My six-year-old son won’t sleep in his own bed, so we have been letting him sleep with us. How can we work on moving him back to his own room? He has sensory issues and always wants to be near me. —Jenny
Dear Jenny, This issue of children with sensory issues not being able to sleep on their own is a common one among children who have sensory differences. Sleeping is one of the physical tasks of self-regulation and when any one or combination of a child’s sensory systems is not working efficiently or effectively, then sleep is likely to be disrupted. One of the most common ways that sensory differences impact sleep is from what we call tactile/touch processing differences. Some children need more touch input so they can feel where they are in space (their own body awareness is poor) and other children have touch sensitivities (their sense of touch is over-responding). In both cases, having a parent close to them offers the warm, firm, pressure that helps to calm touch sensitivities OR it gives them the added feedback about their own position so they can rest and relax into sleep.
I received so many questions last week about naps and daycare that it inspired me to do a blog post about it. I got questions such as “How do I talk with my provider?” and “Do I just give them a schedule?” so I wanted to address the most common ones I hear.
Whether it’s with a family member, a daycare class with multiple children, a homebased daycare with different age ranges or with a nanny, ensuring your child’s caregivers provide the same consistency that you give at home will keep your little one sleeping well while you’re away. Besides, you shouldn’t lose all of the great work you’ve done with your child’s sleep as soon as they leave your arms!
Sleep begets sleep… crappy naps = crappy night sleep, plain and simple. If your child gets good naps during the day, then they’ll sleep better at night.
Let me know if this has ever happened to you…you leave your baby or toddler in the care of someone else while you’re at work, that you absolutely trust, but you spend at least some of your day worrying that your little one is taking good nap(s). Sound familiar?
So what’s the best way to start the conversation about your child’s naps with your daycare provider?
Read on to check out my favorite tips for creating a great sleep relationship with your daycare provider.
Tip #1: What is your provider’s policy on naps? Do all of the children in the class nap at the same time or do the provider(s) put them to bed when they’re tired? If your provider has a set nap time for all children, such as 12:30pm for children over 12 months of age, then try to stick with the same schedule at home. If your child sleeps well at daycare but not at home, stick with the same naptime schedule and allow your child some quiet time to rest and play quietly with a stuffed animal or book. If your child is under 12 months of age, talk with your provider about your baby’s current schedule to make sure your baby isn’t awake too long in between naps, naps are evenly spaced throughout the day and is being put to sleep in a similar fashion like you’re doing at home. Talk with your provider about your nap schedule at home and ask them to put baby down around the same time.
If your provider has a differing opinion about your baby’s nap schedule, see how you can come to a compromise. When all else fails, call me and I’ll mediate!
Tip #2: Where does your child sleep? Movies or music playing, bright rooms, other kids running around…what’s a baby to do when it’s time to get to sleep? Take a look at the area where your child will sleep. If baby is under 12 months of age, they should certainly be sleeping in a crib or pack ‘n play, never in a swing, car seat or bouncy seat. Ask them to put your child to sleep in the darkest part of the room as possible. If your baby uses a sleep sack or other wearable blanket, have a second just for daycare. Talk with your provider to find out the process they use to put children down for a nap and see how close you can get it to your way of doing things. And if your child isn’t used to being held and rocked to sleep, suggest that your provider doesn’t either. Tip #3: Keep track of naps When you pick up your child at the end of the day, ask your about how the day went…how were naps, how long did they last and when did they occur? Bonus points if your provider provides emails or text messages with a log of this information! If your child’s nap was a shorter than normal or skipped a nap, consider putting them to bed a little early (about 30 minutes) that night to catch up on some much needed sleep.
Not sure if your baby has the right nap schedule? Send me a note at christine@sleepsolutionsbychristine and we’ll schedule a time to chat through it and find the right nap schedule for your baby or child.
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