5 Tips to Improve Sleep at Daycare

Daycare Rant….A Follow-Up

I heard from many of you after my last post about daycare….It seems I’m not alone in my concern and, of course, I’m not surprised! I know that there are many parents who are concerned about their child’s lack of sleep at school and often feel like their hands are tied – that the school personnel aren’t willing to make necessary changes. It’s nice to know we’re not alone. In fact, in the past few months, we’ve had a few clients who are in the same boat, and so Melissa and I have had a chance to work on some tools that parents might use when their infant or young child is having trouble sleeping.

I’m happy to report that my own little one is doing much better. It took about four weeks in her new school for her to start to nap for a longer period of time. During those first weeks, her teachers kept in touch with me, calling during the day to get my advice and the school director listened to my concerns and my tears. She was flexible and creative and, most importantly, reassuring that I had my daughter in the right place. She reminded me it would take time. Julia now naps for two hours almost every day at daycare and while she’s only napping once on school days, on weekends and vacations, she continues to nap for two hours, TWICE a day and I feel confident that she’s “catching up” on those days. We still put her to bed before 6pm every night religiously and, recently, she’s been asking us to go to bed a bit earlier. (She puts her finger to her lips and says, “Shhhh”….as if to say, “Be quiet, Mom, I need my sleep!”)

I feel confident that I’m doing all that I can to help my daughter stay healthy and happy and have stopped feeling guilty (for the most part!) about my choice to send her to daycare. We’re all sleeping better at night and THAT I feel great about!

Often times, when a baby is not napping well during the day, she is also waking up at night and/or early in the morning. Here are some tools for you to try. If all else fails, give us a call!

  • Have your baby sleep in a Pack’n’Play – If the school doesn’t have one, bring one in for your baby to use.

  • Bring in a few receiving blankets to pin to the outside of the “crib” to darken it and provide some “privacy” for nosy little ones who want to be a part of whatever is going on in the room.

  • Beg your childcare providers to turn off the lights and cover windows to darken the room for naps (sheets, garbage bags, dark paper are all cheap and easy fixes if shades are not possible).

  • Buy the room a white noise machine or donate an old smart phone with a free app for white noise. Ask that they turn off any music that they feel is “soothing”….it’s not.

  • Although it’s really hard for working parents to put our little ones right to bed after a long day of being apart, it’s typically what our children need and we believe their needs should come before ours, so get them to bed early during your transition.

3 Responses to “5 Tips to Improve Sleep at Daycare”

  1. It’s interesting to know that other children will nap for about two hours every time they are in the child care center. I would love my son to nap during the afternoon for better development of his body. With that in mind, I will look for a center that I can trust and take him there starting this year since he is three years old, and he should practice the right napping time everyday.

  2. Interesting thoughts! I hadn’t realized there were so many things that could be done when one’s kid isn’t sleeping at daycare. I really like the blankets idea – your baby would probably be comforted by the familiar smell, too.

3 Responses to “5 Tips to Improve Sleep at Daycare”

Leave a Reply