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Set up a sleepy space

By Jamie Contarini

Naps are one of the biggest sleep challenges families talk to me about. They are too short – or they don’t happen at all. Often, when babies start daycare we see some nap “regressions”. Setting up a room that is conducive to sleep is key.

Make it dark:Darkness cues melatonin, our sleep hormone, so make the room as dark as possible. At daycare this is not always possible, but see if there is a spot away from the window – or in a corner and ask if your little one can sleep there.

Positive Sleep Associations: If your baby has a favourite blanket or stuffed animal, get a second (or third) and leave it at daycare. Let her sleep with it for a week before starting daycare so that it has a familiar scent – or swap it out with current favourites at home so that your little one can wear it in a little. If you are currently using a sleep sack at home, ask your daycare provider if it can be used there as well. It is an excellent cue to your baby that sleep is coming next. If you cannot use it at daycare, you can still use it at home!

Make a Little Noise:Choose white noise over music. White noise, set on a low volume, will help to drown out the background noises. If you use white noise at home, ask your daycare provider if you can supply them with the same machine and have it placed under your child’s cot or crib. If your child is at a home daycare and has his own room then place the machine near the door or window to drown out the outside noises.

Keep it cool:Babies sleep better in a cooler environment. Light outfits can help in the summer months when the sun warms the room. A temperature between 20 and 22 °C is ideal.

Daycare is a big transition and being consistent should be the focus.

Jamie Contarini is a certified sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site Halton. www.goodnightsleepsite.com/Halton