Parenthood is a journey filled with joy, love, and the unexpected. One of the most crucial components of a baby's routine is sleep, especially daytime naps. When a daycare disrupts your baby's nap schedule, it can be a source of stress and concern for many parents. But fear not, you can undo what has been done with a few strategic steps!
Try to see if your daycare will work with you:
Sometimes daycare just puts children on a default schedule unless they are told otherwise. Start by sharing your baby's nap routine with the daycare staff. Provide them with detailed instructions regarding your baby's sleep preferences, the techniques that work best, and any particular cues or methods that help your baby settle down for a nap. Clear communication regarding what has worked in the past at home can guide the daycare in maintaining consistency.
Compensate with an early bedtime:
If communicating with daycare has not changed their sleep, you can always compensate with an early bedtime. Remember, missed sleep needs to be made up somewhere! If your child usually naps for 3 hours a day at home and only 1.5 hours at daycare, that extra 1.5 hours needs to be made up somewhere, or else your child will fall into the dreaded overtired cycle! Try putting your child to bed as early as 6 p.m. (once they are older than 6 months) to get them the sleep that they missed earlier in the day. Don't worry; this typically does not mean they will wake up earlier in the morning. In fact, it will prevent them from becoming overtired, which would cause them to wake up much earlier than usual. This does mean an earlier dinner time and less family time at night, which is always challenging, but sometimes it may be just what your little one needs.
Make it up on the weekends:
Like I said before, missed sleep needs to be made up! If your child is still at a sleep deficit, you can always make it up on the weekends by letting them sleep in later, adding in an extra nap, or giving them an early bedtime. It is totally fine to have a different schedule on the weekends than on the weekdays, especially if it helps get your little one the sleep that they are so lacking.
Squeeze in some extra Zzzzz's.
Especially when you have a younger child, maybe an extra nap squeezed somewhere in your day is exactly what they need! Whether it be a quick car nap, a 20-minute stroller snooze, or a cuddle sesh with mom and dad, those few extra minutes can help to reset them to make it to bedtime. Make sure that an extra nap doesn't push bedtime too late (6:30–7:30 p.m. is still ideal)!
In the end, you need to do what is best for your family. Find what works and stick with it! Eventually, your child will get used to their new schedule and adjust. Remember, increased night wakes and early risings are typically signs of overtiredness, so get that missed sleep in wherever you can to prevent interrupted nights.
For more information about how much sleep your child needs or other tips and tricks for sleeping, head over to my store, where you will find quality sleep classes for only $11!