Sleep & rest routine

‘During sleep there’s even more activity and more learning going on in an infant’s brain than an adults’, Karmilloff – Smith (2010).

‘When young children are sleeping they are learning by consolidating information taken in during the day’, Music (2011).

Recent research on children’s brain development highlights that when a baby is asleep their brain is busy learning. For this reason Choochoos ensure every child is cared for meeting their needs and using their own individual routines, working in partnership with parents/carers.


Choochoos ‘safe sleep policy’

Choochoos has a ‘Safe Sleep Policy’ to ensure all children and practitioners at the setting are safeguarded and protected during a child’s sleep routine. The belief that implementing procedures for safe sleep could reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome formed the basis of our policy and mirrored the settings ethos that practitioners have an obligation to keep children safe.


 ‘At Choochoos I feel my child is well cared for and looked after’, (Parent, November 2020).


To ensure safe sleep for our children, our practitioners consider:

Partnership with parents/carers – Detailed information sharing and smooth communication between the key person and the child’s family is essential. Building a trusting relationship so close attachments can form will insure parents/carers and practitioners openly discuss the child’s sleep, any changes in routine and provide consistency of care. A child’s sleep routine then remains individual and personalised.

Many parents/carers believe that children should not sleep near to being collected, especially in the evening for fear that the child’s sleep pattern at night will be disrupted. This can be a conflicting issue between parents/carers and the child’s key person with parents/carers often requesting their child is kept awake after a certain time period.

Therefore having an open, trusting relationship where discussions remain informal and valued and parents/carers feel secure that the child’s key person has the child’s best interests at heart, will assist with the individual development of the child. The child’s sleep or rest routine will be discussed between key person and parent/carer during the child’s home visit and continue through their time at Choochoos, as the child’s routine changes.

Practitioner’s at Choochoos are confident and knowledgeable regarding our safe sleep policy, which adopts the procedure that, ‘Children are allowed to sleep to their own individual routine anytime during the day’. The child’s key person will feedback appropriately to parents/carers the importance of rest and sleep periods when attending Choochoos.

Choochoos follows guidance to ensure our children’s sleep is safe and best practice. Choochoos provides children’s bedding, sleep pods/beds/cots and ensures the environment and routine can suit sleep times for all children. Our environment is cosy and comfortable for our children to ensure they can rest at anytime.

Refer to our ‘Key person approach’ section for more information about the key person approach.


Does nap time help children learn?

Food for thought…....The University of Sheffield and Ruhr University in Germany have competed research into how children develop and retain skills they have recently learnt.

A group of 216, 6-12 month-olds where shown how to remove and manipulate a mitten from a hand puppet and given the chance to perform the actions again after 4 hours had past and then again after 24 hours has past.

Children who had a nap for at least 30 minutes with in four hours of learning the skill were able to actively remember the actions. Those who didn’t have that nap within the 4 hours after learning struggled to remember the skill they were shown earlier.

Dr Jane Herbert from the University of Sheffield, said, ‘These findings are particularly interesting to both parents and practitioners because they suggest that the optimal time for infants to learn new information is just before they have a sleep. Until now people have presumed that the best time for infants to learn is when they are wide-awake, rather than when they are starting to feel tired, but our results show that activities occurring just before infants have a nap can be particularly valuable and well remembered. This study however examined learning opportunities around naturally occurring naps and shows just how valuable activities like reading books with young children just before they go down to sleep can be’.


For more information on safe sleep please refer to our ‘Safe sleep policy’ and ‘Dummy policy’ in our policy and procedure folder in our lobby or ask a practitioner if you would like a copy.


For more information have a look at a few helpful leaflets:

Safer sleeping