Daycare providers are parents partners in keeping children happy and healthy! One of the most important ways daycares support children is providing a healthy sleep foundation. Often children will sleep better at daycare than at home. That is because many daycares are set up with a consistent structure and schedule. Children thrive on this!
As sleep consultants, we work with many parents that have their children in a daycare setting and have seen the wonderful benefit of having that partnership with providers that make sleep a priority.
Let’s do a deep dive into the secret sauce of daycare’s that support the foundation of healthy sleep!
There are a number of factors and here they are:
Provides A Safe Sleep Environment.
The first and most important thing is daycare providers are knowledgeable in safe sleep practices and follow the ABCs of safe sleep that are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). These recommendations help prevent SIDS in infants and babies.
A: ALONE-Sleeping alone means without any blankets, stuffed animals or bumper pads. There should be nothing in the crib but a firm mattress with a tight fitted sheet.
B: On their BACKS-When you put your baby into the crib always put them on their backs. This is the safest sleep position for your babies.
C: In a CRIB or bassinet-This is the safest place for your babies to sleep.
Provides A Dedicated and Conducive Sleep Environment and Routine
Daycare is a fun and sometimes noisy place as little one’s enjoy the company of their friends! Because of this, it is important to help children sleep better by helping them transition from being busy to settling and relax their minds and bodies as they prepare for naps.
A Sleep Routine
Daycare providers are amazing at juggling many children at one time, often daycare providers do a sleep routine with multiple children that may involve a story or a relaxing song. This routine before each nap, allows children to begin to relax their mind and body as they transition from fun play time with their friends.
Daycare set’s up children for sleep success by making the room conducive to sleep.
One way a provider helps to set up a conductive sleep environment is to make the room darker. Daycares are often bright and promote being awake. Daycare providers that support healthy sleep know that to promote sleep, the lights need to be dimmed (daycare’s may not be able to make a room as dark as at home due to regulations, but dimming the room will help prepare their class for sleep).
Another important ingredient in setting up successful naps is to provide a quiet sleep environment. It is important to have a sleep area that is separate from the bright and often noisy play area. Daycare’s often use white noise to help mute the sound of other children. Daycare providers that are successful in helping the children in their care know how hard it is for a a child to go to sleep in a bright and noise environment.
Provides an Age-Appropriate Nap Schedule
Having babies on a consistent schedule that is age appropriate allows children to be happier and well rested. Here is more information about nap schedules.
A successful daycare nap schedule includes:
- For children 4-8 months-2 long naps a day plus a cat nap
- For children 8-15 months (or as long as 18 months)-2 naps a day
- For children 15/18 months and older-One nap or quiet time for the older children
Provides Ongoing Communication with Parents Regarding Day Sleep
Communication between daycare providers and parents is essential so that both parties are aware of any changes or adjustments that need to be made. Here are some ways that daycares communicate with parents
- Communicates how day sleep went-this allows parents to adjust bedtime. If a baby didn’t have a good day of sleep, then parents can adjust bedtime a bit earlier
- Asks about how the night went so that they can adjust their schedule if needed.
- Encourages parents to bring in or leave sleep items that a child might use at home to help them sleep, such as a lovey if it is age- appropriate.
Here is some more information on how daycare providers and parents can partner in maintaining a healthy sleep foundation
Thank You to Our Daycare Providers
Daycare providers that make sleep a priority know the importance of healthy sleep. They know that healthy sleep improves cognitive ability, improves safety, improves mood, and improves overall health.
Thank you for all that you do to help our children stay happy and healthy!