New Vivvi Research: Supporting the Marathon of Working Parenthood.
Read it now.

We're here for you.

Share your email and we'll share our world.




5 Tips for a Smooth Sleep Transition into Child Care

We’re here for you.

Share your email, and we’ll share our world.

As if the return to work transition wasn’t challenging enough for new parents, the timing often coincides with that critical stage when you’re trying to develop healthy sleep habits for your baby. For parents who are transitioning to a group child care environment, those baby sleep habits are suddenly a shared responsibility—and your new child care providers may not necessarily share the same strategies. 

So, how can we help our babies develop healthy sleep habits when they’re not in our care for a good part of the day? And how can we make sure our babies get the sleep they need at daycare?

“It’s totally normal to worry—I was also anxious when my daughter was starting daycare,” says Hadley Seward, founder and pediatric sleep consultant at Bonne Nuit Baby. “Even if sleep is disrupted initially, it’s likely that it will come together as the child gets used to the new environment. It can be nerve-wracking to hand over control of your child’s sleep to another caretaker, but focus on what you can control.”

It’s not all a game of chance, though, Seward says. There are practices you can work on at home to support your baby’s sleep health when they’re at their child care provider. Whether you’re working on independent sleeping, dealing with two different naptime schedules or have an overtired, cranky baby from all that daycare stimuli, there are ways you can support your child’s sleep health and ease your own mind.

Focusing on what you can control is the thesis of Seward’s tips here. As parents, we have to accept that we cannot control every second of our child’s day. What we can do, though, is give them the skills and tools necessary to be an active participant in their own sleep journey.  

Here are five of Seward’s best tips for helping your baby get enough sleep during the transition to child care:

1. Focus on independent sleep.

Seward’s biggest advice for babies four-months-old and older is be to work on independent sleep for naps before starting in group child care. If your baby is able to get themselves to sleep without the need for rocking or patting, they’ve already conquered the first obstacle of napping without mama. The surroundings are new and that can be disorienting for your baby, but trust that your baby will become familiar and comfortable in their new space soon.

2. Implement a clock-based schedule.

While newborn babies sleep often and on their own schedule, starting around four- or five-months-old, parents can begin to set a more consistent clock-based schedule for their child. That means meaning your baby should consistent nap at specific times during the day and go to sleep at a set time each night. 

Sticking with a clock-based schedule will make it easier to ensure consistency between child care days and at home days. It’s okay if your home nap schedule differs from your child care schedule.

3. Plan for an earlier bedtime.

Help your child stay well-rested during their transition to group child care by offering an earlier bedtime. Consider moving your baby’s bedtime a little bit earlier during this transition time. 

Oftentimes the biggest impact on sleep during the first few weeks of daycare is that the child is exhausted at the end of the day—in a good way,” Seward said. “They’ve had a fun day with their new friends, but it’s also a lot of stimulation. For this reason, I highly recommend that families plan for an early bedtime the first few weeks of starting a new a new child care routine.”

4. Expect bad nap days and compensate sleep accordingly.

Bad nap days happen occasionally, whether you’re at home or in a child care setting. When your child has a bad nap day at child care, you can compensate at home with an earlier bedtime. Good communication with your child’s caregivers goes a long way!

“On the days when my daughter didn’t nap well at daycare, I offered a super early bedtime so she could stay well-rested,” Seward explains.

5. Accept that different sleep schedules happen.

If your child’s child care sleep schedule is different from the home sleep schedule, don’t panic. Seward says you should continue to offer your child their usual routine when they’re home with you, and trust that your child will adjust to the new schedule.

Stay in close contact with your caregiver; remember they are an extension of your parenting team and they should be just as invested as you are in creating a healthy sleep foundation for your baby. When your baby gets quality, healthy sleep, everyone wins!

Experience the Vivvi™ difference for yourself.

Meet us online for a safe, smile filled open house.