Getting your little one napping solidly at home is one thing. Napping well at daycare, on the other hand, can be tricky!

In this episode, I’ll be giving you my top tips for transitioning your little one to daycare, as well as how to navigate the various sleep hurdles involved with this transition.

Specifically, I’ll be talking about:
– What to look out for when researching daycare options
– How to communicate with your childcare provider about your little one’s sleep needs
– How to help your little one adapt to napping at daycare
– How to adjust bedtime with short daycare naps
– How to minimize problems when daycare doesn’t let your baby nap more than once a day
– When daycare naps will change for the better
– What to do when daycare wants to nap your older one- and you want that nap gone

This is a jam-packed episode with lots to talk about. Have a listen!

Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human?  Join my FREE training HERE!

Eva: (00:04)
Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.

Eva: (00:44)
All right. So today we’re gonna be talking all about the transition to daycare, but before we do, I just wanna read out a very quick Google review that I received from Adrian and Adrian says Eva has been a lifesaver and sleep, sleep saver. Each time we had a sleep regression with our son, Eva had a personalized STR strategy and tactic that works quickly and effectively without causing much distress to us and our kid. She has various age appropriate methods that truly work and takes time to understand our child before making recommendations. We can’t recommend her enough. Her sleep strategies are magic. Thank you so much, Adrian. That’s so nice of you. All right, transitioning to daycare. This can be a bit stressful for some parents, especially the ones that have worked so hard to get their little ones sleeping like champs. And then they are worried that this could all go down the drain.

Eva: (01:42)
The second that their kid transitions to daycare. And I don’t blame them because you know, sleeping at home versus sleeping at daycare are two completely different things. Now, before we talk about strategies to help your little one with the transition and encourage the best naps possible, I do wanna talk about we, what you can do and what you can look out for when you are researching daycares. So some of you might be listening who, and you’re in the midst of looking for childcare for your little one, when you go back to work. And a lot of the time people are looking at the food that they’re serving. Um, the children, they’re looking at the type of schedule that they have, what kind of activities they do. They’re looking at the facility and that’s all great. And that’s all really important. But what I would encourage you to also be looking at is how they handle sleep, namely, how they handle sleep for babies in the infant room.

Eva: (02:42)
So for babies under the age of 18 months, because here’s what you want to avoid. If you can’t, you really want to avoid having your infant. So a child under say 16 or 17 months in a daycare program where they are going to force your baby onto a one nap schedule that your little one is likely not going to be ready for. And thankfully, this does not exist across the board. I have worked with more than enough families who have their little ones in a daycare facility of some, um, or a home daycare program that absolutely respects whatever the child’s individual sleep needs are. But then there are some places that for reasons that, which quite frankly, I don’t really understand. They have these 11 and 12 month old babies all on a one nap schedule. And the end result is that those babies can often get really overtired because it’s just not a schedule that they’re ready for yet.

Eva: (03:46)
So for those of you who are still in the research process, looking for childcare, I would definitely take that into account if you are weighing different options. And it goes without saying that if everything else is equal, then definitely go with the place that tells you that they will keep your baby on say two naps. If that’s what she still needs. Now, before I go on, I just wanna emphasize that I’ve got three kids myself and I have been through and continue to go through that process in terms of finding proper childcare for your little ones. And I know that is much easier, said than done, to find a place that meets all of your criteria and has space when you need that space. So I get that it’s a lot easier said than done, but all I’m trying to say is that when you are doing your research, put that on your list of things to look for.

Eva: (04:37)
So now let’s talk about the transition self. Your little one is starting daycare. How can we make this go as smoothly as possible so that their sleep doesn’t go down the drain? So the first thing that I would really emphasize is to have open lines of communication with your childcare provider. A lot of families that I work with will say to me, eat that I don’t know what to do. Um, I don’t know how I can make sure that she’s napping properly because when she’s in daycare during the day, I can’t control what they do. The reality is that that’s really only about a half truth because yes, you’re absolutely right. They’re the ones taking care of your child during the day. But the vast majority of, of the time they wanna have those open lines of communication with you, they would love to get feedback in terms of what kind of schedule your little one is on at home and what would likely work for them when they’re in daycare.

Eva: (05:36)
Because remember, if you have a schedule for little one at home that is working beautifully, that will likely to transfer over really well to daycare, as long as your daycare provider knows about it. And this is a win-win situation for everyone, because if your daycare provider knows what kind of schedule to put him on, then she is going to have a much more well rested baby to take care of, which makes her job a lot easier. So don’t be afraid to say, Hey, you know what? Johnny woke up today at seven o’clock, he’s probably gonna be tired for his morning nap around 10, right? Don’t be afraid to, you know, say things like that. And then, oh, and then he’ll probably end up sleeping for an hour and then take his afternoon nap around two or two 30. There’s nothing wrong. In fact, most daycare providers want you to be giving them that information so that they can take care of your little ones as best that they can.

Eva: (06:33)
And that transition goes as smoothly as possible. You now, something else you wanna be exploring is the possibility of bringing any comfort items or sleep toys that your little one might be used to sleeping with at home. So for example, when my middle child Eliana started in a home daycare, when she was about 12 months, she was used to napping with a white noise machine at home. Naturally, you, as you guys all know, I’m a very big fan of white noise. And so what I did was I actually purchased a second white noise machine for my daughter’s home daycare, so that she happened to not have a white noise machine. So that this way, when Eliana was napping in the napping room, she could, the daycare provider could just turn on the white noise machine. And that not only drowned out the background noise of the other kids when they were playing, but it, it provided a certain sense of familiarity and comfort that my Elena was used to, um, when it was time for her to go down for a nap.

Eva: (07:35)
So don’t be afraid. So again, this goes along with having open lines of communication with your daycare provider. If you know that your child will nap better with what, with a white noise machine, for example, then explore the possibility of either offering them one, or if they already have one, you know, encouraging them to use it. My, I would also be bringing any sort of comfort, an item that they might like, like a Blinky or, you know, a Teddy bear or some sort of levy that they’re used to sleeping with at home, go and buy extras. So that can stay at daycare. I don’t recommend taking that same item back and forth from daycare because there is a very high likelihood that it’ll get misplaced. And then you don’t want the sky to fall. If your little one’s special Teddy bear, you know, falls into the street somewhere, you don’t want that.

Eva: (08:26)
So just get a second or a third that can stay at daycare so that your little one always has their special item to sleep with when Eliana was one and in this daycare program, her lovey that she’s up with was this little baby blanket. It was this soft plush blanket that I was able to thankfully find a second of at winners, which for the Americans listening, it’s sort of like Marshalls the same idea, um, which was such a huge relief because she was very particular when it came to the exact blanket that she needed to be sleeping with. So I was very relieved to be able to find an exact replica of it. Um, when the time came to transitioning her to daycare. Um, another very common scenario that people often ask me about is when your little one is giving you short naps at daycare.

Eva: (09:21)
So it is to be expected for your little one’s naps to be on the short side. Even if your little one is a champion napper at the very beginning of this whole transition. Um, I remember when in Amna, my oldest started at this new daycare facility when she was 18 months. No, she was 16 months. She’s 10 years old guys. The, the details are a little bit foggy right now. She was about 16 months and she was a great Naper at home. She was napping two and a half to three hours, one nap in the middle of the day. It was fantastic. But on the first couple days, I think she was just so excited and overwhelmed by this massive change that she was only napping for about 45 minutes. And that’s very, very normal until that initial excitement wears off, which don’t worry. It will wear off sooner than you think.

Eva: (10:16)
But in that scenario, what you’re going to want to do is temporarily put them to bed earlier than usual to compensate and to avoid over tiredness. So don’t be afraid of putting your little one to bed for six or six 30 every night, as a means of compensating for their short crummy naps that they’re giving you. And that was what I had to do for am Mona for the first week or so until her naps got longer. And until I saw on their little daycare report card, that I would get that she was finally napping, something like 1230 to three on a regular basis. And so from there, I was able to bump her bedtime back to seven 30, but when she was only napping from one until 1 45 and then would wake up and remember guys, she was like 16 or 17 months. She was in bed for the night by like six 15.

Eva: (11:09)
And she was out for the counts and needed that early bedtime badly while she went through that transition. So that’s all very, very normal. Now, if your little one continues to take short naps at daycare, maybe it’s because your one year old is only napping once a day or so, then you might wanna continue to utilize that early bedtime as the best damage role move to avoid your little one, getting very overtired. But here’s what I wanna emphasize across the board. And that is that when it is the weekend and your little one is on a not so great schedule at daycare, maybe your 12 month old is being forced onto one nap, and she’s only napping an hour or an hour and a half. Don’t be afraid to put your little one onto a two nap schedule on the weekends. In fact, this is something that I typically recommend, which is to allow them to nap twice on the weekends, even though they’re napping one at daycare during the week, because the way that you wanna think of it is that is as follows.

Eva: (12:18)
The vast majority of one year olds still need to nap twice. And so for those two days, Saturday and Sunday, think of it as though you are able to give your little one what she needs on the weekend during the week what’s happening at daycare, not so ideal. And so to make the best of it, you’re gonna do an earlier bedtime to allow them to catch up on sleep, but allow them to give you those two naps that they legitimately need on the weekends. Don’t worry. Eventually they are going to grow in to that one nap schedule. Daycare is putting them on, and that typically happens somewhere in the 16 to 18 month mark. Um, with all three of my kids, it was very different. Amna was on one nap by the time she was actually about 14 months Eliana on the other hand, opposite end of the spectrum.

Eva: (13:09)
She was on one nap by the time she was 18 and a half months. And then JJ was on one nap by the time he was 16 months. So I’ve, I’ve had, I’ve had my babies are all over the spectrum in terms of when they get down to one nap and it’s all within the realm of normal. So just be assured that if you’re dealing with like a huge amount of over tiredness, because of this really sucky schedule that your 13 month old is on at daycare, I want you to be assured that this is not going to be a long term problem, and that it’s only a matter of time before your little one is gonna grow into that one nap schedule naturally, because that’s what she’ll be developmentally ready for, what some of my clients have daycare do, which quite frankly, I think is totally fine is they’ll put their little one down for like a very short nap in the morning, let’s say around eight 30 or nine o’clock for a half hour, just to be able to get them to that one midday nap around, you know, 1230 or one o’clock.

Eva: (14:16)
And I do find that a lot of these younger babies need that short cat nap in the morning, because again, they are legitimately a two nap baby, and you try and keep them up all the way until noon or 1230, and they are going to collapse. So if that’s what your baby appears to need, then that might be something that you wanna explore with care provider as an option to help them through this particular schedule. Now, the last thing that we should talk about is a very common scenario that I see, which is sort of the opposite problem of what we’re talking about, where you have a three year old, who is in daycare, who is being put down for a nap. And as a result of that nap, he is refusing to go to bed at a normal hour and not falling asleep until 10 o’clock.

Eva: (15:05)
And you’ve tried speaking to daycare and daycare is saying, well, we have to put him down for a nap because this is what our schedule is. And so this is how I would suggest that you approach this situation because it’s a very tricky one. This is one of those scenarios where I would first speak to daycare about cutting back on the duration of the nap. So if your three year old is napping, say two hours at daycare, and then as a result, not falling asleep until 10 o’clock every night, I would speak to them again very openly because remember having open communication with your daycare provider is crucial and welcomed. So I would speak to them about cutting your little ones, nap down to maybe an hour. Um, my son who’s now he just, as he turned three just a couple months ago, he naps at daycare for about 45 minutes, which I find to be perfect because if he naps any longer, then we will have some bedtime struggles.

Eva: (16:02)
And then this way he goes to sleep for seven 30 perfectly. So I would have that open line of communication with them and explore the possibility of, uh, waking him up maybe after an hour so that bedtime can go more smoothly. The other possibility is getting rid of the nap completely. So say that you have a three year old who even when he naps for an hour during the day, it means that he’s not falling asleep until 10 o’clock every night. That’s one of those that you, where I would speak to them about maybe just offering him some quiet time instead, or letting him play quietly, maybe either in a different part of the room or in another room. Um, I know there’s a lot of daycare programs that have three to four year olds that are really not NA anymore. And so perhaps your child can go and hang out with the or kids while you know, the younger kids in his class are sleeping, but I would try and problem solve and troubleshoot with your daycare provider together.

Eva: (17:01)
Because the last thing that you want is your little one sleep going down the toilet because of this annoying 60 minute nap happening at daycare that your little one probably doesn’t need anymore. Anyways, I have seen these really large daycare naps, not only create bedtime battles, but they can also cause early rising because a three year old only needs about 12 hours of sleep over a 24 hour period. So if he’s napping two hours at daycare, then mathematically that only leaves over about 10 hours worth of daytime sleep. If your little one needs an average amount of sleep. And so if your little one is napping two hours at daycare and then goes to bed for seven 30, he could very easily be waking up at five 30 completely well rested, ready to start his day. And we obviously don’t want that. So nipping the problem in the bud, speaking to your daycare provider about it and figuring out a solution that works for everyone is absolutely crucial in this situation.

Eva: (18:07)
So to summarize the transition to daycare is incredibly exciting for everyone. I’m a huge fan of daycare. All three of my kids were in some form of structured daycare program. By the time they were one. And I find that it is so good for them and so good for me as well. So it’s a win situation for everyone, but of course we wanna make sure that your little one little ones are napping well at daycare. So to summarize, make sure that you have open communication with your daycare provider and that you’re advocating for your little one’s needs. Explore the possibility of bringing any comfort items from home to help them with the transition in offer an early bedtime. When the daycare naps are short and crummy, which is pretty typical during the nap transition recognize that these short crummy naps are not going to last forever.

Eva: (19:02)
That your little one will eventually grow into it. Usually when they are a toddler, they’re at least 18 months and napping. Once that’s typically when things get a lot better and make sure that your older child in daycare is not sleeping too long during the day that it can get in the way of bedtime and a full night’s sleep. Now, if getting your little one consistently sleeping through the night has been an ongoing issue for you. You, I want you to know that I’ve got you covered, come and check out my free webinar that will teach you how to get your little one consistently sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night so that you can feel like a functioning human. Again, I am going to link it in the show notes. So this is the class that you want to watch. If you are ready to learn how to get your little one, sleeping like a champ and make some changes so that you can feel like a functioning, sane, normal human again. So that is about it. You guys all have a wonderful day. Thank you.

Eva: (20:07)
Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at until next time have a wonderful restful nights.

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