A small child is resting
Connexions Professional Practice

A few quiet words to sleep on

Children need rest and quiet time. It helps them recharge and stay calm. We know that peace and quiet can differ from day to day and children are affected by their environment through daily care routines including sleep and rest time.

Perhaps these ideas will help you rest easy as you consider children’s needs for calm and quiet:

  • Recognize that some days, rest will look like sleep. Other days, it could look like quiet reflection or play.
  • Create alternative quiet activities for children during rest time. For example, provide books, puppets, dolls or soft music for children to listen to. Also consider finding a quiet space for alternative activities.
  • Remove distractions from the rest space. Perhaps the lighting is bright, the space is noisy or the room temperature is uncomfortable. Or perhaps there could be certain toys or activities on shelves that stimulate curiosity and play.
  • Ensure there is dedicated staff to support children who are awake if you’re planning or programming during rest time.

Communication is the key to collaboration

Standard I of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice encourages you to “collaborate with families to access information and resources to make informed decisions about their child.”

Families have a wealth of information on their child’s routines, likes and dislikes. “Work in partnership with families to learn about their child’s rest patterns or preferences, likes, dislikes or fears that may interfere with rest. Together, you can find the best strategies for their child, recognizing that these will evolve as time goes on,” says Meredith Farley RECE, a Professional Practice Analyst at the College. Meredith reminds RECEs that regularly connecting with the family allows you to collaborate with them to make the best practice decisions for their child.

It’s just as important to build collaborative and trusting relationships with your colleagues. Together, you can co-create supportive environments and put in place strategies developed with families, both of which positively support the children in your care.

Pause & reflect

Consider how you handled a situation in which a child under your professional supervision had trouble resting.

  • How was the situation handled?
  • Do you feel that you positively balanced the needs of the child and those of the group?
  • Are additional resources needed to incorporate strategies that support sleep and rest time?
  • What role did colleagues and family play in creating a supportive environment/strategy?

The takeaway

Consider the environment – is there space for children who cannot or do not wish to sleep to engage in other quiet, restful activities? Is there enough space between the children who wish to sleep and those who wish to engage in those alternative activities? Are there bright lights or other distractions?

Communication is integral to collaboration – find out more from the family in terms of what their child may need to settle into rest time. Ask for help from your colleagues and work as a team to optimize the rest space to meet the children’s needs. If you feel unsure or find yourself becoming frustrated, ask for support.

Reflect on your practice and review resources to support your practice – visit the College’s website and blog for useful resources. You could also consider adding strategies for rest as a Continuous Professional Learning goal which can lead you to some great resources outside of the College. Interested in sharing your best quiet and rest time strategies and resources? Send us an email at