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Resettling at daycare

Transitioning into daycare, home-based care or having a lovely friend/family member caring for your little one can bring about all sorts of anxiety. What if they don't sleep? What if their naps are short? How will they settle them? Will their days impact their nights?


Creating a new norm and introducing your little love into a new environment takes time. Your feelings and apprehensions are totally valid! Here's some tips to support you through this next stage in your parenting journey.


Things will be different. Your baby's sleep environment will be different, their routine may be different and they won't settle and sleep exactly the same as they do at home. The best news? That's okay! Don't stress. Focus on what you can control and have open communication with your daycare centre/carer.


If your baby currently has a short/long routine for example 9:30-10am and 12:30-2:30pm this might look different on daycare days. Whether its because they take a little longer to settle, there are other babies in the sleep room disrupting their sleep or their nap time is earlier/later - it is normal for their sleep to look a little different to what they do at home.


If daycare doesn't/can't wake them from a shorter morning nap and/or you're finding your little one isn't having a decent lunch sleep then you could try a medium/medium routine on daycare days. For example if they usually sleep 9:30-10am and 12:30-2:30pm but have started waking after 45min into their afternoon sleep you could try splitting their total day sleep across two naps instead. If all else fails you can offer a short nap on the way home from daycare late afternoon (if over 8m I'd suggest capping this at 15min so it doesn't steal their sleep pressure for night sleep).


Focus on sleep before settling. When they first start in their new environment put your energy into getting sleep into them. Daycare and a change in scenery is super stimulating and tiring! From the moment they arrive to the moment they leave they will be in sensory overload, oh the fun they will have! Getting zzz into them is the priority, before you may choose to look to change the way they are settling when in someone else's care.



Just because your baby can independently settle at home doesn't mean that they will automatically do this at daycare, especially as they are settling in. As I always tell my clients, it's not a step backwards if they need more support. Developmental changes, a different environment or carer as well as a change in routine can all impact their settling. If daycare needs to rock them to sleep go for it. We can change this once they are more settled! You could chat with daycare about reducing the rocking in arms to move towards cot settling like they may do at home. Try layering in some sleep associations like patting and shushing that a teacher can continue from arms to cot.


Communicate with daycare/their carer. No doubt when you first looked into daycare centres or home based care you made enquiries into the sleep room and routine's etc. In my experience, most daycare centres are very supportive in following families usual routines. However, some have policies around resettling and some do's and don'ts when it comes to settling. Just remember, they are supporting your child in a safe and nurturing environment and we want to ensure that your little love is well rested to thrive both there and at home.


If their day sleep is impacting their night sleep then you may need to rebalance their total day sleep across their naps a little differently. Sometimes the smallest change, like bringing a nap 10min earlier or offering a milk feed at a different time that can make all the difference.


Have a plan for when you pick them up. Technology today means that most childcare centres have online forums/apps that you can check in and see how your little one is going. They document pretty much everything: feeds, meals, toileting, naps and how they are playing each day. This allows us as parents to check in and anticipate what our little people might be like upon pick up. If they have had a short nap/less sleep day then having a contingency plan can help tackle any over tiredness and get their day back on track. Whether it's an assisted nap on the way home at 4:30pm or an earlier bedtime, being prepared in advance will help take the stress and guess work out of it.


Having an easy dinner planned or pre-organised meal is key. Sometimes it can feel quite rushed getting in the door at 5/5:30pm and having to prepare a meal - leftovers from the night before, batched pre-made meals or easy pasta dishes are always my go to!


If you need some sleep support and you are ready to make a change I'm here for you! Book a discovery call and let's chat about your little one's sleep and how I can help your family get the rest you all need to thrive.





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