Tips for Successful Daycare Sleep

Infant Sleep

Daycare babies can be good sleepers too, with a bit of teamwork. It’s all about finding a daycare that will collaborate with parents when it comes to sleep. And even when that’s not possible, there are a few things you can do to help your baby get the quality rest she needs to thrive.

Find a Daycare that Works with Parents

Search for a facility that is willing to work with families’ different parenting philosophies. As you tour centers, do not be shy about asking. If possible, choose a provider who will do their best to adopt your family’s model when it comes to sleep, potty training, and discipline.

Communicate With Your Daycare

Set the teachers up for success by clearly communicating your child’s sleep plan. This includes nap schedules, not feeding to sleep, and if you sleep train, your chosen method. Write your plan down so the staff can reference it, but keep it succinct enough for them to actually read it.

If there’s one thing you want to emphasize about your baby’s sleep plan, it’s feeding after naps, not before. This will ensure that your baby doesn’t feed to sleep at daycare, even if it’s not possible to get the rest of your plan perfect.

Common Daycare Challenges

You can find the best daycare staff who are committed to your sleep plan, but certain challenges still often arise. The reality is, it’s generally harder for babies to sleep in childcare settings than at home. Lights, noise, the presence of other babies, or the fact that this just is not home all make centers more stimulating.

Work with your provider to keep your baby on schedule and at least attempt to put him down while he is still awake. Teachers tend to multiple babies and they can’t have them waking each other up, so they often need to do whatever it takes to keep the little ones snoozing. However, staying on schedule will mean they are not going to feed your baby to sleep, which will help avoid a feed to sleep association.

It can be frustrating, but keep in mind that the very first priority is regulating sleep rhythms and getting baby to sleep at nap time. That will prevent overtiredness which can spiral into much bigger problems at home. That doesn’t mean you just let it all go though! Keep the communication going and slowly try to wean off soothing to sleep.

What To Do At Home

If your little one isn’t getting sufficient sleep at daycare, compensate with an early bedtime. This is really hard for parents who have missed their baby through the day, but ultimately, it will likely benefit your baby’s mood and promote optimal development.

On weekends or non-daycare days, stay on schedule. Allow naps to go over by thirty minutes as long as you don’t see it impacting bedtime or overnight. If daycare drops a nap on the early side, follow suit at home for consistency.

Sleep Training & Daycare

If you choose to sleep train your baby, start on a Friday night. Then you will have Saturday and Sunday to practice at home. The first three nights of sleep training make a big difference in the overall process, so doing it over the weekend will ensure that baby does well with independent sleep starting Monday. You’ll be ever better off sleep training over a three day weekend if you don’t have travel plans.

Daycares comes with its own set of challenges, but it’s not the end of the world. There is always something you can do to help support your baby in developing solid sleep skills and getting the rest she needs.


Kelsey Hotchkiss is a Certified Pediatric Senior Sleep Consultant and Certified Potty Training Consultant that has worked with hundreds of families over the last four years. As both a long-time educator and a mother of three, Kelsey is passionate meeting the needs of the whole child and helping families make the most informed decisions. She strives to help parents enjoy every stage of the parenting journey with confidence and support!

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