Top Sleep Tips for When Your Baby Starts Childcare
Many parents are daunted by the thought of their baby or toddler starting childcare, not least due to any potential disruption to their sleeping patterns. However, I often speak to Mums who have spent their maternity leave working on their little one’s sleep and feel they have got into a great routine and are understandably worried about how the change will affect sleep.
If this is one of your concerns, firstly, try not to worry too much in advance of the change. Babies are remarkably adaptable, and most fit in well with a new schedule – try to be confident in your little one and embrace the new changes. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard from parents that their wee one is a terrible sleeper at home but sleeps like an angel at childcare!
However, if you find that your baby is struggling with sleep at childcare, and this is having a knock-on effect with nighttime sleep or sleep on non-childcare days, you can do lots of things to help.
Speak to your childcare provider to see if they can fit into your usual routine – It’s always worth asking your childcare if they can accommodate your little one’s routine and have them asleep at the same time you would if they were at home. Of course, this can’t always be possible in childcare settings, but it’s always worth having that conversation to see if they can try and fit in as much as possible with your home routine.
Pack a lovey/comforter – a lovey or comforter is a great help for getting babies to settle, and they can be instrumental in helping little ones feel more settled at nursery. If your baby already uses a comforter, then be sure to send it in with them on childcare days. If not, it may be a good time to introduce one to your wee one – the link between home and childcare can be really lovely for your little one and help them feel more comfortable when sleeping away from home.
Bring bedtime earlier on childcare days. Likely, your wee one won’t have as much sleep at childcare, so that they will be extra tired that evening. So keep an eye out for their tired signs, and don’t be afraid to get them in bed nice and early if you think they need it.
Focus on sleep on non-childcare days – if you find that your wee one seems tired once they start childcare, make sure that you allow them plenty of time to catch up on the days when you’re at home with them. Having some more restful, sleepy days can help them catch up on sleep and stop the overtired cycle from happening.
Little ones can take a few weeks to settle in fully to a new routine, so don’t panic if things all go a bit wrong in the first few weeks of a new childcare setting. Instead, just stick with your regular routine at home, allow them as much sleep as they need, and you’ll soon get through the bumpy patch!
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