Top 7 Daycare Sleep Tips
Daytime sleep is just as important to a baby’s health, well-being, and development as nighttime sleep. A child’s sleep environment can make much more of an impact than you may think. However, sleeping away from home can be challenging. Here are some tips to make it easier for everyone!
- Safe Sleep Practices
Always place babies to sleep on their back on a firm, flat surface such as a crib or sleep cot. No swings, bouncers, or other baby sleep devices should be used. Even once your child is able to roll, continue to always lay them down on their back. Once they can roll on their own to their tummy, it is safe for them to sleep in that position, but back to sleep always.
- Keep it dark
Darkness is an indicator to the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Light, most commonly found in screens and sunlight, inhibits melatonin production and throws our circadian rhythms off. The key is to have a quiet, dark and cool space to nap. The dark room will help your child to fall asleep faster. If the sleep area is not dark enough, talk with your provider to make accommodations.
- Make some noise
White noise machines can be a great addition to a nursery at home or at daycare. Just be sure to keep them a reasonable distance away from the crib. The white noise helps drown out all other external factors.
- Use a sleepsack, lovie, or blanket
For most babies, daycares will not allow a blanket until over the age of one years old. Blankets can be unsafe but a sleepsack isn’t going anywhere. My Favorite sleep sacks are : The Nested Bean and the Bitta Kidda. Use these to help comfort the baby as they fall asleep !
Children thrive on schedules and routines so it is helpful to stick to the nap schedule. “Missing the window” is a common scenario and leads the child to be overtired and in turn more difficult to settle and fall asleep. They often catch that second wind which makes it harder to put down. Try to keep an eye on the awake window to catch the sleepy cues and put them down in time for a nap.
It’s super important to choose a consistent place for your child’s sleep to take place. This helps create a positive sleep association with that place so that your little one knows that crib/bed/sleep cot is for sleeping because that’s where all their sleep takes place when away from home.
- And communication is key!
If naps weren’t great make sure your childcare provider is communication with you. No naps or short naps throughout the day should follow-up with an earlier bedtime. Think of it as not putting your child to sleep earlier, but they are catching up for the lost sleep they did not get during the day!