How Do Daycares Get Babies To Sleep? (Daycare Tips To Make Your Baby Nap At Home)

Your daycare uses various techniques to nudge your baby to drift off to sleep by maintaining a routine, creating a cozy environment, avoiding stimulating activities, and indulging them in doing yoga or meditation. Your baby can read you if you’re stressed, but your daycare makes sure they transition your child to sleep smoothly. Also, if your baby has a habit of throwing tantrums and being coddled by you, they probably won’t do the same at daycare.

A sleeping child feels like a blessing. You can get all that pending work done or finally have some me time.

But more often than not, your child might not have a fixed napping schedule every day but have it handled at their daycare. It could be annoying for you as you try your best on off days to make sure your baby takes a nap, but it just doesn’t happen.

Your child might sleep like a dream at their daycare while they struggle to take a nap at home. If this sounds familiar and you’ve got a similar issue with your child’s napping habits, then you’re at the right place.

You might want to know what sleeping tips and tricks people at daycare use to make sure your child naps, so you also get your “me” time.

Daycare sleeping schedule for babies

It’s essential to know how your daycare handles things to make your baby get their required naps. Sometimes, your little one might have slept too much at home, and you would think they wouldn’t nap at daycare, but they still do.

A daycare, if chosen correctly, can help you and your baby achieve a lot of goals and make a parent’s life easier.

1. Structure and routine

At home, you might not structure a better sleeping schedule for your baby, and it shows.

Many parents think that their baby will let them know what they want to do and when. What you’re creating here is inconsistency in your child, and they’re learning so much from these non-structured schedules.

It holds great power to impact their future habits. Instead, it would help if you focused more on maintaining a consistent routine.

Every daycare follows a routine where they have set time for games, watching tv, learning new things, having lunch, awake time, and taking naps. When your child has a structure, they mold themselves around it and do things within a specific time.

We’re not saying it needs to be a strict routine, but a routine of some sort works wonders like daycare naps compared to freestyling their lives.

2. Cozy environment

The best time to take naps is after lunch. Notice every human being gets lazy after having lunch. It’s the perfect time one longs for a nap. Now, as an adult, however much we want, we usually can’t do that, but your child can!

Your daycare knows this, and so they schedule a nap session right after lunch. Caregivers would dim the lights and create a setup with blankets and cots. It fits perfectly, but on top of it, they also make the perfect cozy environment in the sleep space.

So, creating a pleasant and quiet environment goes a long way when you want your baby to nap at home too. Try to avoid letting in any outside noise and speak in soft whispers.

3. Avoid stimulating activities

A daycare teacher is sitting with two kids helping them do an activity before naptime.

Another great thing your daycare does is try to be calm and do relaxing activities before nap time. They avoid kids from partaking in any stimulating activities from before lunchtime.

Even if naps at daycare aren’t scheduled right after lunch, the daycare has activities planned in between, so it wouldn’t be stimulating. They would do quiet storytelling or some activity that nudges them towards getting sleepier.

You can follow the same trick at home when you want your baby to nap. Instead of indulging them in elaborate activities, you can play soft music from a white noise machine to encourage them to sleep.

4. Meditation and yoga

Some children can have a problem getting used to nap time during the day. Some daycares gather all the children and make them do yoga with inhaling and exhaling techniques, which usually calms down the kids.

It’s an excellent technique for bigger kids to help them achieve a level of calmness and get into the idea of falling asleep. For babies, it’s usually not that difficult since they take a lot of naps during the day and don’t have a longer awake time.

It’s an age-specific technique used by daycare for older kids and those who don’t easily fall asleep to keep them busy while other kids nap.

5. Naptime ready

Another great way to make sure babies get into the habit of falling asleep is making sure to indulge them in the process.

What your daycare might be doing is engaging children in volunteering or asking them to help in the process of setting up for sleep.

They might ask your baby to help in folding the blanket or setting up the cot. Even a little bit of help makes kids feel special and a part of the whole process. Mentally they’re being prepared for sleep time.

So next time you feel like your baby is having trouble sleeping at home, ask them to bring their comfort items like a favorite toy over. Or even ask them to switch off the lights or bring their favorite book over that you can read to them. Try indulging them in a small way for their sleep time.

6. Babies can read adults

Many babies have this tendency to throw a tantrum whenever their parents are handling them. Such have their habit become that they don’t do anything without throwing a fit first.

It could be the case with your baby that they know that you’ll spend hours coddling them to make sure they sleep. They know they won’t be coddled or receive the same kind of treatment at the daycare.

Consider doing the same for your baby at home. See if that brings any change in their nature and their habit of falling asleep.

Naptime for different ages of children

0 – 6 months3 – 4 naps a day Usually, newborns sleep on demand rather than on a schedule.
6 months of age2 – 3 naps a day5 hours
1 year old1 – 2 times a day4 hours
2 years old1 nap per day2 – 3 hours
3 years old1 nap per day1 – 2 hours
4 – 5 years old1 nap per day1 nap for an hour

How to make sure your baby naps at home

A 1 year old toddler boy is napping on the sofa at home with a blanket and his favorite teddy bear.

Few other tips to remember while trying to make sure your baby naps at home as well as they do at their daycare are:

  • Talk over with your daycare provider and ask them for a schedule they follow at their daycare. You won’t be able to follow it all but try to do as many things as listed on the schedule and make it your own on the days when your baby doesn’t go to daycare.
  • On the weekends too it’s important to follow the same routine as on the weekdays. You can handle a routine change as an adult, but your baby can’t, so keep following the same. Let your baby have the same naps as their daycare sleep setting.
  • Not every baby sleeps as much as other babies their age do. Some might require a lesser amount of sleep. So, if your 2-year-old baby is napping for half an hour, then it’s no big deal as long as they feel good and get adequate night sleep to follow up on their routine of doing other things.


How long does it take a baby to adjust to daycare?

It might take two to six months on average for a baby to learn to transition to daycare. However, it depends on the baby to baby. Some might adjust earlier than others.

It also depends significantly on the kind of daycare you’re sending your baby to. Some have exciting activities and games and will take great care of your baby. Research well before sending your baby to any random daycare.

Will my baby cry all day at daycare?

Your baby can take a bit of time before they start feeling comfortable at their daycare. They might get upset and sad and cry because they miss you. It’s separation anxiety that a lot of babies face and isn’t anything unusual.

Your childcare provider should do its best to engage your child and make them feel comfortable in a new setting away from you.

What should I do if my baby doesn’t sleep at daycare?

Some babies tend to develop a perfect nap schedule, while others might struggle sleeping at the daycare.

You might have created an ideal routine with your baby at home and set them up with a good nap time, but it turns out they can’t seem to follow the same at the daycare.

You can talk to the daycare caregiver and maybe share things you do for your baby. Please don’t pick up your child in the middle of the day and let them attend full-time daycare.

Also, make sure your baby gets enough sleep during the night, on the weekend, and throughout the day.

How long should a child nap at daycare?

On average, a child might sleep anywhere between half an hour to one hour. This is usual and typical for every child.

Depending on how many naps they have gotten at home or the previous day, the time may vary.

To summarize

Sending your child to a daycare center can be bliss in various ways for parents. Amongst which one is for their babies to learn how to have a proper nap time. Not all parents can bring their kids to stick to a nap routine, and their daycare takes care of that.

The people working at the daycare deal with lots of kids each year, and they know which techniques, tips, and tricks to use to nudge a child to sleep. And as a daycare parent, you can learn a lot from them, but only if your daycare is caring enough.

Constantly research well enough before selecting which daycare to send your baby to!

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As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

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