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The Nap Mat: Is It The Right Choice For Your Napping Needs?

Apr 18, 2008
For your child's rest time at pre-school, daycare, or even at Grandma's or home, nap mats are a great option for a familiar, comfortable place to rest or nap. Many early childhood centers now require parents to furnish naptime bedding which must be taken home and washed weekly. Nap mats are a neat, compact solution for required rest time at school, and using the napmat on the weekends for home or travel rest time creates continuity for children that signifies comfort and familiarity.

There are several napmat options available, and most can be customized with the fabric of your (or your child's) choice, and monogrammed for easy recognition by caretakers. The following three types of nap mats are the most popular and versatile for resting at school, home, and while traveling.

The All-In-One Nap mat:

The all-in-one nap mat includes, as its name implies, a connected sleeping mat, pillow, and blanket. Easy to wash, roll, and carry with a shoulder strap, the all-in-one napmat is a hassle-free way to carry bedding. Some all-in-one napmats include a removable pillow insert, and most are secured when rolled up with Velcro closures. The ideal napmat's blanket will be connected at the bottom of the sleeping mat, rather than on the side, to ensure toes are covered. When it comes to cleaning your all-in-one, just throw the entire napmat in the wash; there's no chance of missing a blanket or pillow when washing, drying, or rolling it up early on a Monday morning. All-in-one nap mats are usually well padded and are great for resting on cots, mats, rugs, floor, or beds.

As with the majority of nap mats, most all-in-ones can be customized and personalized.

Kindermat Covers:

Kindermats, the plastic tri-fold resting mat, are used in many childcare facilities and usually require customized bedding. If a Kindermat is provided or required, there are a variety of covers and bedding sets available. Kindermat covers fit over the mat like a fitted sheet or pillow case, and are easy to put on and remove; many covers also include Velcro attachments for securing the napmat onto the Kindermat. There are both padded and un-padded options for the fitted mat available. In addition, there are all-in-one napmats for Kindermats that include all of the pieces, as well as sets including separate matching pillow and blankets. Kindermats and their covers can be folded compactly for travel and most can be customized and personalized.

Sleeping Bags:

Sleeping bags are another very popular choice for rest time, traditionally used for camping or slumber parties for older kids. There are now many other smaller options out there for young children, although they usually remain true to the original design. They zip your child up snugly for cozy naptime, although very few include pillows. Sleeping bags also tend to be thicker than other types of napmats, so in warmer climates, children may get too hot. Sleeping bags are still the ideal for camping and some overnight situations, but due to their thickness don't roll up as compactly as other types of nap mats. Unlike other nap mats, many sleeping bags are available in water resistant fabrics, which again, lends to their desirability for outdoor or tent sleeping. Sleeping bags are easily washed and, as other napmats, many can be customized and personalized.

As you can see from the above three options, there are many great nap mats available for your child's rest time. Whether for use at home, at a childcare facility, or for travel, a nap mat can help your child recognize when it's time for rest and quiet. If your child is old enough, involve her or him in picking the fabric. With all of the pattern and color options available, shopping for your nap mat can be great fun both of you.
About the Author
Gina Wesneske is the owner of http://www.kozykidcreations.com/ creating original handmade designer napmats, shopping cart covers, diaper bags, nursing covers, baby slings and more.
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