if-you-read-this BUT:

Please stop making her nap during the day it is ruining my LIFE.

(Wooah there is another big caveat coming up just hang on)

You see (caveat ahead) I love my daughter and she is funny and endearing and sweet and generous. She is kind and wonderful to be around… until about 8pm.  (7pm if truth be told).

And after that I love her JUST as much, and am totally devoted to her but, maybe a tiny bit more if she is asleep.

And so when those wonderful women (and the occasional man) who nurtures and cares for her at daycare decide it is in her best interests to have a THREE HOUR NAP in the middle of the day (despite my repeated pleas to just keep her awake for gods sake) that devotion is stretched, just a little, so the teeniest bits of seams can be seen.

Do you get where I am coming from? Are you nodding your head along with me?

Have you had a three, four or five year old who clearly doesn’t need a nap, clearly a tiny bit of quiet time would be just as effective at settling them down and yet is still lain down and snuggled up against your wishes? For three hours?

It’s a straight out disaster.

Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep.

But while for us its is an out-of-control catastrophe of epic proportions, for the childcare workers, in many cases, it is something they don’t get a choice about – it is a directive from the big kahunas at head office. They claim to be just following the guidelines.

There is legislation regulating naps that require childcare centres to provide for each child’s individual sleep and rest needs.

But there are no specific guidelines regarding how children’s sleep needs should be met, this being said, the great many do enforce a practise of mandatory naps.


A study by the Queensland University of Technology looked at 130 childcare centres across QLD and found 90 per cent had standard sleep time for their children of these 80 per cent of the centres made naps mandatory, with no alternate activity being offered.

Makes you want to grit your teeth doesn’t it, just in anticipation of spitting out the words “GO TO SLEEP” over, and over and over again

It is a difficult thing to admit that as much as you love your kids after a certain time of night you just want an effing break. That torturous rigmarole of repeating the bedtime ritual for a child who simply isn’t tired can literally be agony.

And now our requests to KEEP THEM AWAKE can be validated as these researchers have just published a paper in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics showing that enforcing daytime napping in kids that don’t need it can have long-term health consequences.

The study of nearly 170 children aged between four and six found that children who were exposed to more than 60 minutes mandatory sleep at childcare slept worse at night which continued when they started school.

Researcher Sally Staton said,  “Insufficient night-time sleep in young children significantly increases the risk of poor health and developmental outcomes, most notably behavioural problems,” she said.

“There is not a specific age at which children no longer need naps, as this will vary from child to child.”

And this is the bit that drives many parents to take to Facebook to anonymously discuss the much-toted theory that childcare workers only enforce mandatory sleeps so that THEY get a break from the kids, and that they conveniently ignore parents requests to “keep my child up for gods sake” just so they can fit in a cup of tea and a spot of lunch.

(Of course this is not a theory I endorse, nor agree with, and certainly isn’t the case in my daughter’s centre. In fact I wholeheartedly disagree with that accusation)

I just wish, oh how I wish they would keep them them effing awake.

Footnote: if you or any of your friends, neighbours or relatives are in any way associated with my daughter’s daycare please remember that in no way do I mean to insinuate that her wonderful day care is in any way associated with this dastardly practice. (smiley face smiley face smiley face) 

Do you struggle with children who are put to sleep at daycare staying up half the night? How do you solve it?

Want more? Try:

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