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Written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
9 October 2020

Sleep Training and Daycare

One of the most difficult challenges my clients face is deciding what to do when they send their children to daycare. The issue arises is if their daycare provider does not adhere to the same schedule they have or plan to set up for their little ones.

I usually recommend that parents "shop around" for a daycare that is prepared to follow a schedule that is at least similar to the one that the parents are comfortable with. After all, sleep is such an important part of your child's development and overall well-being. So ideally you would find yourself a daycare provider which understands that and willing to meet your child's needs in that regard.

Unfortunately, you may not have all the options in the world. The daycare providers close to home may be limited. Or perhaps your child has already been enrolled in a particular daycare.

The most important thing to do in this situation is to:

- Communicate what you're comfortable with. Inform them what your baby's naptime schedule is and ask if they can accommodate it. If they agree, that's fantastic! Many daycares are delighted to have a baby who sleeps well and better still one to falls asleep independently (makes life much easier for the carers!).  

-Let them know if you're okay with a little crying while baby falls asleep, because if you don't, they'll almost always soothe baby to sleep in some way at the barest whimper.

However there are daycares whose policy is, regardless of your instructions, to  pick up your baby and soothe them to sleep as soon as they start fussing. This can be frustrating if you know your child will fall asleep after 30 seconds of fussing, but if it's the daycare's policy, there's not much you can about it. So all you can do is focus on minimising any adverse impact this may have on your baby sleeping well and independently when back home.

So tell the daycare what you prefer in terms of "sleep props" and what you prefer they avoid. If your baby has a strong association between rocking and falling asleep, request that they soothe her without picking her up. If your baby was used to being fed to sleep, request that they soothe her without feeding her to sleep. Again, most daycare providers are willing to cooperate with parents if it means a contented sleeping baby and a satisfied parent.

The good news is that babies are typically masters at being able to distinguish between what happens at daycare versus what happens at home. They usually do not confuse the two. They usually get that just because they were carried to sleep at daycare, this doesn't mean that the same thing will happen at home- as long as you remain consistent at home and do not bring back sleep props when at home.

Another consolation is that daytime sleep isn't far less deep, restorative and rich in terms of health, immunity and brain development benefits, than night time sleep. So, even if they miss out on some naptime, they are likely to be still well-rested overall if they are sleeping well through the night.

And that's a wrap! Sleep Well.

Article written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Based in Singapore
Trained in the Sleep Sense Program

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