Hey, everyone, it's Christine Stevens, owner and founder of sleep solutions by Christine. And today's topic, we're going to talk a little bit about the transition to daycare to a nanny share to another caregiver. I get a lot of questions from parents about this. Because you know, when we work together, we get our kids sleeping, and they're sleeping through the night they're doing so well, what's going to happen when they actually go to daycare? And how do you make that transition as easy as possible?
First, let's talk about what's going on when you're sending your child to daycare. Now, whether you have to send your kid to daycare because they're you have to go to work or you know, just in a little bit of a break, and you just want to send them to a babysitter for a few hours, every you know, what, a couple of times a week. Great, awesome. Think about this first, you know, you're you're handing control of your child over to someone else. So number one, make sure that you trust the person that you're leaving them with. But when you're going to daycare, your child doesn't understand, Oh, mommy, daddy, has got to go to work. And I have to be left with this new person. So remember, your child may be a little bit confused to start out, they don't understand who this new caregiver is, maybe you know, as with any new person that that baby or your child meets, it's going to take a little time for them to kind of get used to this person understand that, okay, you're a safe person, you're okay to be around. So maybe the first time that you that you start to send them to daycare or nanny and I use daycares as a the general term, maybe doing some short spurts. So maybe the first day, maybe you only leave little one for about two hours. Just enough for that one bottle. So make sure you send a good bottle.
Talk with your caregiver, whether it's a teacher, it's a babysitter, talk with them about your child's normal nap schedule, maybe don't expect a nap the first day, this is just a chance for for your little one for baby, for your toddler to get used to the new caregiver. And you know, go do a little short errand or something, maybe go to the grocery store by yourself, which is kind of a cool thing to be able to do as a mom, maybe go to the gym, maybe go get a quick haircut, or it's just something you know, just some little errand that you can do. That's going to take probably about two, maybe three hours, and then go back and get baby. Over time, your little one's gonna learn, okay, mommy drops me off. I get to play with this cool person, I get to play with these other kids, maybe? And then mommy comes back. Okay, great. That's how the day is going to work. So if all goes well, the first day, maybe the second day, maybe you leave little one for maybe just a few more hours. And you know, if it still all goes well, on the second day, okay, maybe we're gonna make sure that we try at least one nap while they're with the nanny or the or daycare or wherever they're at.
And when you're doing naps at a daycare or with nanny when someone else another caregiver, such as a babysitter is going to give your child a nap. Talk with them about when your child typically naps, maybe you have an infant and your child is not on a nap schedule quite yet. That's okay. But at least talk to talk to your caregiver about awake times. Give the quick briefing first thing in the morning when you walk in. Okay, little one woke up at about six o'clock this morning. Hey, naptime should be about x. And for most infants, that's somewhere between anywhere from you know, hour, hour and a half to maybe two and a half to three hours after they arrive after they get out of bed in the morning. So whatever the time that is, let your caregiver know, give them an at least a rough estimate of when baby should be going down for a nap. Also talk with your caregiver about how your baby or your child is going to nap that day. How do you get them to go to sleep? Do you typically hold them and rock them till they're asleep? Do you typically put them in a sleep sack? After a quick snack, put them in their crib night night? Do you use a pacifier? Anything like that. If you use something like that a tool to help your child fall asleep. Make sure that you've got it, but also talk with your caregiver. But if it's also something that you don't normally do, such as rocking, feeding or something like that to use or a pacifier, then talk with your caregiver about possibly avoiding those things that you know sometimes we have to be a little flexible with our kids. They're not robots, they don't always do things the same way every single time. So we want to give them a little bit of grace and a little bit of help. Sometimes caregivers do so much for us. And we want to you know, make it a little bit easier on them.
Within a couple of days, and then after first week or so, you've had this kind of trial period of sending your little one to the new nanny share, they're going to get used to it. Okay? Now, maybe you've sent one, maybe two bottles over the first week, we've tried another nap. By the end of that by the end of those first couple of days, first four or five days of going to take care of nanny, share whatever, you want to make sure that they're eating. That's the other thing that can happen a little bit, too. Not only are kids confused that they don't understand who this new caregiver is, but they may also not understand it's okay to eat from this person. So if your child's never had a bottle from anyone else, but maybe a spouse or another family member, it's gonna take them a little bit of time, it may take them a couple of days. What some kids will do when they first start daycare, they'll go on a little bit of a hunger strike. They don't understand this new person, ooh, who are you? Am I allowed to eat from you Yikes. Commagene what your kids going through. So what can you do if your kids going on a hunger strike when they start daycare? First, what you can do is track have your provider track the number of ounces, that baby or your child, you know, what they're eating during the day. And if that's significantly less, well, then maybe the first thing to do before you get in the car before you take that ride home, probably feed baby, because they're probably hungry, and little one may be kind of holding out for you. Make sure little one is is getting something to eat before you head home. And really focus on that, over the course of about one to two weeks, your child will get much more used to eating from that caregiver and should be right back to normal eating schedule.
Now, when it comes to the sleep, with daycare, maybe you've got this great nap or at home, and you're so worried about what's going to happen with daycare, you can always talk with your provider; you want to come at this with a partnership attitude versus "this is what I want you to do" always works a lot better. Remember you're going to get a lot more flies from honey than vinegar. Right? Start the conversation as a partnership mindset. How can we work together? Find out what your providers normal daycare schedule is. Is it something that you can set? If you're going to a maybe a larger daycare or home based daycare, do they have set nap times? Talk with your provider about what would be the schedule and about when my child takes a nap during the day. How can we make this best work?
Make sure that little one is still getting naps during the day, even if they're with another caregiver. And if you find out at the end of the day, when you pick them up, that maybe naps didn't go so well. Because there's all these new kids to play with and use new toys and new things to try and new people to hang out with. Sometimes it's a little tougher to get them to take a nap. It happens with a little bit of practice, they'll get much better at it. Make sure that you know if little one isn't napping all that well at daycare at first. And that one can take probably another two or three weeks to really start to come together and be and be in bed or nap or at daycare. But also think about what you can do at the end of the day. If for some reason naps just go horribly wrong; they're not happening. Naps were too short at daycare, whatever that is. What is your fallback plan? What can you do? There's always the 15 minute power nap at the end of the day that will help to save you a little bit. So if your little one isn't sleeping all that great, maybe had two, 30 minute naps and you show up and it's like oh yeah, they've slept 60 minutes total all day long. Whereas at home, maybe baby sleeps 45 minutes to an hour per nap. Okay, what's our fallback plan? First thing, quick 15 minute cat nap in the afternoon. You know, right as you're going home, maybe they eat, feed them, get them in the car, give them a little 15-20 minute cat nap that should carry them through to bedtime. If all else fails and you know you're going to be picking your kid up, and it's getting too close to bedtime, an early bedtime is always a good idea. 30-45 minutes early is never problem to put your child to bed a little early, especially when they're babies. Sometimes it can be really stressful to get home and you're just getting home from work. And you've got to get the baby fed. You've got to get the baby in bed and all you want to do is to see your baby. I get it. Try to spend maybe 15 minutes after you fed them just hanging out and seeing your baby. But remember, get your bed baby in bed a little bit early. Overtired babies, they're not going to sleep as well at night. So as much as we really want to keep them up. It's best to give our babies plenty of chance to get some sleep at night.
So, that's kind of daycare transition in a nutshell. Do it a little bit gradually as much as you can. I understand it's hard to drop your kid off and have to head to work the next day the day. The day that you're done with maternity leave, try to do it in a little bit of a gradual way and get your child used to that new provider. Watch the feedings, making sure your child is still eating and it's not turning into the all night buffet because they've been waiting for you all afternoon. Make sure the baby is still sleeping at night. Make sure the baby is starting to take some decent naps at daycare, work on that, work on those naps at home and have that fallback plan if little one isn't sleeping at daycare. Within a few weeks, little one should be adjusted to daycare.
Alright, those are my best tips for daycare transition. I wish you all the best in wherever that your child is taken care of. And if you've got questions, feel free to give me a call or go to my website https://www.sleepsolutionsbychristine.com
Send me a contact request. Let me know your questions. I am happy to chat with you. Alright, so until next time, I am Christine Stevens, owner and founder of sleep solutions by Christine. Have a great day and sleep well
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.