15th December 2022 Early Years Foundation Stage All Posts

Z for Zzzz Sleep – The ABC of Early Years Education

Sleep is crucial during the early years, for practitioners, parents, and children alike. 

The correlation between behaviour and sleep is well-documented, and achieving a routine which enables adequate rest can prove transformative from an emotional wellbeing perspective too. 

Attaining the correct amount of sleep not only helps children to regulate their emotions better, but it can also provide a strong foundation for learning and processing the variety of new experiences they encounter each day. There are health benefits too, including improved immunity — an area where little ones can naturally struggle when first exposed to the nursery environment.

Children enjoy predictability — without it, life can become overwhelming. So, it follows that developing any good sleep routine begins with consistency.

There are a number of approaches to follow when it comes to establishing a routine, but it’s important to avoid switching between methods, as this will only lead to confusion and a lack of progress. Instead, pick one option and stick with it. 

As a result, it’s important that practitioners and parents communicate around sleep routines – with childcare environments replicating the sleeping preferences of parents as closely as possible. 

Alongside a routine, there are a host of other factors that lend themselves to a positive sleeping environment such as maintaining a comfortable temperature, being quiet, keeping lights low, and enabling children to each have their own space in which to sleep.

While it might not be possible to meet each of these needs every time, introducing sustainable sleep cues such as a comforter or white noise can also prove useful.

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About the Author

Early years sleep consultant, Jo Jo’s Little Stars.