Is your child about to start daycare? Are you feeling anxious about how they will now nap while they’re in this new environment? Are you wondering how much communication should you be relaying to your child’s teacher about their nap schedule? Maybe you’re afraid of being that mom when it comes to giving directions and being in control. I am here today to help give you clear guidance on starting daycare.
Welcome to Daycare Week! This is Video One, all about getting started at daycare. I want to make sure that whether you are starting daycare, you’re currently in a daycare situation or maybe you’re at the tail end of the daycare and maybe your child doesn’t need to nap, we’re gonna cover everything this week so stay tuned and subscribe so you don’t miss a single video here on Daycare Week.
This first video, I want to walk you through the why’s and the how behind the importance of being confident in starting daycare.
You see, the number one thing that you need to know and walk into your child’s daycare with with confidence is that you are the advocate. I am not in the habit of suggesting what type of daycare to look for as this is a personal decision. But I am going to share questions that you should ask the provider in an effort to create the best sleep possible.
So whenever your child starts daycare, however old they are, maybe if they are starting from a newborn or they’re starting when they’re one, however this is for your family, I need you to know, you are your child’s advocate, you are their number one provider.
You are the number one who knows everything about your child.
So often I’ve found that my clients and Little Z’s families believe that because the daycare takes care of all of these children, that automatically they know everything about sleep. When often, that’s not the case!
So from the sleep perspective, and this kind of trickles in to other areas in your child’s daycare, you are your child’s advocate.
So what does that mean? I’m going to give you four questions that you need to be asking the daycare whenever you begin.
Now, in the middle of this filming we are in a situation where people are returning back to work after COVID but they aren’t able to go to the classroom, have a conversation with the teacher.
Instead, they are bringing their child to the door and then the child is escorted to the room and the parent never gets to enter the building. Or, maybe they have to stop at the front where the office is.
So some of these questions you may be thinking, (sighs) “I can’t do that”. Yes you can! So even in a situation where we’re arriving back to work, I want you to set up a conversation, set up a phone call with the director.
Set up a phone call with the teacher or email communication. Whatever is necessary to start this dialogue with your child’s teacher.
You are the advocate. When it comes to starting daycare, there are four questions that I want you to ask your child’s teacher.
The first question is, “What kind of sleep environment will my child have?”
And even if you already know this, just ask!
It’s always worth asking again so that we can maybe start to poke holes a little bit in the environment that they’re offering.
You could always ask, “Hey, I see a crib over there in the corner that looks a little bit more in the dark, maybe it’s not right over a fluorescent light, could my child sleep there? My child sleeps best when it’s dark, that looks like it might be a little bit darker over there, could we try that?”
You really could get that picky and ask!
You could ask, “Is there a child already sleeping there? Could my child be there?”
A few years ago I actually had a client who noticed that one of the light bulbs in the classroom was out, and there was a crib under it and she got her child to sleep there and it was like, for whatever reason, it worked, and it was really funny that even that small of a change helped the baby’s nap a little bit better.
So you can always ask.
Do not be afraid to ask about finding a new solution to your child’s napping environment.
My favorite in-home gear like this, a Pack ‘N Play and a Slumberpod, is the best way to ensure a good nap.
But my first overall question is to just dig deep into the sleep environment, see if we can find anything in here that we could be like, “what about that, what about this” …We can kind of get into those little nuances around the classroom and just see if there’s opportunities for something different.
If they say no, that’s okay, you asked, that’s the point of all these questions. Just asking is always, always being your child’s advocate, even if they say no, I’m so glad you asked.
The second question would be about props. I want you to ask what kind of props you can provide for your child to nap better.
Now you guys know I love me a good sleep prop like white noise, like sleep sacks, dark rooms, things like that.
I’m not talking about pacifiers, in fact, at four months old, my programs teach no pacifiers anymore, so I advocate for even bringing a sign to put on your child’s crib that says, “do not give my child a pacifier”, whatever you need to do!
But when I’m talking about props, I want you to ask them, “Can I bring a white noise machine?”
Can we set up a white noise right next to the crib? Sometimes they’ll say yes, sometimes they’ll say no, just ask.
You might be the only one who’s ever asked but good on you because you’re advocating for what your child needs.
Also ask them if you can use a sleep sack.
Now recently, one of the members of our Sleep Society said that her daycare provider would not allow the Zipadee-Zip because it covered the hands.
But she is allowed a traditional sleep sack and because this child liked to chew on the fabric on the hands of the Zipadee-Zip, we got creative and packed the Bitta Kidda sleep sack that has built-in lovies.
So get creative!
If your daycare provider says, “no, they can’t have this”, well what else could we maybe do?
Now if they come back and say, “we don’t allow anything inside the crib”, then that’s fine, it’s completely okay.
It doesn’t mean you have to rip away things at home, it just means that at daycare they won’t have those items, and it’s all right.
The third question I need you to ask is, “What is this room’s napping schedule? Is there a schedule for naps provided?”
If yes, I need you to consider that in light of what your child is currently doing.
If the answer is no, then I need you to get real hard on them and say “Great, here’s my schedule”, and bring them a paper schedule.
Let them know that this is the actual schedule.
Inside the Sleep Society I actually provide daycare print off schedules for families because I want them to continue the sleep success even away from home.
Yes, things will be a little different at daycare but we can be the advocate for, “here’s my child’s schedule, please follow it”.
And knowing your child’s schedule is going to be be super critical to provide to the daycare.
I cannot tell you how many times a family has reached out and said, “Hey, Becca, this is so funny, but the daycare asked if they could use my schedule for all the babies”. And I said, “sure!” I love that!
And that absolutely goes in line with the fact that sometimes we assume that because these daycare teachers have experience with these babies and they love these babies, that they know the sleep schedule, they don’t.
I want you to be that person that comes with a schedule, laminated, and says, “Please follow this!”
Be on top of your child’s schedule and don’t be afraid to ask to follow it.
Now the fourth question that I need you to ask is about their flexibility when it comes to your older child or your baby, who is maybe not on that same nap schedule and nap rhythm.
So here’s what I mean, I want you to ask them is there an opportunity for your child to maybe go to the next room early?
Or is there an opportunity for your child to go to another room?
Here’s concrete examples.
Sometimes, I have worked with families at the four and five month mark. And the daycare turns the lights off twice a day for a nap for two different naps for children.
The problem is, a four and a five month old is having four or three naps not just two naps. And while turning the lights off is a great idea because it will usually help the child nap a little bit better, there might be times where they’re turning the lights off but that’s not actually the child’s nap time.
So ask them, “what happens when that’s not my child’s nap time and you turn the lights off?” Are they playing in the room in another area, do they go to a different room?”
Ask, just ask. If you’ve taken one thing away from this video it’s be your child’s advocate and just ask the hard questions, ask any questions. Just ask them.
Especially when I see children above three years old in daycare and they’re maybe starting daycare for the first time and they don’t need to be napping but they’re forced to nap and lay down on a cot, ask them if there’s an opportunity for them to go to another room.
So always ask if there’s any amount of flexibility.
This even goes for the babies who are maybe learning a new skill and they’re not allowed to move up to the next classroom until they’ve mastered this skill. It could be a numbers thing. They could want the child to stay there until they’re ready to move up, but just ask.
It never ever hurts. And I really truly believe that you are the one who knows your child best, obviously, so always advocate and always always ask these questions that seem like they should just know, just ask them anyways.
So wrapping it up in conclusion, please make sure you are asking these questions to your child’s daycare teacher.
I want to make sure that we can ask about the environment.
Remember that you are the one who is the most and biggest fan of your baby.
These daycare teachers love and love on and take such great care of your little one but you are the one who’s going to be the advocate for their sleep so just stay on top of things.
Stay tuned for more nap solutions at daycare this week!
VIDEO 4: INSTAGRAM DAYCARE Q&A
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