Sleep routines + daycare.

One of the biggest challenges parents face is how to manage the transition to daycare, especially when their baby is already on a carefully planned out nap schedule.

The best-case scenario is that your childcare provider is able to accommodate a similar routine. Many daycares operate on only one nap per day but might be able to offer a morning nap to bridge the gap for your baby until the afternoon sleep. And keep in mind that all children eventually make it to one nap per day, so even if the schedule isn’t ideal at the beginning it should be a problem that is short lived.

It’s important to communicate your preferences and any challenges you may be experiencing.  For example, if you’ve recently broken a serious soother habit, tell them about it so they can avoid offering a pacifier. And if you’re ok with a little bit of crying while falling asleep be sure that you are clear about this, otherwise they’ll most likely sooth your baby within seconds of hearing a peep, which could lead to a sleep regression at home.

The good news is that babies are quite often able to distinguish between what happens at daycare and what happens at home, as far as sleep routines are concerned. They have an easier time realizing that even though they might have been rocked to sleep in one environment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen at home. And nap sleep isn’t as restorative as night sleep, so missing out on some daytime sleep isn’t as bad as if they were missing those hours at night.

The truth is that the ideal sleep routine is a moving target; we are constantly adapting to our children’s changing needs.  While it may be frustrating if your daycare cannot follow the exact schedule you live by at home, know that children are adaptable and everything will be ok. You can always adjust bedtime to make up for any sleep deficits that occur during the week.

- Allison.

Allison MacEwen