2 Quick Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

2 Tips To Make Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

You don’t have to have school-aged kids at home to enjoy the back-to-school season! But we here at The Baby Sleep Site® know that back-to-school season can be tough – if you have older kids, you have to work on reeling in your summertime schedule and get more serious with bedtime and morning wake-time, for example.

And many of our moms of babies and toddlers tell us that fall is the season when daycare schedules shift – babies “graduate” to different rooms as they get older, and that can translate into different nap schedules. Sometimes, that’s just fine – but often, it’s very challenging! Generally, we find that daycares tend to decrease naps a bit faster than we usually recommend (for instance, most 12 months olds are placed in the toddler room, and are only given one afternoon nap, but we usually recommend that parents try to hold on to two naps until 15-18 months of age). And the timing of daycare naps is very fixed – not starting nap time early if your little one woke up earlier than usual!

So, what to do? You can’t change the daycare schedule, usually – so how can you make the new daycare schedule work for your baby or toddler without sacrificing sleep?

We’ve got two tips designed to help you do just that. Keep reading, and get the details you need to keep the new daycare schedule from creating sleepless nights and missed naps in your house!

2 Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work

  1. Calculate how much wake time the daycare’s nap schedule demands, and then compare that with how much you know your baby or toddler can tolerate. In our experience, daycares often expect a bit more wake-time from babies and toddlers than is age-appropriate. This is not always true, of course – but we see this happen quite a bit with clients. For instance, if the daycare schedule leaves 5 hours of wake-time between morning drop-off and the afternoon nap, but your baby can only manage 4 in the morning, then you’ll need to accommodate for that by changing bedtime, or re-arranging other parts of your daytime schedule.
  2. Try to prepare your baby for the new daycare schedule early. If you know that daycare will soon change your baby or toddler’s daytime nap schedule, try to get a head-start. Begin slowly moving towards the daycare schedule at home. Gradually shift nap times until they match the daycare’s schedule. This can help to gradually acclimate your baby to what’s coming, and might help ward off overtiredness.

Want even more daycare scheduling help? Check out our VIP members-only article, 5 MORE Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work, for extra do-it-yourself scheduling and sleep coaching tips.

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Remember to take heart. Any tough daycare scheduling you have to endure will be a short-lived trial! Your baby or toddler will eventually adjust to the daycare schedule just fine. 🙂 Until then, though, if you’re going crazy trying to make the daycare schedule work for your little one, you could always consider connecting with one of our caring and compassionate sleep consultants! They will create a custom schedule that will work for your whole family – and for your daycare provider.
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Have you faced daycare schedule challenges and now you have tips? Share them with us and your fellow parents!


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21 thoughts on “2 Quick Tips For Making Tough Daycare Nap Schedules Work”

  1. My dd is 14 months old, started daycare at 13.5 months. She is on 2 naps at home, and she sleeps happily for 2 naps and in the night. However, at daycare, they only give one nap to this age group and because of this, she is getting very cranky, overtired, always rubbing her eyes, night wakings has increased so much, early morning wakings. What should I do? So she was following 2-3-4 sleep pattern at home, however at daycare they only put her to sleep after 4-5 hours for wake time. Their logic is that in this way she get overtired and sleeps within seconds but if they try to follow 2 nap schedule for her, it takes time a good amount of effort to put her to sleep! I am very worried about her .

    • Hi @Shweta – Thanks for writing to us, and sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling with the daycare’s set schedule! You’re not alone here! We hear very often about daycare’s transitioning to one nap a bit early and hear about the sleep challenges that this can cause! This article should help:
      Do feel free to put her to bed extra early on the days where she only has one nap, to help combat the over-tiredness! I hope that things smooth out, or that the daycare will work with you Shweta! Good luck!

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