Help! How do I prepare for naps at daycare?
What a great question you ask! I have no doubt that there will be some *slightly* anxious, nervous, overwhelmed (all of the above??) parents reading this, who are about the enter the universe of daycare.
Here are some of the things I want you to know, about helping your baby or toddler to be the nap King or Queen of daycare (...nap royalty might be a stretch too far but hey, we can all dream right?)
Replicate, replicate, replicate.
If your baby/infant goes to bed with a comforter or soft toy at home, then they absolutely need to have that same toy available at daycare (hint: buy a second, exact same version of the toy just incase it disappears on you). Same goes for a dummy, as well as trying to copy as close to their nap-time routine as possible.
But what if my baby is held to sleep?!
Bring your carrier to daycare (or ask if they have one - any daycare worth their salt will!), so that an educator can baby-wear for your child's nap. Of course, this involves a conversation with daycare before, or during their orientation. Many facilities can accomodate this though (remember, they want your baby to be able to sleep as much as you do).
If you want to get their naps right, you need to get their sleepwear right.
One aspect to consider (and often gets in the way of children having a decent nap length) is the warmth of the room vs what they are wearing. In my almost three years of daycare experience, if I have learned one thing it is this - daycare rooms are very well temperature-controlled and usually are a very comfortable 20 deg.
Why is this such an important lesson you ask? I learnt very early on that you only need light sleepwear. Anything too heavy (2.5 TOG or above) and you're likely to have a baby or toddler who gets too warm and therefore, doesn't nap well.
If you're heading into autumn or winter...
Remember that your child remains fully dressed during their nap, so will have a long sleeve top and pants on. It is also likely that they've been very active throughout the morning, meaning that they will already be on the warmer-side. All of this means that a 1.0 TOG sleepsuit should be all they need to be comfortable for their nap.
I love the ergoPouch range and have always used it for my girls both at home and at daycare.
This 1.0 TOG sleepsuit from ergoPouch is ideal, as the option to separate their legs reduces the risk of them tripping, which is especially important when they're around other small children. Always aim for cotton-based sleepsuits, as this is a breathable fabric that will prevent your child from becoming too warm.
If you're heading into spring or summer...
The lighter the sleepsuit, the better. I send my almost 2-year-old to daycare every day with a 0.2 TOG sleepsuit which means that she stays nice and comfortable, allowing her to have the same 90-minute nap time at daycare, as she does at home.
Last but not least, give your child time. It's a huge transition to be starting daycare (or even making the move to a brand new room!) so naps can be a little 'off' until your child is feeling more comfortable. Always go back to the basics, communicate with the educators in their room and with time, hopefully everyone is having sweet sweet dreams!