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Sleep Training and Daycare

How to keep your child on track when you send them to daycare

One of the biggest obstacles my clients face is what do when they send their little ones to daycare. I have had to navigate this twice and it can be unsettling.

Whether you’ve already gotten your baby on a carefully planned nap schedule or you’ re planning on starting one, a problem obviously arises if your daycare provider doesn’t follow that same schedule. This is simply the reality of living that daycare life.

Working with your daycare provider

The the most important thing to do is communicate with your daycare to find out what the schedule is and how they put the kiddos to sleep for nap. Let them know that you’ve been working on a naptime schedule and ask if they can accommodate the times you’ve been working with. If they agree, great! Many daycares are happy to have a baby that sleeps a lot and are always happy to have one that goes to sleep easily. Champion sleepers are welcome everywhere they go!

It’s also important that you let them know if you’re alright with a little bit of crying while baby falls asleep. If you don’t tell them otherwise, they’ll almost always soothe baby to sleep in one way or another as soon as they start to make some noise.

Let the daycare providers know what you would prefer as far as “sleep props” go, and what you would prefer they avoid. If you’ve just broken a serious soother habit, tell them about it and ask that they avoid offering pacifiers. If baby’s got a strong association between rocking and falling asleep, ask that they soothe baby without picking her up. Again, most daycare providers are happy to make some arrangements with parents if it means a happy, sleeping baby and a happy, satisfied parent.

Babies are smart

The good news is that babies are quite often able to distinguish pretty well 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 gotten rocked to sleep in the one environment, it doesn't necessarily mean they’ll be getting the same treatment at home. Babies are super smart like that!!

Silver Linings

The other silver lining is that nap time sleep isn’t quite as deep and “high-quality” as nighttime sleep. The night is when baby really gets the good hours of rejuvenation and restorative effects of a solid snooze, so even though they might be missing out on some nap time at daycare, it’s not as bad as if they weren’t getting those hours at night.


At the end of the day, remember the teachers in your child’s classroom are experts in their field and they KNOW how to work magic to get kids to sleep. Communicate your wishes to them and (in all honesty) don’t think much more about it. Focus on what happens at home with bedtime and over night. Yes, there is often an adjustment and you can expect some potential sleep disruptions for a few weeks, maybe less. But ultimately, don’t worry too much about what happens sleep wise at your child’s daycare. Sometimes you just have to let something go!

How old will your baby be when they start daycare? Comment below!

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