Napping at Daycare

Updated on January 08, 2009
M.M. asks from San Jose, CA
17 answers

I've just started back to work and my 6 month old just started daycare. While she seems to be doing okay with the change in care provider- she will not sleep for them. She is currently napping for only an hour total all day. She is sleeping through the night (from 8pm to 6am) but 9-10 hours of sleep total for the day just is not enough for her. You can tell she is exhausted- and she falls asleep within minutes of getting in the car to go home. Any advice on helping her learn to sleep in the daycare setting or is it just part of the "transition". She has never been an easy napper, but when I was home with her I would get a least 3- hours a day out of her and she slept later in the morning.... I just hate seeing her so tired.

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L.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi M.,
The first thing you can do at home is start putting her to bed at night earlier, say 6:30-7pm. She will sleep longer at night and wake up more rested. Try having the daycare put her back to sleep by 9am for morning nap and 1 pm for afternoon nap. I HIGHLY recommend Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth for age appropriate sleep needs and schedules. He also has a section in there for sleep problems. With anything, give it 1-2 weeks of consistency. Email me if you want more info or have questions.
Sincerely,
L.

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D.P.

answers from Bakersfield on

Sadly, I think this is all part of the transition. My daughter has the same problem with her child who is now one year. The people who provide daycare can't let her cry too long because that wakes the other babies. There is so much around her to stimulate that a nap is not easy. It would be the same if an adult were in the child's situation.

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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I have to agree with Love. I think she may be getting over tired. I use to put my daughter to bed at 8 and once I moved her bedtime up to 7, then 6:30 when she went down to one nap a day, she started sleeping better at night and at naps.
I also remember reading in several places that babies set their first nap about 2 hours after waking, that may help too.
Best of luck!
C.

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C.F.

answers from San Francisco on

try bringing her favorite soother (i.e. doll, stuffed animal or blanket). this helped us for a little but my daughter has never napped well at daycare and is 16 months now. good luck.

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T.B.

answers from Sacramento on

My son had the same problem when he was at daycare. He was so worried he would miss out on the fun that he barely napped. We ended up having to move his bedtime up considerbly to compensate, but at least he wasn't completely overtired anymore. It didn't give us a lot of time in the evenings, but we did what we had to do at the time. Also, he generally took really long catchup naps on the weekends. After he turned one and moved to sleep with the big kids, he did nap a little better, but only because my daycare provider ususally laid down with him until he fell asleep. There is so much going on at daycare that kids don't want to sleep since they might miss something. Even though the house was completely quiet in the afternoons, until he graduated to napping with the big kids he did not nap for more than 1.5 hours at a time. She may just need some time to adjust to the difference in environment, but beware, it may not get any better. My son was well used to the environment (he started at 6 weeks) but by about 4-5 months old, really started to fight napping there. He was just too social of a guy (still is).

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Part of it, of course, is getting used to the new setting, new bed, etc. You might try bringing a blanket from home if you haven't already. I think mostly it's just going to take her some time to feel comfortable and at home.

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

HI M.. I'm sorry that you have to go through this stress. The key word, I think, is "just", as in she "just" started. Give it time and she'll adjust. Remember that it may not be a negative situation for her: she might be excitedly taking in the new environment. If you trust your daycare provider, I'm sure your daughter will too, and will slowly but surely start napping there too. Give it a few weeks (tops!) and she'll be right on track.

Good luck.

K. in EC

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D.S.

answers from Fresno on

First, please don't feel guilty about having to work. Not everyone can be a stay-at-home mom.
Second, make sure your daughter has her blanket, woobie (lovey) and anything else she would normally nap with at home. Maybe even see if you can send along her own crib sheet. It takes babies from about a few days to a week to get used to a new schedule. If she's not an easy napper, make sure the caregiver knows that and knows what you do to help her sleep (rocking, singing, etc.). I hope she gets used to it soon!

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N.C.

answers from Sacramento on

New atmosphere, surroundings, people, it will take a while for her to get used to it, especially when she is used to you. Make sure you take anything that soothes her when she goes down for a nap. Ask questions about what they are doing and make suggestions. It is a big adjustment for a 6 month old. Just make sure she is being taken care of.

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T.G.

answers from Redding on

I run a child care and so I've seen so many children have a hard transition at nap times. What it really comes down to is the house involved. Is there sufficient noise control for a quiet, restful sleep? Some babies have a difficult time with noise or lots of activity. Is the environment a small or a large child care? Each has it's +/-'s. [email protected]____.com (T.)

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Your child is learning about a new environment and the provider is learning about a new child. You need to be sharing with your provider about how her routine goes at home, and ask about their routine. Let the provider know any special things you do to help your child relax. Those may not work the same for someone else and they may need to experiment to find what works best for them, but it still helps to know what the parent does.
You have already gotten the advice that the stimulation of more people, things to do, etc. is part of the problem. Her age is also part of the key. Six months is usually when the teeth are getting ready to start bothering her, she is getting more alert and active in general, and is more stimulated by her environment. All those things take some time for a child to make adjustments.
I see that some have suggested putting her to bed earlier. I don't think I'd want to make a huge adjustment in bedtime, though a little might help. It just doesn't make sense to me for a parent to have the child in daycare all day, then when you get home put them down to sleep so early that you don't have much time with the child yourself.
One person obviously is a firm believer in being a stay at home mom. I don't disagree, and at one time would have been probably quite obnoxious with making that suggestion quite adamantly myself. I realize now that just doesn't work for everyone for various reasons, but do suggest that you might want to take a look and see if that is something that will work for you and your family. Sometimes I think people look just at a financial situation and think they need more money, when there are actually other options that could help them work out the finances of the household. In our family, for instance, it was generally agreed by my husband and me that I was to be a stay at home mom. So we made sure our 'needs' were minimal. We lived in an older and smaller house, had only one car most of the time, planted a garden, shopped thrift stores, and avoided the higher priced name brands as much as possible, found free or inexpensive entertainment... you get the picture. Our grown children look back with fondness on those days and do not feel that they were neglected in the least. Now my husband and I live in a larger, nicer house, and are more able to purchase the nicer things, but choose to keep a simple lifestyle because we're happier with it. Only you know if your lifestyle can use some simplifying, so just take this as a suggestion, and do with it whatever seems right.
Whatever your decision, I don't think you need to stress over your daughter's nap schedule. It should even out in a week or two and she'll be just fine.

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J.L.

answers from Sacramento on

I was a pre-school teacher for 5 years. I would question the day care providers to see what is their daily routine and how do they manage naptime. How do they put her down for naps, how many carers are there. Ask if you can stop in to see what goes on during the day. If they say they do not encourage parents to drop in during the day, look for another day care center.

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S.R.

answers from Modesto on

I am a child care provider and I have had a great deal of experience with children not wanting to sleep. The provider has to be consistent with nap time, it is a good idea for you to let the provider know the sleep schedule at home so they can keep it consistant at day care. Also, if your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal that she likes to sleep with then send it with her. (This will give her smells from home to help comfort her)
Hopefully, if the provider can find a routine that works for your child then maybe she will start sleeping better. Unforturnately it takes more time for some children and everyone has to be patient.
Find out if here are children playing in the room where your child it taking a nap, if there are then that might be part of the problem because of the distractions.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

Dear M.,
I think it's probably just a matter of her being in new surroundings with different things to stimulate her. At 6 months, she is really beginning to notice things around her more. I'm sure that in time, she will get into the routine and may begin sleeping at daycare.
If she is sleeping 9-10 hours per night, she's probably doing okay. My son literally konked out in his car seat before we ever got out of the driveway...even at home.
Neither of my children were day sleepers and I was fortunate enough to be at home with them for the most part. Even though I knew they wouldn't go to sleep, I still layed them down for "rest time". They were accustomed to that from the time they were infants so it was never a problem. Obviously if we had appointments or were travelling, rest time had to be modified somewhat.
One thing I do know is that you cannot force a baby to sleep. It just can't be done.
You didn't mention how many other children are at daycare or what age ranges they have. If your baby is otherwise well cared for interacted with, I personally, wouldn't let the fact that she's not napping be a deal breaker. Just my opinion.

Take care and very best of wishes.

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B.G.

answers from San Francisco on

It took time for my daughter to get used to all the noise and the new environment at her daycare. Don't worry, she will adjust.

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J.S.

answers from San Francisco on

She is probably adjusting to the transition, but if she is getting 9-10 hours of sleep at night, I wouldnt worry. The daycare setting has more things to stimulate her during the day that you might not have had at home. My daughter slept during the day and stayed awake at night, so at least you are getting some rest.

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E.M.

answers from Bakersfield on

Hi M.-
I agree with the other ladies. Your daughter is in a new environment and it may take her some time to become comfortable enough with her surroundings to sleep. I think a favorite blanket is a great idea. You can also get one of your husband's shirts that he has recently worn that smells like him (or one of your own, especially if you use a certain perfume or lotion) and keep it with your daughter when she sleeps. When she gets to daycare, make sure she has that security blanket with her. The scent of her parents close to her may help her relax enough to nap. It just seems like she is making sure her parent is there before she finally falls into much needed rest.
Hope this helps.

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