What parents want: Parent preference regarding sleep for their preschool child when attending Early Care and Education

Sinclair, Dominique M., Staton, Sally, Pattinson, Cassandra, Smith, Simon, Marriott, Annette, & Thorpe, Karen (2016) What parents want: Parent preference regarding sleep for their preschool child when attending Early Care and Education. Sleep Health, 2(1), pp. 12-18.

View at publisher



While most children cease napping between the ages of 2 and 5 years, across a range of international settings the allocation of a mandatory naptime is a common feature of the daily routine in Early Care and Education (ECE) programs for children of this age. Evidence regarding the developmental effects of napping is limited but, beyond age 2, is consistently associated with delayed night sleep onset and increased number of awakenings.


The present study examined parent preferences towards napping in ECE.


Participants were 750 parents of preschool-aged children attending a representative sample of Australian ECE programs across metropolitan, regional and rural sites in 2011. We analysed quantitative and open-ended questionnaire data from a large, longitudinal study of the effectiveness of Australian early education programs (E4Kids). Statistical analyses examined prevalence of parent preference for sleep and demographic correlates. Thematic analyses were employed to identify parents' rationale for this preference.


The majority of parents (78.7%) preferred that their children did not regularly sleep while attending ECE. The dominant explanation provided by parents was that regular naps were no longer appropriate and adversely impacted their children's health and development. Parents of younger children were more likely to support regular naps.


The results highlight a disjuncture between parent preferences and current sleep policy and practices in ECE. Further research is needed to establish evidence-based guidelines to support healthy sleep-rest practices in ECE. Such evidence will guide appropriate practice and support parent-educator communication regarding sleep and rest.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 90478
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1016/j.sleh.2015.11.002
ISSN: 2352-7226
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 26 Nov 2015 02:26
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2016 04:50

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page