TIPS FOR NAVIGATING SLEEP WHEN DAYCARE IS INVOLVED (PART 3 OF 7)
PART 3 OF 7 AREAS COMMONLY OVERLOOKED OR NOT STRATEGICALLY PLANNED
When evaluating a child’s sleep, it can be difficult to face the fact that we don't always have control.
For example, quality sleep involves a child’s ability to independently fall asleep and link sleep cycles. We can set the tone with the bedtime routine, create the right environment, implement an age appropriate schedule, provide space for the child to work on the skill. However, doing the actual sleeping is at the mercy of your baby.
An additional area that parents often assume is out of their control or that they do not consider is childcare and sleep. And while it is true that parents don't have complete control, it is not accurate to say you have none.
With communication and understanding from both childcare providers and parents, childcare providers can be very helpful. And if they aren’t? It’s not impossible to improve sleep. You can still work on it just at home! I would even argue that it is more crucial to work on it at home if it’s not going well with daycare.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are navigating sleep while your infant or toddler is also with a childcare provider throughout the week.
1 - UNDERSTAND THE SPECIFIC POLICIES & PROCEDURES FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS
Child care providers have specific policies and standards to follow at the national, state, local, and program levels. Here are just a few national guidelines regarding sleep from Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs (CFOC).
“The facility should provide an opportunity for, but should not require, sleep and rest. The facility should make available a regular rest period for all children and age appropriate sleep/nap environment (See Standard 126.96.36.199). For children who are unable to sleep, the facility should provide time and space for quiet play. A facility that includes preschool-aged and school-aged children should make books, board games, and other forms of quiet play available.
Facilities that offer infant care should provide a safe sleep environment and use a written safe sleep policy that describes the practices they follow to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and other infant deaths. For example, when infants fall asleep, they must be put down to sleep on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and no blankets or soft objects.”
“Safe sleep practices help reduce the risk of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs). Facilities should develop a written policy describing the practices to be used to promote safe sleep for infants. The policy should explain that these practices aim to reduce the risk of SUIDs, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), suffocation and other deaths that may occur when an infant is in a crib or asleep. About 3,500 SUIDs occurred in the U.S. in 2014 (1).
All staff, parents/guardians, volunteers and others approved to enter rooms where infants are cared for should receive a copy of the Safe Sleep Policy and additional educational information and training on the importance of consistent use of safe sleep policies and practices before they are allowed to care for infants (i.e., first day as an employee/volunteer/substitute). Documentation that training has occurred and that these individuals have received and reviewed the written policy before they care for children should be kept on file. Additional educational materials can be found at https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/materials/Pages/default.aspx."
“Lighting levels should be reduced during nap times to promote resting or napping behavior in children. During napping and rest periods, some degree of illumination must be allowed to ensure that staff can continue to observe children. While decreased illumination for sleeping and napping areas is a reasonable standard when all the children are resting, this standard must not prevent support of individualized sleep schedules that are essential for infants and may be required by other children from time to time.”
2 - DON’T HESITATE TO ASK QUESTIONS