You have worked so hard to get your little one to be a great sleeper but now you have to go back to work and let someone else carry on your hard work with sleep during the day. Depending on your families situation, you could be going back to work after a few weeks, a few months, when your little one is a year old or even when they are 18 months old (great extended Maternity Leave implementation, Canada)! So it’s important to keep in mind what you want to communicate to your Daycare Providers, especially the number of naps that are appropriate for your child’s age and the schedules they follow at home.
The daycare environment can be very stimulating to a child – lights, noise, more children, etc. However, most daycare’s will follow an age appropriate nap schedule and also work with you to learn what works best for your child when it comes to sleep. Below is a check list and some suggestions that may help with your discussions.
- Discuss typical wakes times for your child based on their age
- Discuss your nap routine and what cues help your child to know it’s time to nap
- Discuss consistency – potentially using the same crib in the same place for your child’s nap
- Ask if the daycare uses a white noise machine and how dark the room can be to assist with an optimal sleep environment
- Ask the daycare what comfort objects you can bring from home to help your child sleep – their sleep sack and snuggly are great familiar items that will help them adjust better in the new space
- Discuss limiting your child’s naps if:
- Your child is all of a sudden taking too long to fall asleep for the night
- Your child is waking up frequently at night when this previously was not an issue
- Your child is having early morning wakings
After all the work you have put in at home to get a good little sleeper on your hands, I understand the apprehension that might come forward from transitioning your child to Daycare. It might be comforting to know (from someone who has been there and stressed about Daycare and naps), that most Daycares are open and receptive to working with you on what’s best for your child and their sleep. Most children adjust over time to Daycare despite the added stimulation. It’s helpful for them to see the same environment and the same caregiver’s everyday, in addition to observing other children napping, often at the same time as them. All of these factors actually help your child to adjust to sleeping in a different environment at Daycare despite the added stimulation. It may take your child a couple weeks to adjust, but with the healthy sleep foundations you’ve already laid out, they should be adjusted in no time!
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant, Founder of Gentle Dreams
Disclaimer: The information/advice provided in any form of communication by Gentle Dreams is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice is for informational purposes only and is intended for use with common sleep issues that are unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the health and welfare of your child.