Helping your child transition to the crèche
A lot of our children will be in day care when we return to work. I always suggest that you work on your sleep about 6 weeks or so before your return to work date so that you don’t have any issues that could be avoided.
To have a smooth (ish) transition to crèche, then try to ensure that your child is well rested and capable of sleeping without parental input before they begin their induction. Make sure that you are using an age appropriate time structure by day and that your crèche are willing, at the start, at least, to work on this with you rather than immediately adhering to their particular day time structure.
My age-appropriate feeding and sleeping balances outlined in my book The Baby Sleep Solution will help you to achieve close to this and endeavour to ensure that your child is a relatively good sleeper at home before we can expect them to transfer this skill to another environment. It really is important to do your best to address any sleep issues that you have, if possible before you return to work, that way, you will be handing over a robust and well rested child and that way you will reduce the risks of having challenges at this time.
Some children will never sleep as well in a crèche than they would at home and the reverse is also true. It can take 3-4 weeks for your child to fully establish their sleep in the crèche and provided that they are already able to put themselves to sleep at home for naps then this is can be more easily transferred to day care, rather than having to learn 2 skills they only have to master one, as the first is established.
Unfortunately as most children begin their crèche induction they may well pick up a cough or a cold as well and this can make the mastering of crèche sleep a bit more challenging. I would hope that as he or she settles in and acclimatises to the new environment, that your new child-carer will give your child some extra attention and provide the space and opportunity for as him/her to get good at sleeping somewhere else, with others too and put down by another too.
Not only does your child need to familiarise themselves with sleeping in a communal, and often noisy, not dark enough new sleep space- they are also getting used to not being with you all day every day too! Ensure that you are spending lots of emotionally connected time with your child. Providing lots of opportunity for physical and eye contact for bursts of time when you are together. Really ensure that the quality of the time you are together is deep and meaningful.
Send a security item with your child and a sleeping bag if you usually use one and if it is allowed and tell them a few quick phrases that you say at home, that your minders will repeat to your baby when they attempt a nap. A good sleep environment away from home would ideally be dark and without too many disruptions and if music or white noise is playing that it plays for the duration of the sleep.
You already know that it is likely that there will be settling in issues and possibly some sickness as they are exposed to others, but that will all settle down within the month in most cases. Your baby will be adjustable but you know your own child best and if they are typically slower to warm up than others then make sure you factor that in too.
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Lucy Wolfe, CGSC, MAPSC, H.Dip RM is a paediatric sleep consultant, Author of the bestselling book The Baby Sleep Solution, creator of “Sleep Through”, a natural bed and body sleep spray and relaxing rub, and mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to families across the country. See www.sleepmatters.ie |087 2683584 or |email@example.com