Respectful sleep

“What do aeroplane seats and pushchairs have in common?”

At The Curiosity Approach® ‘we believe’ they do not allow for a restful sleep. Let’s reflect . Have you ever tried sleeping on a plane ? 

It’s hard isn’t it! Uncomfortable and restrictive. Even if you have the fortune of a spare seat next to you, the armrest gets in the way !

As adults we can lift the arm rest up, but still it’s tough to get comfortable.

What about being strapped into a pushchair for an afternoon nap ? Is this not similar to trying to sleep on an aeroplane ? Pushchairs also have five strap harnesses not one. 

Let’s get considering, pondering and reflecting on nap time within our settings.

We recognise that for many EY settings this may be common practice, we recognise that for some children they may have become accustomed to only sleeping in a pushchair at nap time. However In many countries this practice is also completely going against all statutory guidance and would warrant removal of the centres registration certificate. Why? Safe sleeping of children is of paramount importance and children in our Early Years centres and settings should be placed down for a nap in designated cot or sleep mat. 

Still using pushchairs in your Early Years setting? Is it time to rethink and refrain . Time to reflect and look to raising standards of care. 

Let’s begin to understand respectful care, safe sleeping policy and the need to allow babies and toddlers unrestricted opportunity to develop and / or sleep without being parked in a designated spot!

At The Curiosity Approach® ‘we believe’ babies toddlers and young children should be allowed the freedom to stretch out when sleeping.

Let’s consider,  Having a set of pushchairs lined up in our settings will take up ‘MORE ’ space than a row of carefully laid out mats on the floor.  When on a mat, a child has the freedom to wriggle, turn fidget and move ( all these movements are their way of self regulating ) as they settle down and go off to sleep. This is Really important for young children. 

With mats children can still feel connected and close to their peers or the adults ( instead of isolated in a pushchair )

Being ‘grounded’ is important to humans and research suggests has many benefits - relaxation, reduce stress, inflammation, improves circulation.

Do you allow children to sleep outdoors? There is much research on the benefits of alfresco sleepin

Being strapped in?  Harnesses and straps are not conducive for feelings relaxation.

The transition from using pushchairs to mats may take time and yes you’ll need to get into the ritual of preparing the child’s sleep space.

But how wonderful for a child to self initiate lying down onto their bed?

Recognising the blanket and comforter that awaits them.  Yes, they might need reassurance at first, to understand this is the place to settle and start to drift off ! But once you get in the daily ritual of laying out the mats, placing on a cot sheet and offering their own comforter or blanket - it creates a sense of security and belonging.

A place and space that feels safe.

Let’s remember laying prone on the floor ( for the animal kingdom ) is one of the most vulnerable positions.

This is no different for our youngest children. At the time they are tired and restless this is the time they feel increased emotions and long for that respectful care giving moments of their significant adult.

At The Curiosity Approach® we see this as an important time to be present and connected, raising up important caregiving moments. We ensure tat children are allowed the time and autonomy to settle down, to find their own mat, comforter and blankets and to know that they are safe and have the time to settle down and drift off to sleep without the pressure of feeling restricted or restrained.

Let’s remind ourselves on those plane journeys - First class passengers get beds. Places they can lay flat !

Economy passengers get narrow chairs that are difficult to sleep comfortably in ( only slightly reclining )

What sleep opportunities do you offer for your children in your setting

First class or is it economy ?

Change is hard and we recognise that many settings have limited space

However mats will take up less space than a pushchair and your not wheeling muddy dirty wheels into your provision and where children play.  Let’s pause consider and recognise the benefits x

Our Respectful care giving and Freedom to move ‘Team gatherings are now available and offers opportunity for Early Years educators to understand more.

They are a 60 minute ( pre recorded ) training session whereby EY teams can reflect, discuss and consider information shared. We provide PDF downloads, extensive further reading and opportunity for CPD

* This post is written for Early Years educators and childhood provisions and we recognise pushchairs provide and important piece of equipment for parents and carers.

Most certainly children naturally fall asleep whilst going out walks in their pushchair or pram ( this post is NOT banning the use of pushchairs) 

What it is asking Early Years professionals to reflect and consider “ Do we need to fill our settings with pushchairs / strollers at nap time OR is there an alternative promoting restful safer sleep that doesn’t restrict movement ?

Note that pushchair sleeping is not permitted in some countries and EY settings  Grab your 60 minute training and downloads here

 Freedom to move


Respectful Caregiving -



There are 12 Team Gatherings available to use during staff meetings or as we like to call them TEAM GATHERINGS

We provide extensive guidance on how to provide meetings that educators are keen to attend! Tuned IN instead of tuned OUT

Want to learn more about The Curiosity Approach pedagogy® we also have a year long CPD journey for you and your team. 


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