Mandatory Nap Times and Group Napping Patterns in Child Care: An Observational Study

Sally L. Staton, Simon S. Smith, Cameron Hurst, Cassandra L. Pattinson, Karen J. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Policy provision for naps is typical in child care settings, but there is variability in the practices employed. One practice that might modify children’s early sleep patterns is the allocation of a mandatory nap time in which all children are required to lie on their beds without alternate activity permitted. There is currently limited evidence of the effects of such practices on children’s napping patterns. This study examined the association between duration of mandatory nap times and group-level napping patterns in child care settings. Observations were undertaken in a community sample of 113 preschool rooms with a scheduled nap time (N = 2,114 children). Results showed that 83.5% of child care settings implemented a mandatory nap time (range = 15–145 min) while 14.2% provided alternate activities for children throughout the nap time period. Overall, 31% of children napped during nap times. Compared to rooms with ≤ 30 min of mandatory nap time, rooms with 31–60 min and > 60 min of mandatory nap time had a two-and-a-half and fourfold increase, respectively, in the proportion of children napping. Nap onset latency did not significantly differ across groups. Among preschool children, exposure to longer mandatory nap times in child care may increase incidence of napping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-143
Number of pages15
JournalBehavioral Sleep Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Mandatory Nap Times and Group Napping Patterns in Child Care: An Observational Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this