A very common hurdle faced by my clients is what they should do on the sleep training before they send their kids off to childcare.
This concern from clients come from both those who’ve already managed to get their child on a carefully planned nap schedule as well as those only starting out on their sleep training journey, and what every parent fears is that the caregiver or teachers in schools will not follow the same schedule.
For those parents who haven’t yet started with sleep training, they tend to have it a bit easier, and I would usually suggest that they try and find a childcare facility that follows a similar routine as to what they feel comfortable with.
Because let’s face it, sleep is an important element of your child’s overall development which affects all aspects of their lives, and the number 1 priority should be to find a childcare facility that aligns with the parent’s outlook of napping etc.
But many parents don’t have the luxury of time to shop around. Or maybe your child is already attending a childcare facility, but they may only allow for one nap per day or put your baby down whenever they like to.
So, if your childcare provider is doing things a bit differently, the best and most important thing to do is to communicate with what your feelings and approach is. Chat to the teacher and be transparent about you working on your child’s sleep routines during the day and night and ask that they try and accommodate the schedule so as to best support you. If they agree, then well done, you have one less thing to stress about!!! Many daycare centers are only too thrilled to have a child who sleeps well and who sleeps often. Let’s be honest, great sleepers are welcomed anywhere, right?
You should also let your career know that you’re fine if your child cries a bit while falling asleep. If you don’t, they may end up soothing your baby to sleep which kind of defeats all the effort you’ve put in this far. If it really disturbs the other babies, they can gently pat and shush a while.
There are some childcare facilities that have policies regarding picking up a crying baby to soothe them. Although it can be super frustrating, there isn’t much anybody can do about it so in this case, rather focus on ways within your power to minimize the effects on your sleep training. You need to be consistent for naps and bedtime at home.
Let your childcare provider know what you would prefer when it comes to sleep props, as well what you would have them avoid. You can bring one set of sleep sack and a toy for school use. Always keep your childcare provider in the loop as to the progress you’re making for example, if you’ve weaned your little one off their soother, let the childcare provider know that they should not offer one. Once again, most childcare providers are often very open to work alongside parents if it means that they’ll have a great sleeper, and as important, happy parents!
Some good news – babies can often tell the difference between what happens in different environments such as the childcare facility and at home when it comes to sleep routines. Often, they realize this easily and although they may be soothed to sleep by their carer, it does not automatically mean that they would need to be soothed to sleep in their home. So, for your sanity, be clear on how lenient you are in terms of your sleep schedule and what are complete no-goes and what could be altered.
Another point that will calm your anxiety about sleep training and childcare is that daytime naps, although important, are not as “high-quality” as the sleep your little one has during the night. It is during their sleep at night that your child is truly resting, and the important parts of their development is taking place. So, missing out on a nap here and there should not become a cause for concern as long as your child is getting healthy, quality sleep at night.
I must be honest; I am not usually one for breaking rules or veering off a schedule because I firmly believe a routine is an important part in your child’s life especially when it comes to sleep. But let’s face it, we can’t control everything and there will be times where we just have to accept the reality of a situation. But by working with your childcare provider and communicating your wishes to them, you’ll make things much easier for everyone involved and you’ll know which of those wishes can be accommodated.
If your child has just started childcare and you’re still concerned about the effect it may have on all your hard work, why not connect with me and let’s discuss how I can support you and your family through the transition.