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How to Help a Child Adjust to Sleeping at Daycare

author image Drea Christopher
Drea Christopher is a freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in English. She has more than 10 years of experience producing features and SEO articles for national consumer publications, trade magazines and industry leading Web content providers. She has a particular interest in craft, entertaining, education, home and garden and health-related topics.
How to Help a Child Adjust to Sleeping at Daycare
Children sleeping in a daycare. Photo Credit: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Babies and toddlers spending time at a daycare facility may feel worry or sadness when separated from their parents. Although separation anxiety eventually subsides as the children get used to the new accommodations and caregivers, the nap period may still prove difficult, since insecure children may need a parent’s comfort when going to sleep. If your child resists taking naps at daycare without you, use transitional techniques to put him at ease enough to sleep.

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Step 1

Get your child on a nap schedule that corresponds with the time that she will take a nap at the daycare facility. If you get her accustomed to napping at 1:00 p.m., for example, she’ll feel drowsy at 1:00 p.m. when it’s time to nap at daycare. Family Education suggests ensuring your child gets enough sleep for several days before the transition to daycare so she won’t be exhausted and more emotional and insecure.

Step 2

Lead up to having your child nap at daycare gradually. Avoid nap time in the initial visits to daycare. Instead, visit for an hour for two days, and then allowing your child to attend on his own for a few days, before nap time. Slowly increase the hours spent at daycare until he’s comfortable enough to stay through the nap period.

Step 3

Ask the facility if an assistant can help your child if she’s having trouble sleeping. Have a caregiver sit with your child until she’s calm enough to fall asleep.

Step 4

Teach the daycare’s caregivers the slang you use at home for naps, snacks or going to the bathroom so your child will feel more comfortable in the new setting. Provider-Parent Partnerships of Purdue University suggests discussing the techniques you use to soothe your child before naps, such as a gentle back rub or a special bedtime song, so the caregiver can use them to relax your child.

Step 5

Allow your child to take a familiar comfort item to the daycare facility for naps, such as a stuffed animal, a blanket or a parent’s sweater that your child can cuddle as he falls asleep.

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