8 03, 2019

Sleep Training Myths

March 8th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Sleep Training Myths

In my job as a child sleep consultant, I have come across every sleep training myth in the book. Unfortunately, as new parents, nobody teaches us about our child’s biological sleep needs and as such, myths, rumors and inaccuracies abound.

Sleep, which is the FOUNDATION for life, is never discussed once parents have a baby. Instead, we are left on our own to try and figure out how to establish healthy sleep habits.

In fact, in a recent, quick poll I did on the Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page the other day, out of the close to 100 parents that responded, only one of them were given any instructions about their baby’s sleep needs before being discharged from the hospital with their newborn! And that parent, had a midwife for her delivery.

So we can’t be faulted for believing some of the following myths.  I used to believe many of these when my own daughter wouldn’t sleep.

But, having the wrong information creates issues for parents and children as they lead you to believe things that are inaccurate. This ultimately ends with children developing unhealthy sleep habits and parents becoming frustrated.

So, let’s correct some of the most common sleep and sleep training myths once and for all.

1. Late Bedtimes Results In Better Night Sleep or Later Wake Ups

This is by far one of the most common sleep training myths that I hear. Most of the time it has come from a well-meaning older relative who has no understanding of the science of sleep.

Again, we can’t fault anyone for this. There have been incredible discoveries about how we sleep in the last 50 years. #Funfact; REM sleep was only discovered in the 1950s and it wasn’t until the late ’60s that scientists started classifying the different stages of NREM sleep.

This means these discoveries were only being made by scientists during the previous generation’s time. And even with the quick dissemination of information in the internet age, most people don’t know how sleep works or is categorized. 

So this brings me back to disputing the first myth; keeping children up later does not make them sleep better at night or wake later in the morning.

It actually causes the opposite to happen!

Children can only comfortably stay awake for a certain amount of time, depending on their age. By keeping a child up later, they will become over tired. This then triggers a biochemical response to release stimulating hormones to try and fight the fatigue.

Once these hormones are in their body, it causes them to sleep less and wake up earlier compared to a well rested child who has a bedtime that is in keeping with their wake times and sleep requirements.  

2. Skipping Naps Means Better Sleep At Night

Similar to the first myth, skipping naps does not make your child sleep better at night. Instead, it builds up the sleep debt during the day.

This increases the release of cortisol and adrenaline; two hormones associated with daytime and stress, and makes them more prone to night wakings.

Just like keeping your child up later, this will cause them to be overtired. Overtired children do not sleep deeply or restoratively. Their sleep will be shallow, hence the increase in night wakings. Therefore, children have sleep requirements that need to be met through naps in order to be healthy.

3. Sleep Training Can Cause Damage

The myths that sleep training breaks the bonds of attachment, causes ADHD, insecurities and creates toxic stress are not true. There is no peer-reviewed, research that indicates, reports or even hints at any harm from sleep training.
See: here, here, and here.

What research does show is that NOT having healthy sleep habits has been associated or linked to a whole host of problems such as (but not limited to): 

 negative impacts on the ability to regulate mood and emotion,

may be an early indicator for anxiety disorders in adulthood,

increased cortisol levels ,

lowered neurobehavioral function, 

and impact to school performance,

There is even more research when it comes to adults and how sleep loss impacts them; diabetes, heart disease, memory, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive function-all have links to poor sleep quality or quantity.

4. Sleep Training Fixes All Problems

Nope, sorry. Sleep training is not the be-all, end-all to every sleep issue.
This is why some people will say; “I tried sleep training and my child is still taking short naps, waking up crying and waking multiple times a night.”

Very often parents misunderstand what the true purpose of sleep training is. Using a method of sleep training should only be used to wean sleep associations.

It can’t and won’t fix other issues such as night wakings which are due hunger.
Many babies will still need a few feeds a night up to 6-8 months (always check with your healthcare and breastfeeding professionals). This isn’t anything wrong or in need of correction in these situations. And sleep training certainly will not “fix” hunger.

Sleep training also won’t help solve sleep problems that are due to a lack of sleep hygiene, poor quantity or quality of sleep, short naps or overtiredness.

In these cases, creating healthy sleep habits, timing sleep correctly with circadian rhythms, and reducing the child’s sleep debt, is the cure. 

5. Sleep Training Means Night Weaning

Let’s put a stop to this one-right here, right now.
You absolutely can sleep train and continue to feed at night. The two are not mutually exclusive.

However, there is a difference between feeding a need and feeding a habit. 
If you feel some of the night wakings are habit (and your healthcare provider has no concerns), you don’t have to wait until your child no longer needs feeds during the night to begin sleep training once your baby is ready.

6. Formula, Solids or Thickening Feeds, Improves Nights

Adding formula, solids or thickening a bottle will not help your baby sleep through the night sooner. Instead, doing this can be harmful to your baby’s health, can be a choking hazard and/or create gut issues.

It also does not address the specific sleep issue that may be causing the problem with how a child is falling asleep or with their routine. 

Instead, follow a well-timed daytime nap routine, follow good sleep hygine and employ an age appropriate bedtime. This will create a healthy and restful sleep routine for your child overall.

7. CIO is a method

CIO stands for Cry-It-Out. This is not an actual sleep training method, but rather a general term that is used to group together a variety of methods and techniques. CIO can mean many things to different people and unfortunately that can cause a lot of confusion when the term is used.

What it commonly gets mistaken for is either Extinction, Graduated Extinction, Timed Intervals or a combination of all three.

8. It’s Normal For Children to Snore

Snoring in an otherwise healthy child, is not normal. It can indicate a variety of problems that need to be addressed such as:

    • An airway issue
    • Low resting tongue posture
    • High or narrow palate
    • Allergies
    • Tethered oral tissues
    • Enlarged adenoids or tonsils

If your baby or child is snoring, it should not be ignored. This is an indicator of an underlying issue. Please bring the issue to your child’s doctor.

9. Children Who Resist Sleep Are “Low Sleep Needs”

The vast majority of children require a significant amount of sleep that average around the same amount of hours per age.

When parents say to me that they believe their child has lower-than-average sleep needs, very often the exact opposite is true.

Depending on their age, most babies and children need an average of 11-12 hours of sleep each night, plus several hours of naps during the day.

But when children are overtired, they resist sleep more, cry longer and harder and can really fight the soothing process due to an increased cortisol levels.

Although it may feel like it, these cues are not indications your child doesn’t want to sleep, but rather they are overtired and have caught their “second wind.”

10. This Too Shall Pass

This is a common phrase that many well-meaning relatives, friends and internet groups say. But the truth is that many children don’t outgrow their sleep issues by themselves.

Especially sleep debts and sleep associations;  they don’t fix themselves. They just get transferred from one issue to another and the problems escalate and snowball.

While sleep is a biological need, falling asleep independently is a learnt skill and healthy sleep hygiene is fostered by parents.

Another factor to consider is how long some issues take to change. In the meantime both you and your child are not getting the proper amounts of rest needed to be at optimal health.

Even if children could work out their sleep issues over time, they cannot recoup the sleep that they have lost. Your child looks to you to set the tone and routine so that sleep needs are being met.

The Truth About Sleep Training Myths

In the age of the internet, sleep myths abound. Although many are well-meaning, they are often not based on the science of sleep or healthy sleep hygiene.
And as we’ve seen, frequently the exact opposite is actually the truth. Carefully consider the information and the source when being told sleep advice so that your child is getting the best rest possible.

Sleep is complex but vital to your child’s development. Helping them to achieve healthy and restful sleep will benefit them in all areas of their life.

  

14 02, 2019

Sleep Training and Sickness; What To Do When Baby Becomes Ill

February 14th, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|

Sleep training and sickness; how do we manage both?

It’s that time of year! I’m sick, my kids were sick, and my clients’ kids are getting sick. It’s by far my least favorite time of year.

Being ill yourself is one thing, but there is nothing worse than having a sick child. All you want to do is take it away and make them comfortable.

If only it were that easy!

One of the most common questions I get from my clients this time of year is “What do I do when I’ve started to sleep train and my child becomes sick?”.

Attempting to do anything with an ill child is not easy, let alone something like sleep training which can be a huge undertaking at the best of times!

A Common Sleep Training Scenario

Here’s a situation I see happen frequently;

For argument’s sake, let’s say you started to sleep train your 7 month old. After a week into shaping the routine, getting naps on track and having more consolidated night sleep, they became sick.

They suddenly struggled to sleep at night because of their high temperature, runny nose and cough. As a parent, all you wanted to do was help them to feel better and ease their discomfort. 

But after being up all night with them trying to get them to sleep, you of course, became exhausted too.

You decided that because you both needed to get some rest, you would nurse them every time they woke the next night.

This way, they would be soothed and you would both quickly get back to sleep.

It was a win-win situation.

Or so you thought.

After 4-5 days, you may have noticed that your child was starting to get better. The flu like symptoms were going away, they were more comfortable and able to sleep much easier.

But just to be on the safe side, you continued to offer extra feeds for a few more nights and held them until they were asleep in your arms.

By the end of the week, your child was 100% back to being their normal, healthy self again.

Deciding to get back on track to sleeping through the night, you decided that the next night would be back to the regular routine.

But when you went to place them into their crib at night, they cried and protested at being put down awake, rather than being nursed to sleep.

What happened?

Your child had formed a sleep association with feeding back to sleep while they were sick. 

Sleep Training and Illness

When your child becomes sick, you need to take care of them first and foremost. Their health and well being comes above all else.

But when tending to them and helping them sleep, sometimes we can inadvertently do a little too much in certain situations.

In the example above, the baby was probably fine to start being placed down awake by the fourth or fifth night. They were already enough into the sleep training process at that point (naps were starting to lengthen as was night sleep. This would indicate that the child was beginning to transition through sleep cycles on their own), that they had developed some independent sleep skills.

But by continuing to feed ‘just in case’ baby needed to be soothed, a sleep association around feeding to sleep, developed.

Now please note, this is neither right or wrong.

It’s just how the brain and sleep work.

Whatever state or environment is present when a child enters the first stages of sleep (stage one in the diagram below), is what they come to expect in order to re-enter another cycle later on.

What To Do When Your Child Becomes Sick

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I strongly encourage you to do what feels right for you, your family and your ill child.

I would also encourage you to give assistance according to the intensity of their illness.

Some tips to consider:

  • If the child has a slight cold, some parents feel comfortable still maintaining a regular routine. This doesn’t necessarily mean formal sleep training where we are actively weaning sleep associations, but it does mean keeping the timing of naps and bedtime on track.
  • If the child’s cold is more severe, we may want to use a humidifier in their room (or steam up a bathroom and sit with them in there for a few minutes), help clear their nose, and move bedtime up slightly earlier. Sleep training is paused, but sometimes the routine is maintained.
  • However, if your baby has a bad flu or stomach bug, sometimes we need to pull out alllllll the stops. This might mean that you sleep in their room on the floor to quickly help them in the night as needed. Or, you may want to offer extra milk feeds, holding them for naps and offering more naps through out the day.

Should You Do Formal Sleep Training?

No one likes being ill so it’s important to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible when they are unwell. Unless it is a very minor cold, most of the time I recommend that parents pause sleep training.

As mentioned previously, you may still be able to keep a some-what consistent nap routine, as well as semi regular nap and bedtimes as well.


After all, sleep is one of nature’s best medicines. 

But for doing the actual weaning of sleep associations (which is what sleep training is *only* to be used for ), then most of the time we need to pause.
I know the concern is that we may undo all of the progress that has already happened, but you don’t need to worry about this.

First,  when it comes to actually helping them fall asleep, we want to only do as much as needed. And this will vary according to the severity of the illness.

Second, if they were already partly on track with sleep skills, then these skills don’t dissappear. You can get back on track when they are feeling better.

When To Get Back On Track

If your child becomes accustomed to a certain situation when they are unwell, they can form sleep associations or learned habits. And sometimes we need to take an active approach to changing the habits.

If this is the case, when you feel that your child is ready, you need to be confident in allowing them to sleep alone, as they normally would.  

In general, I like to wait until the child has been feeling 100% better for several days before resuming formal sleep training.

In the days leading up to this however, you can always start to get back to a more scheduled day if you weren’t before.

Maintaining a well-timed sleep schedule can greatly assist with the sleep training later because we start to eliminate the sleep debt before starting sleep training.

To Summarize

Do whatever you need to do to help your child feel comfortable while they’re ill.

When it comes to sleep; try to soothe them as much as is necessary, without doing more than is needed. This way you lessen the chance of  habits forming during the time that they are sick.

Should bad sleep habits form after you had already started sleep training, remember that your child still has sleep skills. They have not vanished all together, they simply need to be refreshed. Children are very capable of learning and relearning, it just takes time and persistence.

Worst-case scenario; for severe cold and flus; don’t worry about creating bad sleep habits because you can always re-teach and undo any associations, once they are back to full health.

Need further sleep tips? Download your free sleep guide.

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Babies: Baby Sleep Basics 

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6 06, 2018

Your Child’s Sleep and Summer; How to Enjoy Both

June 6th, 2018|Categories: Travel Tips, Uncategorized|

Sleep and summer; the two CAN co-exsist when you have kids!

Summer is approaching! Woohoo!

But wait, we have kids. 😉

And if your kids are like mine, they turn into hot (literally and figuratively) messes when their sleep routine is off.

So how do we mange to enjoy the summer, but still keep our little one’s sleep on track? Can our children’s sleep and summer both be enjoyed without sacrificing one for the other?

Why yes, yes they can.

Here are my top summertime sleep tips for families.

Create an Ideal Room Environment

Whether you’re traveling on the road or, enjoying a stay-cation, your child’s sleep environment can make or break a quality sleep session-especially naps. Since sleep is regulated by the brain, it is the brain that we need to pamper and work *with*, not against.

Therefore, you need to ensure three things are in place…

1) A dark room 
The master clock that regulates our sleep is called the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus which is located behind the optic nerves in the brain as seen in this diagram…

 

When the brain perceives darkness, it sends signals to your child’s brain to release melatonin into the bloodstream. Since melatonin is the hormone that makes your child feel sleepy and helps them fall asleep easily, we want to encourage this as much as possible.

Make your child’s sleeping location as dark as you can, especially for nap time so that Mother Nature does the work for you. At home, this is relatively easy to do, but when travelling, you may need to be a tad creative. I always travel with several king sized sheets for exactly this reason. 😉

2) A cool environment 
17-21 degrees Celsius is the recommended room temperature for sleeping. This isn’t just for kids, but for moms and dads as well. The cool environment mimics what the body wants to do naturally during the sleep process- lower its core temperature. And again, this helps your child to go to sleep quicker.

3. White noise
The birds are loud first thing in the morning, usually before the sun is even up! Since this corresponds with your child’s lightest stages of sleep, using white noise will help to mask this unwanted interruption.

White noise is also wonderful for camping or hotel stays. We
I prefer white noise to music as white noise blends all the sound frequencies together, whereas music does not, leaving the potential for an early wake up.

Plan Travel around Naps

I often get asked the question; “if we have a long day of travel ahead of us, how do we factor naps in”?

First, we need to understand that naps en route are not the same quality as a nap that is in a flat and motionless bassinet, crib or bed.

The brain isn’t able to descend into the deep stages of sleep (think of yourself trying to nap during a car ride) and thus produces a more shallow, less restorative or refreshing nap.

However, any sleep is preferable over NO sleep. If your child naps easily while travelling, then you can take advantage of that.

I do recommend to parents to try and leave after the first nap of the day. That way your child can start the day off with a fully restorative nap in their own environment.

If they should take a short second nap (many older babies are too stimulated by all the sights and sounds to nap for long periods), at least they had a good foundation at the beginning.

If they day is exceptionally long, and the naps are exceptionally short, an extra nap may sneak in, or, better yet, plan for an early bedtime to help recoup the lost daytime sleep.

For older toddlers and preschoolers, naps should end by 3pm to ensure that they will easily go down for bedtime.

If the older ones skip their nap entirely, plan for a super early bedtime to avoid a large sleep debt forming.

Encourage Quality Sleep in Different Locations

Whether your child is going to be napping in a hotel, tent or another house during summer vacation; we want them to be able to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply. How do we do this?

1) Maintain Routine
Regardless of your child’s age, the first rule is to maintain a similar daytime napping schedule (as best as you can)(see previous tip) and wind down routine. By doing this, not only does it help your child to fall asleep quicker in the new location, but it also puts the biochemical reactions in motion and cues your child’s body that it’s time to sleep.

2) Recreate Home 
This isn’t the time to be creative, unless you like gambling with sleep. 😉 Bring your child’s lovey, white noise, night light-whatever they use at home, you should take on the road. It’s also helpful to use the same sheets and pajamas without washing them, so they have the familiar scents of home.

3) Give Them Time
Don’t just plop your toddler in a new Pack and Play and expect them to go to sleep. Give your child time to get acclimatized in the new location *before* you put them down to sleep. They will want to explore it, so let them! This allows the novelty to wear off, gives them play time without the stress of hoping they will fall asleep and allows you to troubleshoot while they do so.

Manage Bedtime During Summer Events

There are a few different options if you have an event that runs later into the evening. You can choose whatever feels right for your family.

1) Hire A Babysitter

This option is best for children that are already sleep trained and familiar with the babysitter. If your child doesn’t know the babysitter, then to ensure success (and less stress for you!), have the new caregiver do a few trial runs with you present in the days or weeks leading up to the event.

 

Want your child to sleep through the night before you head out for vacation? Download the FREE sleep guide; Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night

2) Half and Half

In this situation, everyone attends the event and then one parent leaves and takes the child home at bedtime. You can also then hire a babysitter to watch your kiddo once they are asleep and return to the event, or, that parent stays home for the rest of the evening.

3) Move Nap

If your child can handle it, you can move their nap a touch later in the day. Most kids need a short morning wake period, and if we move the morning nap too late, it will backfire and result in a super short nap.

So if your little one is on a two nap schedule, I recommend leaving the morning nap where it is, but pushing nap two out a little later in the afternoon. If they are down to a one nap routine, then this is the one you would move later.

Don’t do anything too drastic because again, it can result in a shorter nap, so stick around the fifteen to thirty minute mark.

When we move this nap later, the hope is that your child will still nap for their regular amount, but it now ends later in the afternoon. This will give you more breathing room for a slightly later bedtime, without making them overtired.

4) Put Them To Sleep at the Event

This is a wonderful option if you are at someone’s house, but would like to stay later without compromising your child’s sleep.

In this scenario, you would bring your child’s Pack and Play, lovey, white noise, etc., and put them to sleep in a quiet room in the house at bedtime. Do a regular bedtime routine at this new location-don’t panic or feel you need to extend it-just get them down at their regular bedtime.

When it’s time to transfer them to the car, keep all the lights off so the daytime hormones don’t start to interfere with things.

Once home, do the same thing; keep the house dark and get them into their crib or bed. Should they happen to wake up during the transfer, treat it like it’s a night waking at two in the morning and do a brief soothing session to help them go back down quickly and easily.

5) Later Bedtime

I’ll admit it, this isn’t my favourite option, but it *is* an option. 😉 If your child is an independent sleeper, already on a great routine, doesn’t have a sleep debt, then moving bedtime later once in awhile can likely won’t create chaos. It allows everyone to enjoy the summer nights without having to sacrifice family time or anyone’s participation.

If your child has a sensitive sleep temperament though, expect a few night wakings for up to three nights after. To help counter this, do a slightly earlier bedtime the next night or two.

Sleep and summer can go hand-in-hand. While it may not always be perfect, it doesn’t have to be a disaster, either. With a little planning and following the tips above, you can help to ensure that everyone has fun, but stays well-rested too.

Need help getting your child on a better sleep routine? Join and like the Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page and download your free sleep guide here. 

 

1 09, 2016

Help Your Child Adjust to Daycare

September 1st, 2016|Categories: Daycare and Sleep, Uncategorized|

Help Your Child Adjust to Daycare (Daycare Series, Part 3)

Whether you’re going back to work after 6 weeks or a few years, knowing how to help your child adjust to daycare can be a challenge.

This transition can be a stressful time for any family, and in my Daycare Series I’ve already outlined how to choose a day care which respects your child and sleep, and best practices when it comes to helping your baby adjust to napping at a daycare.

This 3rd installment of the Daycare Series I’ll share my tips on how to help your child adjust to daycare with its new and unfamiliar routines:

Be Up-Front with Your Daycare Provider

Before you begin taking your child to a new daycare it’s critical that you communicate openly and honestly with the day care providers about your little one’s sleep, feeding, and eating requirements so that you can ensure that you are on the same schedule.

Keeping this pattern consistent will help your child feel more secure because they are following a familiar, established routine, and it also helps the daycare workers make sure that your child is happy and comfortable.

Bring a Comfort Item for Your Baby

Check to see if the daycare will allow your baby to bring a comfort or “lovey” item with them, such as a special stuffed toy or blanket, which can stay at the daycare for all naps. For young infants, there should not be any items in the crib, but for the older ones, your daycare may allow a small, soft lovey. It shouldn’t have any parts that can come off such as buttons, nor should it be stuffed to prevent a choking hazard.

If you can, have Mom or Baby sleep with the item for a few days before bringing it to daycare for the first time, so that the item has familiar scents attached to it.

Do a Gradual Introduction

If your schedule allows, ease your child into daycare alternating days when they are at daycare, and when they stay at home. One alternative that I recommend (if possible) is to do the morning nap at home, and then bring the baby to daycare for their second nap, or vice versa.

If your child has already gone through the 2-1 nap transition, then you may want to again bring him or her for only half a day for the first week and then alternating full days in week two.

Adjust Accordingly

The first several weeks at daycare are usually a bumpy time for families, and it’s common for a child to resist napping, or to skip napping altogether at the start.

In order to help your child adjust to daycare the quickest, I suggest that parents reschedule bedtime for earlier in the evening to accommodate any sleep loss which may be happening the day. Sometimes it may feel like you are barely able to spend any time with your little one because they are needing to go to bed earlier, however, if this helps everyone to continue to sleep well at night, then it’s worth the initial sacrifice.

Usually by the end of the first month, our little ones are doing much better with the new routine and are able to return to their regular bedtime. (Keep in mind that for children under 5, bedtime is often between 6-7:30pm)

Continue to Communicate Consistently

Some day cares provide daily logs, or summaries, of each child’s behaviour and routines throughout the day. If your daycare doesn’t provide one for you, make sure to communicate about their naps every day, and ask questions like:

  • Did your child nap?
  • How long did they nap for?
  • How long did it take for them to fall asleep?
  • What was their mood like pre and post-nap?
  • Did the provider have to do anything to help them fall asleep?

These answers will help you understand how your child is sleeping, and assist you in determining if you need to adjust bedtimes accordingly.

Remember; the best thing that you can do to ensure a smooth transition for your baby, and to help keep them as well-rested, happy, and healthy as possible, is to communicate with your daycare.

Would you like more tips on how to help your child adjust to daycare?Join me during one of my Q and A sessions on the Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page and ask a question.

 

 

 

17 08, 2015

How to Prepare Your Child for Napping at Daycare (Daycare Series, Part 2)

August 17th, 2015|Categories: Daycare and Sleep|

Napping at Daycare

You’ve researched, interviewed and visited every daycare in the city (or at least it feels that way). You’ve made a pro/con list and followed my suggestions about choosing a daycare. You’ve reviewed the contenders from top to bottom and narrowed it down to one.

Voila! You’ve found the perfect daycare for your little one.

There’s only one small problem; their sleep routine is different. In fact, their whole nap schedule is different and it’s stressing you out.

You may be thinking; “What’s going to happen when I return to work? How will my child ever nap there?”

Please don’t worry that you will be picking up a complete mess of a child who hasn’t napped all day.

It’s going to be ok, I’m here to help.

As nervous as this transition may make you feel, there are several steps you can take right now to help your child. So let’s get your little one ready for the first few weeks at daycare.

Whether you have two months or two weeks, here are some tips to prepare your child for napping at daycare.

Visit the Centre

It’s likely that you have already gone to the facility or home daycare when you were researching, but once you have made your decision, go and visit the daycare to watch their nap routine.

Who do they place down first?

Where? How loud/quiet is it ?

What about the lighting? Does it get turned down or off?

Are there staff members that switch shifts at this time?

If it’s a home daycare, are video or audio monitors used?

Do multiple children share one sleep space?

The more you know ahead of time, the better you can prepare your child.

Communicate

If possible, especially if it’s a large provider, arrange ahead of time to speak with the director and/or the main caregiver that will be interacting with your child each day. During this meeting, it’s a great idea to communicate with the provider about what makes your child unique.

How do they like to fall asleep?

Do they like to have their back rubbed, or like to be held close?

How long are they used to the wind down routine taking?

If your child prefers to hear a rendition of Baa, Baa Black Sheep, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (or even something like this ! #nojudgement), your provider will appreciate to knowing that.

Get Caught Up on Sleep

No one is at their best when they’re overtired, so one of the greatest advantages your child can have, is to be well-rested prior to daycare starting. Yes, perhaps it means that you skip the family dinner that is going to run late and cause your child to be tired the week leading up to daycare, but it’s worth it. Trust me on this one, you do not want to be panicking  before you’re returning to work, desperately trying get sleep in order.

Need help getting your child’s sleep routine on track before daycare?

For babies under 12 months, grab your free copy of Baby Sleep Basics

For Children 1-4 years, download the free Sleep Solutions for Toddlers and Preschoolers; Easy Tips for Exhausted Parents.

Wean Co-Sleeping For Naps

If your child is used to co-sleeping with you during the day for her naps, then work at transitioning her to a crib while you’re still at home and have time to do it. I have tips on transitioning from bed to crib here. Learning to fall asleep in her own space with your help will ultimately be less stressful on her, rather than having a daycare worker do it.

Adjust Routine

Another great way to help prepare your child for napping at daycare, is to adjust their routine (if necessary) to that of the daycare’s.

For example; If your child currently sleeps at 8:00 am and 12:00pm, but your daycare will be doing naps at 9:00am and 1:00pm, then each day move your child’s routine ahead in increments. How fast or slow you go will be up to you and how much time you have. The earlier you start, the easier it will be on everyone.

If you moved in 15 minute increments, then on day one, naps would be at 8:15am and 12:15 pm, day two naps at 8:30am and 12:30pm, and so on.  Starting this process with more than two weeks before daycare begins, also gives you the luxury of adding in days of holding at the new time, before moving forward again.

Independent Sleep Skills

Factoring in your parenting philosophy, the daycare provider’s policies and your child’s personality; teaching your child to fall asleep independently prior to daycare will help prepare them for napping at daycare smoothly. I have seen a wide range of what day cares will and will not do when it comes to sleep training, so know their policies ahead of time and accommodate that into your timeline.

Finding quality childcare can be a stressful event, but by following the above tips, preparing your child for napping at daycare, won’t be. Once your child starts she will be content and you can return to work stress free. (Tips on this coming in the third and final post in this series; Help Your Child Adjust to Daycare.

If your  child still isn’t sleeping at daycare, book a consultation today so they can get the healthy sleep their bodies need and you can come home from work to a happy and well-rested child.