It’s hard enough for a working mom to leave her child all day but for this momma to come back from work to an over-tired child who won’t nap well at daycare – well that really SUCKS! But what if naps at daycare could improve?
Naps at daycare are hard for any child, even the ones with great sleep habits at home. Many factors play into having your baby take good/better/best naps at daycare such as how long they have been there, how sleep habits were before you went to daycare and how sleep sensitive they may be.
If you are finding that naps are still not great after several weeks of adjustment at daycare, I would strongly suggest talking to the daycare and figure out a way that you can get sleep habits on track. Many daycares have many regulations they have to abide by so it’s best to understand what they can and can’t do, but also ask what they can do to help!
Here are certain questions to understand from daycare:
- What time will my baby nap?
- Where will they be napping?
- How will my baby fall asleep?
- How long will they attempt a nap for?
- What happens if my baby takes a short nap?
- What is the sleep environment where my baby will nap?
Here are some ideas to ask your daycare if they can implement:
- Can your child be put into a swaddle or sleep sack before their nap?
- Can a daycare worker sing a song before being put in the crib as a cue for sleep?
- Can your child be put in a crib that is the furthest away from a window (or the darkest spot in the room)?
- Can your child be put in a crib that is furthest away from the main play area (or the quietest spot in the room)?
- Can you bring in a white noise machine that can be used when your baby naps?
- If your child is older than one, can a special attachment object be used in the crib?
- If your child is still on two naps at 15 months (typically the time that they are moved to an older room which has 1 nap) can your child still be offered two naps?
- Can you provide a schedule or set wake times to offer naps? (consistent with how you nap your child outside of daycare)
If all else fails and your child is still taking poor naps at daycare – do everything to keep your child as well rested as possible. I know you will miss spending time with your baby but an early bedtime is a MUST if naps are poor. Ask your daycare for help and have them give your baby dinner and put her in pajamas so all you have to do is your bedtime routine when you get home.
Focus on all of the quality time that you get to spend with your child on the weekend. Weekends should also be used as a great time for your baby to catch up on sleep if she is accumulating a sleep debt during the week.
I empathize with all the families that have children that do not sleep well at daycare. I was once where you are…and after 8 months of having a hot-mess child due to poor daycare naps, we hired a nanny and things got much better for us. I know switching from daycare is not in the cards for everyone so hopefully with these tips your child can sleep better!