Naps at Day-care

Updated on February 23, 2010
P.L. asks from West Sacramento, CA
16 answers

Hi All,

I have a 6 months old baby girl, who started day-care about 2 weeks ago. Since than she is taking (good case scenario) two 20 min. naps btw. 7am and 4pm. When daddy picks her up and takes her homes, she takes a nap from 4;30-5:30, and then she goes to bed around 8:30-9pm, and sleeps usually until around 6:45 (and then I need to wake her up). Any ideas how to help her take a nap at daycare?

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So What Happened?

Hi All,

Thank you very much for all the information and for all the suggestions. I will go and buy the books today, and bring the bedtime slowly earlier (yesterday she went to bed at 8:30, so that is an improvement:). It is just hard since I get home around 5;30-6pm, and then I only have 1-2 hours with her, but I guess I better get used to it, and visit her at daycare. Thanks again for the inputs!!

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P.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi P.,

Try sending something from home like a blankie or a stuffed doll. Something that will remind her of home.

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A.J.

answers from Yuba City on

As a preschool teacher for many years, my best advice is to just give her time. Two weeks isn't very long really for her to adjust to whatever noises are going on around her. Give her time to get used to what's "normal" in this new environment so her sleeping brain can filter out what doesn't need to wake her up. If she's not adjusting in a few more weeks, talk to the teacher and see what kind of distractions are going on in the classroom; perhaps there's another especially loud child who's also having a hard time adjusting. See if the teacher has any suggestions for helping her sleep better. If your child just doesn't adjust to day care, perhaps having a in-home caregiver would work better for you.

Hope this helps, A.

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A.R.

answers from Redding on

I think if it's new to her(going to daycare)she'll probably just adjusting. Or maybe she's just going to need one good nap a day. Kids are so different. My son started with two naps a day, then went to one. But both my sister's kids never took naps. Don't worry. She's probably just adjusting to her surroundings and to the changes. Sorry, I'm not much help. Good luck!

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J.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

i know this isn't the best of help, but, i bet your daughter just isn't comfortable yet! she's probably used to her own home and the comfort of her own home when she naps, that now she's in daycare, it's a whole different thing. it will probably take some time, but she will adjust just fine! i have a 3.5 year old and an 18 month old(both girls) and i remember just when we moved from a different house, my oldest daughter at 5 months wouldn't nap at all! then she got used to her new home. children are very smart. i know it's probably frustrating, but, she'll adjust! hopefully this helps a little for you! take care!

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S.M.

answers from Sacramento on

So, I think I misunderstood your question. In it, you say she already takes two 20-minute naps between 7a and 4 p. So, my answer would be if she isn't, then the day care providers are giving her what she needs to fall asleep. If she is, then that sounds like a schedule I wish I could be on!

Seriously, when a child isn't napping at day care, sometimes it's just a matter of the baby getting used to falling asleep in a new place. If the place is small enough for her to be rocked (before being put down), then that is great. If it is too big for that, then maybe she just needs to be put in the same atmosphere as she is when she is at home i.e. a blanket wrapped tight, dark or soft music, whichever works at home will work at day care too.

Hope this helped.

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A.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I want to caution you about a rush to change your home routine or to push her bedtime earlier if that's not authentic for your family or if that actually gives your baby less time with you. I agree that an earlier bedtime may help, and I heartily agree that we parents need to be diligent about making sure our children are not sleep deprived -- but I just want to caution you against bringing more change to your child's life when she just started day care two weeks ago. Let some things stay the same while she's making the transition, or make your chagnes subtle and slow-paced.

And bear in mind that she needs time with YOU (contact time - which can be awake time touching you or sleeping time touching you/near you). If you're looking for parenting or sleep-related books to read, I would recommend the Sears Parenting series, which I especially recommend to parents because it is less prescriptive than many parenting books. The Searses encourage parents to understand the developmental realities for children and to customize a parenting/family routine that is authentic for your family and your situation. Every child and every family is a unique, organic entity. Beware of schedules and books that prescribe how to do it.

Also, please bear in mind that it usually takes a little while longer than 2 weeks for children to settle into a new childcare setting. There may be environmental or logistical things you can do to help your child nap (for sure having things that smell like you/home with your child at school and having those things be part of the nap routine, asking your child's primary caregiver to follow the same routines you do at home as much as possible and/or to develop reliable/consistent personalized routines for school napping, for example) -- but also it just takes some time for children to relax and settle into a child care setting. The rule of thumb in my experience (working with infants/toddlers professionally for 10 years) is 2-6 weeks, and it's also not uncommon for children to settle in and then "regress" from time to time, especially around times when they make developmental leaps (cognitive or physical). The settling-in period is largely because children (people) need to trust before they can relax, and it takes time to know what's happening, to feel emotionally safe, to build trust.

Since you work nearby you might CONSIDER (as in, talk with your caregiver and think carefully about what you could reasonably expect) whether you could go and nurse or cuddle your baby to sleep at nap time.

Another way to help your child transition in to the new caregiving situation is for you to be very comfortable with it yourself -- because you will send unconscious messages about your level of comfort and trust (or lack thereof) in the caregiver/situation and your baby will be very tuned into your vibes. That said, generally you don't want to be popping in and out multiple times a day because each new goodbye can be frought with anxiety and can disrupt the child's experience there. Be sure you and the caregiver agree on how to help your child ease into something new.

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D.K.

answers from Altoona on

Purchase a swaddler to be used at daycare. Most babies I have used them on sleep between 2-4 hours even if they would not sleep before using it. Most of my families used sheets instead of blankets to swaddle babies at home. One other idea is using a weighted blanket. I would not stress about a 6 month old who has just started daycare not sleeping well for a while - it is a major change for her and she needs a little time. Try to keep YOURSELF rested. When you have issues about her sleeping, keep it short - try to move her time she's going to sleep by 15 minutes. Remember, this will pass - though at the time it seems to go on forever!

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M.L.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a 7 month old and if she doesn't get 14 hours in a day , she is cranky. When she naps poorly, she doesn't sleep well at night and vice-versa. I would try to put her to bed earlier; work your way to 7.30pm so she is more rested in the am and ready for her morning nap. Good luck.

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L.G.

answers from San Francisco on

As`a experienced daycare provider and mother of three. Your provider needs to keep the babys schedule consistant. If baby is attending daycare atleast 3 days a week, It will take atleast 5-6 weeks for the baby to get used to napping schedule. for example in my daycare I just finished training a six month who comes 5 days a week to automatically go to sleep when it's naptime. 1. All my daycare children go down for nap/quite time at the same time everyday, 2. Baby sleeps only in crib (crib is never used for anything else than sleeping), 3. Always give baby the same blanket if baby uses pacifer only give it at nap time (Reason is they figure out blanket, pacifer, naptime!! they really do figure it out you just have to make sure they don't get pacifer any other time at daycare, it's very convient for providers to use it as a babysitter to pacify babies. I feel that I get paid to entertain and care for baby.babies will naturally cry sometimes up to 1 hour, but it's not really a cry more of a whine, that is the most difficult thing about caring and trining a baby, however the end result after a few weeks is a happy baby who goes to sleep at nap time and a happy provider who gets a break. This is how I do it!! If your baby attends daycare early allow baby to only nap for 45 minutes at 9:00 so that she naps at 12:00 for atleast 2-21/2 hours. If your provider complains that your baby isn't napping it's her responsibility to know enough about infant development that it takes time and patience, that is what we get paid to do or atleast thats how I feel.

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E.P.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi P.,
I'd actually suggest that the issue may be that your daughter is going to bed too late and then is overly tired at day care. This actually makes it harder for them to get good sleep, if you can believe it. Especially in a more noisy environment. I read several in-depth books about sleep and they all suggested a bed time no later than 8pm but more ideally 6:30/7pm for a baby so young. Most 6 month olds I think still have 3 naps -- 2 longer and then a shortie in the afternoon. Perhaps you could try a more "scheduled" approach for a week and see if she sleeps any longer? Oh and the books also suggested a consistent wake-up time. So perhaps something like:
7am wake-up
9am nap
Nap right after lunchtime (12/12:30-ish)
3:30/4pm nap
6:30/7pm bedtime

I found a good book for reading about things to try and also average sleep was "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child".
Good luck!

Regards,
E.

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B.G.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter had a hard time adjusting to daycare because it was noisy with other kids (can't make them all sleep at the same time at that age). After a couple of months though she was back to taking a 2-3 hour nap. Give it more time, i'm sure she will adjust

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L.C.

answers from Stockton on

Here are some questions that might help you clarify why she isn't sleeping longer at daycare...

Is there a lot of noise a the day care facility during her naptimes? Is there similar noise levels at home during her naptimes at home? If there is a difference, it is easier to up the level of noise at home during her naps than quiet the noise level at day care. Turn on the radio, don't shy away from running the vacuum cleaner or such noisey appliances. She probably isn't used to a lot of noise surrounding her during naptime. Being the only baby in the household, the first is usually more noise sensative. Good Luck.

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M.R.

answers from Bakersfield on

Here are suggestions that may help your both of you get a few more zzz's, courtesy of the Nemours Foundation:

When you feed or change your baby at night, keep the room quiet and dim. Avoid turning on all of the lights, or if there's a dimmer, turning them on at full blast. Also avoid singing, talking and play at this time.
Make sure your infant naps during the day, as she may have more trouble getting to sleep at night if she is overtired.
Don't encourage playtime at night when getting baby ready for bed. She will learn that nighttime is for sleeping, and daytime is for playing.
Establish a bedtime routine to get her ready for sleep.

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R.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Have the provider wrap her like a burrito. And lay her on her back. The warm of being wrap up should help.

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S.O.

answers from Stockton on

It's only been two weeks. Give it some more time. I am a mother of two boys. One whom went to day care imediately after my 6 weeks off and the other who stayed at home with dad for about 7 months before starting day care. It took us a good month to work out all the kinks of going to day care. I just made sure we were all on the same page of sceduling as much as possible. It also helped once AJ was moving around. He was exhausted chasing the other kids at day care and finally started taking one 20min nap in the morning and a two hour nap in the afternoon after lunch. Good Luck!

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S.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi P.,

Sorry to hear that you had to go back to work :( , that's very tough to have to leave your baby even if you have found a lovely day care - tough for you and even more for her. I know you didn't ask about this, so take or toss...but I'm wondering if there's any way that you could work shorter hours or flex time with another employee so you could spend more time with her during the day or on some days? Just a thought....? You didn't say what your situation was re work, but I am guessing you must be in a "need to work" situation to have gone back while she is so little. It's stressful for babies to be separated from moms for so many hours and that is doubtless the reason she's not sleeping well at the daycare - she misses and needs you (no one else is the same for her, naturally).

That being said, sleep issues can be tough whatever the reasons, and it's very normal for a baby to struggle with sleep when their routine is disrupted (and obviously being away from mom is as disruptive as it gets especially with a young baby). A book that has been helpful (and still is) for us is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It was a lifesaver!!

One key thing that Dr W. stresses is "sleep begets sleep" and we found that to be very true with our daughter and other friends' kids too. In light of that fact, one thing that leaped out at me was the timing of your daughter's nightly bedtime - it's pretty late for an infant or even a toddler.

Considering that she is having to arise so early in the morning and also be awakened out of sleep to do that, perhaps you might want to try giving her a much earlier bedtime routine. Rather than an afternoon nap that is so late just to get her through the evening, put her to bed much earlier (by 6:00 or 6:30 at least, and if she is tired, maybe sooner). When my daughter was that age, she was usually in bed by 6:30 and on "tired days" there were times it was even earlier. She slept all night (unless something was wrong like sickness) and woke happy in the morning - and early, about 6 or 6:30 - and she napped well. An early wake up time sounds like it would fit your schedule perfectly from what you have described, and your daughter would be well rested to begin her day.

I know early bedtimes may cut into family social time you are spending with her, but for the sake of her health and good sleep cycles it could be the best thing you can do for her in the long run - 9 or 10 hours of nighttime sleep is way too short for a baby of her age. Until babies get older, early bedtimes need to be the norm for their best development both physically and psychologically (it also helps form good sleep habits for the future). My daughter's bedtime didn't start getting a bit later than what I mentioned above until she was well into her 2nd year - it tends to happen naturally - and even now she does best if in bed by 7:30 pm (though we mess up on that sometimes when we don't plan well or have too many things going on). I can say from my experience that protecting her sleep is one of the very biggest favors we have done for her and has resulted in a healthier and happier child and toddler (and by extension a happier family life for all of us!). We can really tell a difference when her rest has been too short (and naps are not as good when that happens too).

Hope this helps, P. - being a working mom is tough and I pray that one day you will be able to be home full time with your daughter again (right now you have two full time jobs!). Until that time may come, I hope your situation improves with her sleeping (read the book!) :)

Blessings,

S.

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