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Discussing Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule with Daycare

Sending your baby to daycare can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. One of the key concerns for parents is ensuring that their little one’s sleep needs are met even when they’re away from home. Open communication with the daycare staff is essential to create a smooth transition and maintain a consistent sleep routine. When I work with working parents whose children attend daycare we always discuss daycare schedules vs at-home or weekend schedules. Let’s delve into some tips on how to have a productive conversation about your baby’s sleep schedule and naps with the daycare team.

Preparing For Daycare

Whether you plan to send your child to daycare one day a week or five days a week there are a few things you can do to set the stage for success.

  •  Provide Detailed Information:

Share all the essential details about your baby’s sleep schedule, including preferred nap times, sleep cues, feeding schedule/preferences and how they usually fall asleep at home The more information you provide, the better the daycare staff can support your goals if they know what you’re working toward.

  •  Explain the Importance of Consistency:

Emphasize the importance of consistency in your baby’s sleep routine. Let the daycare staff know that sticking to a regular nap schedule helps your baby feel secure and promotes better sleep quality. Transitioning to daycare can sometimes be overwhelming at first so the more consistency provided, the better.

  •  Address Any Concerns:

If your baby has specific sleep challenges, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, discuss these concerns openly. This information can help the daycare staff offer appropriate support and make necessary adjustments. Be clear and specific about what works best for your little one. 

Talk About Sleep Specifically

Most daycare, Mother’s Day Out or Preschool programs have a set schedule they like to keep based on the age of the class. Ask about nap time specifically. 

How many naps will my child get each day?

How long is nap time? 

What if they don’t fall asleep?

Do you keep a sleep log I will have access to so I know when they woke up from the last nap?

How do the children fall asleep at nap time?

Knowing what your little one’s day sleep looked like can help plan bedtime which will make your evening together much less stressful.

When discussing your child’s specific sleep needs be sure to inform the daycare team about the cues your baby displays when they’re tired. This might include rubbing their eyes, yawning, or becoming fussy. This way, the staff can recognize when it’s time for a nap and help your baby settle down. Be sure to let them know that your baby’s wake window is or their current at-home nap schedule. The more closely the daycare and home sleep schedules align the better.

Talk about the ideal sleep environment for your baby. This could involve preferences for light, noise level, and comfort items such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Request that the daycare team replicates these conditions as closely as possible.

While it’s important to communicate your baby’s established sleep routine, also be open to some flexibility. Daycare settings may have varying schedules, and your baby might need time to adjust to a new environment. Remember that you’re all on the same team and the more calm and flexible you can all be the less stressful the change will be for your baby. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open with regular check-ins. Ask about how your baby’s naps are going, if there have been any changes, and if they have any suggestions for improving sleep at daycare. If they have a sleep log request that it be filled out in a timely manner so you can be kept informed about your little one’s day.

Take it Easy the First Week

As you get started on this new adventure whether you’re starting daycare for the first time or moving to a new program be patient with everyone. As a mom, I know the stress level can feel really high. You may have some anxiety about how your child will handle the new environment or even some guilt or sadness about being away from them. You may be totally fine! Feeling comfortable and confident in these steps is a huge help to your child. However, you feel going into it just be aware that all change takes time and can occasionally feel messy. Give yourself, your child, and the staff members some grace, and remember you’re all on the same team. 
I would love to be on your team. If you have questions or need support as you make your way through this transition I would love to be there along the way. Book your free sleep assessment with me so we can ensure you are all feeling your best and resting well.

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