A Well-Rested Child and Daycare: Is It Possible?

How to work with your daycare provider to ensure your child is getting enough sleep


To keep your baby or toddler on a regular sleep routine, everyone needs to be on board, and that doesn’t just mean mom and dad. Child care providers must also be aware of your usual routine, and attempt to maintain it as much as possible. When discussing a sleep plan for your child, try to come to some common understanding early on and develop a shared game plan. Communication around these key issues is essential when working together to ensure your child is getting enough sleep.


Consistent Sleeping Environment

Parents: Create a familiar sleep zone at home for both naps and nighttime sleep. Staying consistent with this will help your child know that sleep is coming.

Providers: Choose a room or area that is designated for sleep and have the same child or children in that room every day. Have the parents bring something familiar from home, like a blanket or stuffed animal that they can cuddle and soothe with.


Regular Schedule

Parents: If you can get your child on a consistent routine of nap times and bedtime before starting child care, the transition will be easier for all of you.  

Providers: It can be difficult to maintain naps throughout the day when you are dealing with more then one child, many of whom are different ages. But naps need to be a protected part of the daily routine, especially for the younger ones. Try to separate the ‘nappers’ from the older children and use a white noise machine to drown out some of the noise from the kids who stay awake. If you need to go out, try to have the little ones sleep in a stroller or car seat. It’s not ideal, but a few days a week won’t hurt. Just make sure you’re back for afternoon naps.


Manage Sleep Associations

Parents: You need to teach your child this skill before working with a provider. Start to practice a consistent soothing routine. Avoid the associations of rocking, holding, and nursing your child to sleep.

Providers: If you feel that a child needs too much help in falling asleep and isn’t getting the sleep they need, make the parents aware of the situation. Together, you can teach the child the skills they need to fall asleep alone.


Bump up Bedtime

Parents: Starting up at a new daycare is a major transition, and sleep can be disrupted. It can take your child time to adapt and if they’re no longer getting enough sleep during the day, it’s important to move up their bedtime until they have adapted. This way, they won’t get overtired.

Providers: Parents can be flexible with bedtime according to the quality of sleep their child had during the day. Make sure to let them know how their child has slept that day.


Alanna McGinn is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site.  She is a mom of 3 (1 + twins!) and is committed to helping families with their baby and toddler sleep needs.  www.goodnightsleepsite.com.  She will be working with the Halton Child Care Providers Association to create workshops for parents and childcare providers to work together towards healthy sleep for the entire family.



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