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Annette Faamausili, January 31 2022

Help! My Child Isn't Napping At Daycare

Help! My Child Isn't Napping At Daycare

It can be worrying if you think your little one is not getting enough sleep.

After all, sleep is so developmentally important.

Sleep can be hard enough to achieve at home, but when you throw a daycare environment into the mix, it can go to the next level.

Here’s the truth, many kids don’t sleep as well or as long when they are at daycare.

But, it is to be expected.

So, what can you do about it? How can you make sure that your child is getting all the sleep they need to be well rested, even if they are at daycare some of the time?

Let’s jump in and answer these questions now.

Help! My Child Isn't Napping At Daycare

Are you worried about how much sleep your child is getting at Daycare compared to their usual amount at home?  While it’s natural to be worried, it is pretty common for kids to sleep differently when away from home.

Why does it happen?

Well, your child will never sleep as well in an unfamiliar environment. At daycare, there are lots of different noises, smells and distractions. So, it is no wonder that your child will sleep for a shorter time than usual.

Your child won’t sleep perfectly at daycare straight away. They will be distracted by a new environment and being in such close proximity to other children sleeping and waking around them. If you arm yourself with this expectation, then you can create some strategies to ensure your little one gets good sleep overall.

Making Good Sleep Happen

Here are a number of things you can do to help your child with napping at daycare. They are:

Start Gradually

Starting daycare can be a big transition for your child. They are in a new environment and away from you. So, they will need some time to adjust. Try to include a gradual transition time that is ideally spread over 3-4 weeks.

Start by attending for half days in the first week and then gradually build from there. This will give your little one time to get used to the environment before attempting to sleep there.

Lower Your Expectations

If you sit and think about things logically, it is no surprise that your little one will have more trouble napping at daycare than at home. So, prepare yourself with this information before they start there. If you lower your expectations from the beginning, you can practically deal with the situation.

Settling Strategies

Because there are a number of different children all needing their naps, it is unlikely that your daycare will be able to use the same settling techniques that you use at home.

Don’t panic about the way that the staff may settle your child while they are at daycare. It will not upset your home routine. Children and babies learn very quickly that things happen a bit differently when they are away from home - napping at daycare included!

Keep It Familiar

While your child will be sleeping in a completely new environment, you can help to ease the transition by sending in some familiar items from home. What you choose will depend on your child, but you could send the same sleep sack they use at home or a comfort toy/blanket.

Having these items around them can help them to feel more secure and comfortable as they will be familiar and smell like home.

Be Flexible

It is important to let your daycare provider know what your child’s sleeping schedule and napping times are at home. That way, they can be aware of when your child normally sleeps and adhere to a similar schedule.

In saying that, you will need to accept some flexibility as the exact times may not fit with the Centre’s schedule. There will be a compromise to ensure your little one gets their sleep while also fitting with the Centre’s planned activities.

Plan For Rest Days

Change is hard for anyone. And, it’s even harder for little ones who normally thrive on a regular routine. I’m not going to lie, the first couple of months could be hard as everyone transitions to a new normal.

Incorporate some rest days at home into your routine if your child is attending daycare on a part time basis. And regardless of how regularly they are attending, keep your weekends lowkey for a while so that your baby or toddler can catch up on sleep in their own cot or bed.

Early Bedtimes

It can be tempting to keep your child up a little bit later on daycare days as you will have missed seeing them during the day. However, this will only make them more tired!

Try to adhere to an early bedtime (6pm usually works best) to stop overtiredness creeping in. Keep to your usual structured bedtime routine so that they can settle quickly for quality sleep.

Power Naps

A power nap can do wonders for a quick burst of energy. So, if you pick your child up before 4pm and they seem tired, let them have a 15 minute nap on the way home. This will recharge them and get them through to bedtime.

Starting daycare is a big transition for the whole family. And napping at daycare will be a bit of a learning curve. However, if you enter with the right expectations and sleep strategies, then it will all work out well.

If you have any concerns about how to navigate this part of your child’s sleep journey, then reach out to me here at Serene Sleep today. My EXPRESS consult is the best option for you if you need a bit of reassurance and some extra tips. 

Written by

Annette Faamausili

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