How You Can Prepare Your Child to Nap at Daycare


Starting daycare is a big step for both children and parents.

You all might be feeling apprehensive about it— which is completely normal. Now that you have children, you have a fair number of years ahead of you during which these big changes will come up. You'll be trying to encourage your child to be brave, while secretly being as nervous as they are.

When it comes to daycare, among your nervous thoughts might be:

  • How will their sleep schedule work?
  • Will their nap times be drastically different from the schedule you've painstakingly curated?
  • Will they be able to nap in an unfamiliar environment and without you there? 

All your thoughts are valid. But the reality is: children are really adaptable. At first, this transition might surprise them, but over time they'll get used to it all. And so will you. 

In the meantime, here are some suggestions to start preparing your family before beginning daycare and at the early stages of your new routine. 

1. Do a few visits to get your child used to this new environment. Let them spend time with the staff and in the space they'll be napping when they're at daycare. Explain to them what will happen.

2. Find out what the nap routine of the daycare is and slowly transition your child's home naps to match. The best way to do this is in 15 minute increments every few days until your home schedule matches the daycare's.

3. Ask your daycare if it's possible to have a consistent staff member soothe your child when it's time for naps. You'll know by now: routine rules for kids.

4. Let your child take a special sleep item to daycare—maybe a blanket or toy. This item is a source of familiarity that they use during sleep both at home and daycare. 

5. Explain to your daycare what method of bedtime soothing you use and how you'd like them to handle wake ups before it's time. You can do this even before you commit to a daycare so you can be sure they're willing to work the way you feel comfortable.

Finally, for your own sanity and nerves, remember there are lots of big changes along the way for you and your child, children are adaptable, and they become used to new routines. You (both can do it!

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