Is it time to send your little one to daycare? Don’t panic! Read on and find out how you can navigate the dangerous waters of sleep training and daycare.
So, you’ve decided to start sleep training your little one. Congrats!
But being a working mom means that your child has to attend daycare.
I know what you’re thinking:
Can sleep training and daycare happen together successfully?
The short answer is yes!
Sleep training while going to daycare can happen as long as you and the childcare provider communicate and support each other.
Here’s how to minimize any disruptions in your baby’s sleep now that she’s in daycare.
Make sure the daycare is ready to help you
Before committing to a daycare provider, it’s crucial that have an honest conversation with the daycare provider first. Share your efforts to sleep train your child and let them know you would need their help.
For instance, during the interview, ask them:
Would you be open to helping adjust my child’s sleep schedule if she needs to?
And you’ll have the answer!
If they say yes, that’s great!
If they say no, move on to interviewing the next provider on your list.
Check the sleeping environment
During your interview with the daycare provider, ask to see the sleeping environment.
Take a look at the room.
Is it dark?
Do they have white noise machines?
Do they have one carer who stays in the room, or will they be checking the children every 10 minutes or so?
Don’t hesitate to ask the daycare if they can keep the room dark if possible and let your little one nap in the same crib every day.
Consistency is key, am I right?
And in case your child is used to white noise, a lovey, or a blanket to fall asleep, get a few of them to keep at the daycare. These items will help create a familiar environment and routine for your little one to settle more easily.
Start sleep training at home
Sleep training shouldn’t begin at daycare.
This is a big no-no.
Discuss sleep training with your partner and decide to start at a convenient time for the two of you. For most parents, this is during the weekend.
If possible, take one or two days off work so that you have 3-4 full days of sleep training at the most comfortable and secure location for the baby: your home.
Keep in mind that the first few days are the most challenging, but it’s worth it! If you do it successfully, your child will have an easier time napping while at daycare.
Ask daycare to help you implement good sleep strategies
Now that you’ve found yourself a good provider, it’s time to see how much they’ll be willing to help.
For instance, putting your baby down awake and not fully asleep, letting her sleep with her lovey, or playing white noise sounds.
Let them know that you want to avoid your little one developing sleep associations, so they should avoid using pacifiers, picking her up, and rocking her to sleep.
In case they have a policy about no crying, ask them to soothe your baby back to sleep instead of getting her out of the crib.
The good news is that most daycare providers will be happy to make arrangements with you if it means a sleeping baby and a satisfied parent.
Ask the daycare to log your child’s sleep schedule
Here’s another great idea:
Create a sleep sheet and ask the caretaker to log your child’s sleep schedule.
You’ll know when and how long your child naps and work out where to pick up with sleep training at home.
For instance, if she took a long nap, you’ll know to push bedtime by 15-30 minutes or so.
Limit nap time
Let’s say that you looked at your child’s sleep schedule and noticed that she’s taking long naps.
In this case, talk to the daycare provider to limit your child’s naptime.
Daycarers may enjoy when babies take longer naps, but when it comes to babies who are in the middle of sleep training, this can disrupt every effort you’ve made so far.
For instance, your baby may be undertired and start refusing bedtime. This can lead to her waking up multiple times at night and you being faced with sleep deprivation once again.
Sleep training and daycare can be a terrifying combination, but there are some things you can do to make it an incredible combination.
Simply follow the tips outlined above, and you should be fine.
Remember: Any change takes time.
The average time for things to settle down is about a month.
So expect a challenging month ahead but know that things will soon get better.