Managing Daycare Sleep At Home

As a certified pediatric sleep consultant, a certified lactation consultant, and a newborn care specialist, I give families the resources and support they need to thrive during the newborn period.

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What happens when your child’s schedule at daycare is different from their schedule at home? In this post I’m talking all about how your can manage daycare sleep (or lack thereof) at home.

For any number of reasons, you may find that your child’s schedule at daycare is different than your schedule at home. Maybe you have a great napper at home who is a chronic catnapper at daycare. Or maybe, you have a rockstar napper at daycare, but at home they would rather do anything other than sleep. Perhaps your daycare requires all children be on the same schedule, or they say they will implement your schedule, but they don’t.

Here is the good news – IT IS OK!

kids at daycare


All day, every day we act according to situational expectations. In school you child raises their hand to talk, but they don’t raise their hand to talk at home. At home, your child might jump on the couch, but they wouldn’t do that at a friends house. It’s because we are able to differentiate between the expectations.

Daycare is the same way. At daycare, your child might be rocked to sleep or allowed to skip their nap entirely if they scream. But, that doesn’t mean they have the same expectations at home. Even if daycare handles every situation differently than you would, stay consistent with your routines and habits at home. Within 1-2 weeks your child will learn to seamlessly transition between the different environments.


This is where daycare can become problematic. Your child’s lack of sleep at daycare may disrupt their sleep patterns at home. For example, they may be so overtired from the day, that they have trouble falling asleep at night. Perhaps your child, who had been sleeping through the night, starts waking up again. When you encounter these daycare side-effects, it may require making some small changes at home.


Let’s review some of the most common issues that arise because of daycare and how you can troubleshoot them at home:

child sleeping on a cot at daycare

Your child is constantly tired or cranky because they won’t nap at daycare

  • move bedtime up by 30 minutes on daycare days
  • longer naps on the weekend

You start getting early wakings because of bad daycare naps

  • move bedtime up by 30-60 minutes on daycare days

You have a chronic daycare catnapper

  • offer one more nap at daycare than they get at home
  • move bedtime up by 30 minutes on daycare days

Your child daycare sleep is poor because they are used to sleeping in a dark room

  • start letting a little light in the room for naps at home

Daycare is requiring that your child move to a 1 nap/day schedule, but they still take 2 at home

  • continue to offer two naps at home until they show signs that they are ready to drop to one nap

Daycare is moving your child from a crib to a cot

  • keep them in a crib at home until they are ready to transition


Morale of the story: our kids are resilient! Often times, we are ten times more stressed about their daycare life than they are. Make some simple changes at home to keep everyone happier and otherwise, let them be kids!

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I'm Kristen

The expert & woman behind the screen. I'm also your new best friend who is ready to empower you on this incredible journey.

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