Baby Not Sleeping At Daycare

For many parents, daycare is a necessary part of keeping the ship afloat. Although some kids adapt right away, for others, it may take a little bit longer to get the hang of sleeping at daycare. Being in daycare can potentially create sleep challenges and unique situations- however, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with the right approach! Today, I’ll be covering the ways that you may see daycare impact baby sleep- along with tips to stay on track. Let’s dive in!

How does daycare impact baby sleep?

How Does Daycare Impact Baby Sleep? 

Although it may seem nerve-wracking to leave your child’s sleep schedule in the hands of a daycare provider, don’t worry- it’s still completely possible to have a great sleeper who goes to daycare. Some babies even sleep better at daycare! On the other hand, some babies may struggle with getting solid naps away from home. Today, I’m covering both scenarios so you can get tips tailored to your situation.

If Your Baby Sleeps Better at Daycare

Although sending your little one off to daycare may cause some concern regarding their sleep schedules, many children respond well to daycare routines. Sometimes, they may even sleep better than they do at home! If this is the case for you, consider emulating the daycare’s routine in your own home to regulate your baby’s schedule in a way that encourages better sleep. (You can even ask them to write out their schedule so you can copy it for yourself!) 

Additionally, some babies sleep better at daycare because they’ve learned what doesn’t work. While fussing and staying awake may be followed by soothing at home, if this doesn’t get a reaction at daycare, they’ll likely pick up on that and learn to fall asleep without the same sleep associations. Consider sleep training at home so they can maintain a consistent routine- especially now that you know they can fall asleep without extra soothing. 

Daycare and baby sleep

If Your Baby Sleeps Better at Home

Although some babies sleep better at daycare, this isn’t true in every case. Some babies have a difficult time falling asleep at daycare, especially when they’re accustomed to the routines that have been set in place at home. If your baby naps at the same time each day and is used to an optimal sleeping environment, daycare may be a tough transition for them at first. (Not to mention how overstimulating a daycare environment can be!)

If your child is struggling to sleep while away from home, it may be a good idea to ask your daycare provider to try and replicate their sleeping routine as closely as possible. You can also send them something that makes them feel more at home, like a lovey or blanket. 

Will Daycare Cause a Sleep Regression?

Sometimes, you may see daycare impact baby sleep in the form of a sleep regression. Although sleep regressions can be incredibly frustrating, it’s normal for your little one to struggle with sleep for a short period as they make the transition. Keep reading for tips on how to help them sleep better at home and in daycare! 

How Long Will It Take for My Baby to Acclimate to Daycare Naps? 

Every child is different- for some babies, it may only take a couple of days or weeks. On the other hand, sometimes it may take months. How long it takes depends on SO many factors that are all unique to your baby and their environment. Although the transition may be tough, it’s important to stay patient. This won’t last forever! 

Tips for better baby sleep

Tips for Better Sleep In and Out of Daycare 

If your little one has a hard time sleeping at daycare, keep in mind that you are not alone- daycares deal with this ALL the time. There are plenty of ways to help daycare impact baby sleep less dramatically. Here are some tips for better naps at daycare and home: 

Make Bedtime Earlier

Early bedtimes are beneficial for so many reasons- especially if your child is in daycare! By moving up bedtime, it may be helpful to avoid early morning wakings and your child being so overtired that they can’t fall asleep at night. 

Ask About an Extra Nap 

Sometimes, all your little one needs to regulate their sleep schedule is an extra nap in the morning or afternoon. This is especially true if your baby is dropping a nap from their routine. You’d be surprised how accommodating most daycares are when it comes to your child’s well-being! 

How to get your baby to sleep better at daycare

The Schedule Notepad 

Try using The Schedule Notepad to record your baby’s routines and communicate with their daycare. It makes note of their typical feedings, naps, schedules, and more. This is such an easy way to make sure everyone is on the same page! 

Bring Comfort Items 

Packing a lovey, blanket, or white noise machine are all great ways to soothe your baby and give them a piece of home away from home. (Make sure your baby is of appropriate age to be sleeping with comfort aids- check out my post on the Best Nighttime Sleep Aids for Babies: How to Know What’s Safe.) Additionally, sleep sacks can be a helpful tool to get them to sleep more easily at daycare. 

Have a Solid Bedtime Routine

Whether or not your baby is in daycare, bedtime routines make a major difference. They signal to your little one that it’s bedtime while promoting healthy sleep habits and hygiene practices. It’s also an amazing way to get extra quality time with your child! 

Tips for better sleep

Be Flexible 

Although consistency is generally important when it comes to sleep routines, daycare may mix things up a bit. If your child is taking more or less naps at daycare than at home but it seems to be working, that’s perfectly fine. Adjust as needed and if something is working well, just go with it! 

Be Patient 

As with anything else sleep-related, patience is KEY. Sleep struggles can make the days feel like months- however, it’s important to remember that this is not forever. Soon, your baby will get the hang of their new sleep schedule and the whole family will be able to feel well-rested again. 

Sleep Training 

In cases where your child is struggling to adjust to their new schedule, sleep training is life-changing. Sleep training teaches children to self-soothe and fall asleep SO much more easily. Better sleep is a gift to the kids- and the parents!

Sleep training for babies

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting 

Exhausted and can’t catch a break? If you’re struggling with sleep deprivation, Sleep Shore is here to help. We offer one-on-one sleep support for newborns, infants, and toddlers. Whether you’re dealing with early morning wakings, bedtime resistance, or sleep regressions, our goal is to teach your baby to self-soothe and get better sleep for the whole family! See what this mama had to say about our sleep services below: 

“Hiring Molly was hands down one of the best decisions we’ve made. Before working with Molly, our daughter did not nap unless we held her and her schedule was all over the place which did not lead to restful nights! I was overwhelmed with reading about wake windows on the internet and my husband & I were exhausted. We hired a sleep coach to help and after two weeks things were worse than ever. Enter Molly, the sleep genie, who granted our wishes of better sleep. Molly was a pleasure to work with from day one. She really takes the time for her clients and gets to know your child’s sleep patterns and behaviors, which is what we needed. She was extremely responsive, knowledgeable, and helpful. My daughter is now a great napper and sleeps through the night, we could not have done it without Molly!”


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