My daycare families, here are my top tips to navigating sleep and the juggle of daycare.
Firstly, we want to make sure sleep is at its best when little ones are at daycare so they are not only getting the rest they desperately need before and after these big days. But they are able to recover from illness quicker and give their immunity the best shot . If your little one is used to being rocked to sleep, feeding to sleep etc the transition to daycare is going to be a little tougher on them. Poor sleep makes daycare days much trickier.
Teaching your little one to settle without external props goes such a long way when it comes to the transition to daycare. Our Baby and Toddler sleep courses are a must if you are struggling with your little ones sleep! https://gentlesleep.
You can often bring their comforter however if your daycare does not allow it you can keep it at home, your baby will adjust to the two different rules. You may also want to ask the daycare if they can fall asleep with it and then take it out if they will not allow it otherwise.
Dummies can be particularly problematic for daycare germs. Is it time for the dummy to go?
I usually recommend either doing the last little catnap to buffer bedtime after a big day if there is time otherwise make sure bedtime isn’t falling too late on those days. Have quieter days and don’t over schedule on non daycare days. Remember as much as possible we want to soak our little ones in our undivided attention and really fill their connection cup. Especially if you are new to returning to work, be kind to yourself it will take time to adjust. Please take a look at our blog on retuning to work postpartum https://
Screen time affects bedtime settles, sleep quality and behaviour. It may be a help for the period of time it’s on but we then have to deal with the side effects and lack of connection.
If you get a lot of pushback on the bedtime settle on daycare days, it may be that they are wired and a little walk with them on your hip to say good night to the stars and a few photos before you pop them into bed is quite helpful. Or is it that your little one is tired and getting zoned out on the feed and then getting a second wind making the bedtime difficult? Mix up the routine, having a number of requests for toddlers after a big day of daycare can be too much for them. Make the bedtime routine fun, break it up, connect to direct. How we approach the routine and the rush or state we are in will only come back to us 10 fold. Let’s bath them a little earlier, or meet them where they are playing to brush their teeth. Let’s swap out the books sometime for some floor play or some cuddle wrestling.
Connection is key after daycare. It can be very tempting to rush in pop them in front of the television and start cooking dinner but if you can somehow involve them in that, interact with them even if it’s only for 15 minutes but no other interruptions and no phones around. We must understand that one of our little ones primary need is connection. If they aren’t getting that from us all day for sure they will find that during the bedtime settle.
How can you make those days easier? Can dinner be prepared on the day before or on the weekends. Don’t worry about tiding up or unpacking bags until they are in bed. Can you take a moment to ground yourself once you finish work and get in from daycare pick up. This may be as simple as a few breaths, slow and deep breaths on the loo or some time just rolling around on the floor with your babe having cuddles and delighting in their presence.
This day and age we are expected to work as if we don’t parent and parent as if we don’t work. It is a tough gig. How are you filling your own cup? This blog I wrote on Mummy guilt might just be what you need to read atm. https://gentlesleep.com.
Beautiful pic from @jessicakatephotography
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