While you were on maternity leave, you probably got your child into a nap routine and schedule. Transitioning to daycare can be hard due to the new caretakers, new environment and schedule changes. Your baby may have a hard time sleeping in the beginning, therefore causing bedtime to become difficult and possibly even causing frequent night wakings. It can take a couple weeks for your little one to adjust.
Here are some tips to help your child transition and rest easier at daycare:
1- WHITE NOISE
There can be so much going on in the room that it may be hard for your child to fall asleep. Ask your provider if you can bring a white noise machine (if one is not provided) to attach to your child’s crib during nap times. White noise will help drown out surrounding noises so your little one can drift into sleep easier.
It’s important that your child’s nap times are consistent with what has been working at home. Be persistent and kindly ask the childcare provider(s) to put your child down for naps at the appropriate times. If they wait to put your child down too late, he may be overtired which will make it harder for your child to fall asleep.
Does your child sleep with a lovey? Or does he sleep in a sleep sac of some kind? Purchase an identical one to keep at daycare or bring the one from home. This will help give your child comfort in things that he already is familiar with while sleeping and cue him it’s time for a nap.
4- PRE-SLEEP ROUTINE
This doesn’t need to take 10 minutes but it is important to ask your daycare provider to mimic what you do before nap time. Example: diaper change, sleep sac, key phrase “time to go night night” and into crib. Babies thrive off routines and like to know what is coming next.
Be sure you ask for a daily log of when your child slept. This will help you determine when bedtime should be. On days where your child did not nap or slept for a short amount of time, be sure to put him to bed earlier. An early bedtime always saves the day when day sleep was missed.
Always keep the line of communication open with your childcare provider. Stress the importance of having your child sleep well while at daycare and that doing so makes bedtime go easier for the both of you. You can even ask them on days where your child wakes early from a nap to, if possible, assist your little one back to sleep with some shushing, patting or rocking until your child is better accustomed to his new surroundings.
If you haven’t already chosen a daycare provider, be sure to choose one that respects your child’s sleep needs. It is always best to know what environment your child will be entering into. Although a dark, designated nap room is ideal, not all daycares are able to offer this option (some do!). Your child will begin to adjust to sleeping at daycare as it becomes routine and he knows what is expected.
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Author: Leah Cowan
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Sweet Little Sleeper LLC, Pediatric Sleep Consulting.