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  • Beth Mattson

5 Tips to Prepare You And Your Child For Napping At Daycare



Are you enrolling your child in daycare and worried about how they’ll transition at naptime?


Don’t stress! Your child can adjust to this new routine and will most likely be able to differentiate their home environment from their daycare environment. I just went through all of this for a second time and I promise, it’s easier than you think!


And breathe, if you haven’t started sleep training yet, it is still completely possible while transitioning them into childcare.


Let’s jump into 5 things that will help you (and your baby) be prepared for the transition.


Ask Your Daycare Provider What Their Naptime Schedule Is


When enrolling your child in daycare ask the sitter what their normal naptime routine is. Some daycares have strict routine nap times while others are a bit more flexible. This is a great time to let the provider know what your child's nap routine looks like at home.


Keep in mind, the nap schedules may not synch up, but you both can still find success so you aren’t picking up a cranky child who hasn’t napped all day.


Note, you don’t have to change your nap routine at home if the schedule at daycare is going to be different. As mentioned earlier, while there will be an adjustment period, your child will be able to learn the difference between being at home and following that schedule, and being at daycare.


Figure Out If There Are Any Nap Policies


There are three big things you will want to figure out before that first drop off at daycare.


First, does the daycare have a no cry policy? Let the daycare provider know if you let your child self soothe and for how long before you normally intervene. Some providers may have a no cry policy and some may be more comfortable with it when they know at what point you do intervene.


Second, be sure to ask if they are allowed a sleep sack. Most daycares do not allow any sleep props and a sleep sack could be an exception to that rule. Or vice versa, they may allow baby to have a blanket and you want to make it known that you don’t allow that.


Finally, talk to the daycare provider about the sleep environment. Is it dark? Is it quiet? Is a sound machine allowed? While you may not be able to change their sleep environment, you can offer to bring a sound machine if they do not have one.


Ask For a Feeding and Nap Log


Wait, what does eating have to do with sleep? Eating right before sleep sounds like it would be a good idea and help baby nap for longer, but it can actually start to become a sleep prop. You want to make sure that your child is offered a bottle well before naptime.


You may not be able to completely control the exact time they are fed, but you can make it known that the baby should not have a bottle right before nap time or go to bed with it.


Keep Open Communication


Here is the MOST important tip! Communication is key when enrolling your sweet babe into daycare and remember daycare providers want your child to nap just as much as you do!


If you keep an open line of communication and tell them your sleep goals for your child they will want to work with you to make sure they can help you achieve those goals.


At pick up time, ask your daycare provider for an overview of your child's day. If you have any questions ask your provider now.


They won’t be able to try and meet your expectations if they aren’t aware that you are having concerns.


Dive In


Last but not least, if your child needs to attend daycare 5 days a week, take them five full days a week. Don’t ease their way into it. Once they start, let them go the allotted time that they need to be there.


This will help them get into their new routine much easier and faster. They will adjust and they will have such a fun-filled day with all their new friends!


If after your child has adjusted to daycare and they are still having sleep issues, reach out to me! I am always here to help. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed about trying to make sure your child naps at daycare and still gets a restful night of sleep at home.


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