For children, not only is a good night’s sleep important, but daytime naps are also a crucial activity as they improve kids’ mental and physical health and help them to regulate their mood and behaviour throughout the day. Parents, teachers, and caregivers all know this universal fact – if a child is in a good mood, it’s good for them AND the adults! As a person who used to work in the childcare industry, I understand the importance of quality nap time and how it affects the children’s mood and energy levels later in the day. Choosing the right furniture for children’s restful moments is one of the determining factors for a good nap, which is often overlooked. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of naps for children, and some aspects to consider when choosing cribs, cots and rest mats for kids!
THE IMPORTANCE OF NAPPING
First, and the most crucial benefit of sleep in general, is that it’s the process of physical and mental rejuvenation. During sleep, the body goes into many processes of restoration, growth, and energy recharge. Most of the time, children are in constant motion, moving back and forth, while at the same time exploring the world and receiving tons of new information. Kids are the ones who benefit the most from naps, as naps give their bodies time to “catch up” on those exploring activities. Naps are also critical for memory consolidation and early learning. As children nap, the brain processes information, and forms connections it gained throughout the day. It enhances children’s memory, ability to focus, problem-solving skills, and heightens creativity.
The second benefit of naps, which parents and educators love, is that naps regulate children’s emotions. When a child is tired, it’s easier for them to be irritated, frustrated, stressed, or even more excited than usual. It’s understandable – we always associate grumpiness with loss of sleep. A well-rested child does not go through those emotional rollercoasters, as naps help their mind and body to reset and recharge, which will foster a more balanced, and stable emotional state when waking up.
So cute! But…we don’t want kids to look grumpy like this all of the afternoon!
We’ve all experienced the “afternoon slump” – when your energy level dips, and you might struggle to concentrate at work. In general, you just feel sluggish, and slow, and cannot think of anything else but taking a nap or getting a cup of coffee! Children also experience the same thing, where without an afternoon nap, their focus wavers, and their energy plummets. For children’s educational journey to be seamless and fully maximized, it’s important for childcare educators to organize a short nap during the day for the kids to regain their focus and alertness for afternoon lessons.
Lastly, the daily routine of napping can teach children a powerful lesson. It signals children that it is okay to take a pause to rest, and recharge. We should take care of ourselves first, knowing that it will later benefit not only us but also the people around us. Practising any good routine also helps children to learn discipline, a sense of security and predictability, which are crucial to kids’ emotional maturity.
Practising good habits also helps kids to improve their discipline and improve kids’ emotional maturity.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CRIBS, COTS, AND REST MATS
The choice of cribs, cots and rest mats might seem trivial, but it’s a decision that can greatly influence the quality of nap time for children. From budget to comfort, check out this short guide for choosing the best option for you:
- The Needs of Different Age Groups
Considering the different needs of children when choosing sleeping furniture can be quite tricky because the young ones grow so fast! However, understanding these needs well will ensure that naptime is not only comfortable but also safe. For infants, snug and secure cribs that allow for easy monitoring are the way to go. Toddlers, on the other hand, need safety rails to prevent unexpected tumbles. When kids get to preschool age, they always love to have their own personal cot/rest mat!
Quality Classrooms’ Sleeping Spaces page has your needs covered! We sell all the necessary sleeping furniture, and divide them into categories: Infant, Toddler, and Preschool to help you with choosing the right size!
- Safety Above All Else
For every item and activity that involves interacting with children, safety should always be put first! The foremost requirement for choosing sleeping space for kids should be making sure that they meet Canadian safety standards. For example, Health Canada has produced the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) to protect the public by helping to address and prevent dangers to human health of safety that are posed by consumer products in Canada. In the section for cribs, they mention not just standards, but also a lot of useful tips, including general sleep safety tips, and safe places for a baby to sleep… which is great to know! Check them out here. Next, make sure that the materials used to make the product are free from harmful chemicals – go for materials like wood, or metal and avoid cribs that have lots of paint. Eco-friendly choices are excellent as they usually pose fewer health risks and also help to support protecting the environment.
SafetyCraft Fixed-Side Compact Clearview Mobile Crib ensures that you do not have to sacrifice safety for affordability. It has a solid steel crib mattress frame, and smooth, plastic teething rail that protects the children and the crib. Constructed from pine wood, it also features mortise and tenon construction of the headboard that provides added strength.
The protected barriers help to block viruses in the childcare environment.
Mobile Next Gen First Responder Evacuation Crib is a comprehensive solution available to childcare centres for infant evacuation. It has a strong, 3-point steel gusset system that connects directly to the solid steel SafeSupport frame to provide the ultimate in strength and durability. It’s easy to move without damaging floors.
It also features international icons printed in English, Spanish and French that are visible from all 4 sides for rapid identification.
- Comfort is Key
After we make sure the child is safe, we go on to ensure that they get to lay their back on the softest, most comfortable surface! The perfect mattress for sleeping should have two aspects:
- It should be firm to provide spinal support and ensure the safety of the baby. Mattresses that are too soft or worn down in any area could create a gap where a baby’s face could become stuck, causing them to suffocate.
- At the same time, it should be plush just enough so the baby can fall asleep easily.
On the other hand, choosing cots, and rest mats are easier – their main concern, however, is the ease of cleaning. We’ll get to that point soon!
Infapure Foam Mattress, 3″ is phthalate-free and contains no chemical flame retardants!
Cozy Woodland Rest Mats have warm, soft, quiet colours that allow the child to relax and reflect on matters at hand in a calm way. Includes a heavy-duty clear pocket for name tags.
- Design & Durability
The design of the sleeping furniture piece is important, not only because of how it supports children of different needs, but also because of space! Folding cots and stackable rest mats are the undisputed champions when it comes to sleeping furniture in childcare. They minimize the use of space, while at the same time, not sacrificing comfort and safety. The design of the sleeping furniture is important too – calm, soothing colours can ease the child to sleep, and add to the room’s aesthetic!
Kids are active and can be…destructive sometimes! Like most of the furniture in a children’s room, sleeping equipment should also be durable! Go for cribs, cots, and rest mats with robust, and stable construction. Look for keywords like “reinforced”, and “sturdy”. Inspect the construction of the frame and select materials that are known to withstand the test of time.
Solid Wood Compact Folding Crib features natural colour and a sleek, clean-looking design that will complement any room’s aesthetic. The heavy-duty folding mechanism and 3″ commercial casters make transportation, and storage smooth and effective.
Folding Rest Mats are completely sealed using radio-frequency technology to resist bacteria and germs. They can be used in a variety of spaces and fold easily for convenient storage.
Value Line Cot is a popular choice for childcare centres, they come in two different sizes though – make sure to check the descriptions for ages, and grades appropriate for each!
Rest Mat Cart, Blue can hold up to 40 one-inch or 20 two-inch thick mats in a powder-coated steel and wire frame. The cart has four casters that roll smoothly on any surface. Ideal for schools, daycare centres, and gyms.
- Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
Children make messes. It’s inevitable, just like ageing and taxes. Choosing sleeping pieces that are easy to clean is not just a practical decision, it also helps childcare educators save a lot of time cleaning and maintaining the product. Look for features like “machine-washable”, “waterproofing”, and “stain resistance” in mattresses, cots, or sleeping mats. Clean sleeping furniture helps with the hygiene and health of the children and lengthens the lifetime of the piece.
3 phrases every childcare educator loves: “I love you”, “thank you”, and “Machine washable”!
- Balancing Budget
Last but not least, the budget! Considering an option that meets all the safety, comfort, and durability requirements, while not breaking the bank is not simple. The good news is that there are a lot of options out there for you to look for – Quality Classrooms is one! Quality Classroom’s Unbeatable Price Guarantee means you can trust that you are getting the best quality items for your classroom at the best price. Researching different brands, reading user reviews, comparing prices, and considering aesthetic preferences will help you find the most suitable choice. Keep this in mind though – A sound sleeping environment is priceless for children, hence, every purchase should be treated as an investment in the child’s happiness and development!