When you first decided on the nursery or childcare setting your little one was going to attend, I imagine the sleeping situation wasn’t the first thing on your mind, it certainly wasn’t for me!
I spent my time pondering the outdoor space, the types of toys they had, whether the menu had some nice healthy options and how friendly and approachable the staff were! While all of this is still super important, the sleep space and routines are also an important element of your child’s day and should be considered. After all, good sleep is crucial to child development.
Looking for a childcare setting that will adapt to your schedule will often make life easier, but this is sometimes a big ask when they have many children on different routines and nap schedules, so it is important to have some level of flexibility. It is often the case that your child will behave differently in different places, so while a floor bed might work for them at nursery, it may not at home.
Your routine at home may be working perfectly well for you, so thinking about how your little one will cope at nursery can produce some pretty anxiety-ridden thoughts. You need to prepare yourself that their sleep is very likely to be different than it is at home, and this flexibility can sometimes be very helpful!
It is VERY normal for children to have shorter naps at nursery. It is a very busy and much noisier environment, and this is ok! They will likely need an earlier bedtime on nursery days, as their little brains have been so busy learning lots of new things.
Questions you could ask your potential childcare provider:
1) Do you have a set schedule for all the children or will you follow the parents schedule as far as possible?
2) What is the sleep space like? Do they sleep in cots? Floor beds? Prams? Indoors? Outdoors?
3) Is the sleep environment dark? If not, could I provide a stick-up blackout blind?
So what can you do to help your little one have the best success at sleeping well in a childcare setting?
1) Let the setting know your sleep schedule and routines (and don’t feel awkward about discussing this, you are going to be paying them lots of money!)
2) Let them know your priority e.g. if you really don’t want your child to be fed to sleep, let them know and o er them alternative methods.
3) Provide them with a blackout blind if they are happy to try it.
4) Send in a sleeping bag from home so it’s something familiar from your routine.
5) If your child uses a comforter (Age 1+) then I recommend having a spare and sending one with them for sleep time.
Overall, it’s an exciting and emotional time choosing and sending your child to a childcare setting. Remember to take the time to look after yourself too, it’s a huge period of adjustment for everyone.