In this episode, Courtney Zentz, the Founder of Tiny Transitions, takes us through preparing your baby for daycare – Tips and Tricks. From the first week of sending your baby to daycare, how to create a calm environment, and help ensure smooth naps – we have you covered.
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the kids sleep show where we help tired children to fall asleep independently sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode. Today I am talking all about how to help a baby adjust for their first day of daycare. Now, this is something I know all too well, because both of my children started daycare at 12 weeks of age. When I went back to the corporate world, they were in daycare full time, five days a week until they went through the summer of going into kindergarten. My children had good days, my children had bad days. But overall, they had a great experience at daycare, I could successfully breastfeed my children and balance also them taking the bottle. And those things were important for me as a parent. So today I’m going to talk to you about how you can help successfully transition your little one two daycare regardless of age. And make sure that they still continue to have really healthy sleep habits at home, and how you can help them to have really healthy sleep habits at daycare, too. Now, if this is your first child and they are going to daycare for the first time, it is likely going to be an emotional adjustment for you. For me, it was almost a sense of relief because I wanted my children to have consistency in their day. And I also was really excited about the potential for them to build little friendships and relationships. Six and eight years later, I’m still friends with some of those families that I met at daycare. And it’s so cool to see their children growing and aging with my kids and how amazing it really was for those relationships. Now, some people are going to have a positive feeling going into this, some people are going to be a little bit apprehensive, a little bit nervous and a little bit scared about leaving their child for daycare, you have two ways that you can always look at situations the glass half full or the glass half empty. For many families daycare is unnecessary part of the work life balance that we have as it was in our family as well. And I chose to look at it as a glass half full experience. My child would have consistency in their day. Most daycares are very structured in their routines. They have their different centers that they do. They have different activities every day, way more things than I would frankly be doing at home with my little one, even from such a young age as a baby. They also developed friendships and relationships, they learned to communicate with each other. And I felt like my children very well adjusted to what other kids were doing. So in some cases, if a little boy or girl or in the class was walking, I almost felt like daycare helped my children to learn that developmental leap sooner. So I want you to take a breath. If your child is going to daycare for the first time. It’s okay, they’re going to be okay. But look at it as instead of a negative of oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m dropping my child off at daycare, a positive of wow, look at all of these unique experiences that I’m going to give my baby your child as they are going through. At the different daycares. There’s many of wonderful daycares and many of them do so many different things with children. We have gone to private kind of single daycares. When we lived in Conshohocken. We had gone to more of a chain or franchise daycare when I worked in Malvern. And then we had moved to a different chain or franchise. That’s more of like a nationally known one here in Westchester. And all three were great experiences definitely different, but all great experiences. So you can’t go wrong either way, you just have to walk in that door on the first day and take a breath, allow yourself some extra time after you drop your child off. Because sometimes it is a little emotional, I felt a sense of relief. Frankly, I was not great. When I was first home with my children. I did not love being a new parent in the way that I think it is made to seem like it’s going to be you’re exhausted, you’re overwhelmed. I had milk shooting out of my breasts at all times. And it was a very overwhelming experience for me. So for me going back to work, and having a schedule and structure and routine and consistency for myself allowed me to be the best version of a parent that I wanted to be. And it allowed for my child to have that structure and routine and consistency and not have a hot mess mom who was crying in the closet half the day because they were so depressed and anxious about the entire world. So take a breath. That’s my first piece of advice. Second piece of advice is bring some extra milk. So whether your child is breastfed or formula fed, you want to make sure that you’ve got that extra milk on hand. I was nursing at the time. And when my kids started daycare, they were exclusively on breast milk but I always had formula as a backup that I sent just in case and I also sent frozen milk in different size bags. So I would do a one ounce bag, a two ounce bag, a three ounce bag
I would send them with a variety, because sometimes they just needed a top off. And I didn’t want them to defrost three ounces, if they just needed an ounce that I then had to use in 24 hours or it would be spoiled. And sometimes the daycare rules around breast milk is quite different. So sometimes I’ll just dump the excess out, which I also didn’t want to happen, you have to check with your daycare and what the protocol is around the milk. So you know, you want to make sure you’re prepared with extra milk, kids are going to go through growth spurts, they’re going to have good days or bad days as far as eating goes. And so you want to always make sure that there’s plenty of milk in that fridge for your child. The next thing you want to look at is give yourself a little bit of an adjustment period with daycare things are going to be different routines are different environments, different right takes about a week for a child to adjust to daycare. But after that week, kids generally do beautifully. Now, my kids, you know, as they went to daycare every day, that was part of their routine, they would literally run in the door, they could not wait. And when they started running to get in there and to see their friends right now my daughter is quite an actress and she always has been since birth. And literally every day for two minutes upon drop off, she would cling to my leg and be like Mommy, oh, and then the second I’m gone. She’s like playing with her friends. It was a bit of a show. So definitely don’t let those heartstrings get tugged too much. Well, I know it can be hard to walk out especially if your child is upset. They generally adjust within about 30 seconds of you leaving I will tell you today my daughter is six and still does the same thing when I leave the house because she loves her mommy, which is a beautiful feeling. But you know what? Mommy’s leaving, and you gotta suck it up. So the tears today at six years old are not much different than the tears, then if you should have a child who is much like my daughter, so Bella, and is what I would consider a stage four cleaner. So just give yourself some grace. The daycare teachers are professional and they understand how to handle it and your children do beautifully. After that first week, there is a little bit of that adjustment. Now naps naps a daycare can sometimes be a bit tricky. You might have a daycare that strictly forces a nap schedule that in some cases I’ve seen is actually inappropriate for the children based on the age that they’re trying to do this for. Most daycares will go off your child’s age and awake window, which is typically how they should do it. And so for example, a seven month old should be awake about three hours and they should be taking two naps a day. However, if your child falls asleep or is showing signs of tired at daycare, and they put them down a little early, they might be on a three nap schedule for a few more months. That’s okay, as long as your child is getting sleep throughout the day. Don’t stress as much about the schedule. The most important thing with daycare is that you want to avoid overtired, especially going into bed time they’re going to be very stimulated. They’re going to be doing a lot of fun activities throughout the years that they’re there. And you want to make sure you’re protecting overtired my daughter every day would fall asleep on the way home from daycare because it was about a 25 minute drive from work home. And so she would fall asleep I would allow the NAPS she’d take a little bit of that kind of bridged nap but still go to bed at seven o’clock. So even though the Wake window was shorter because we get home around five, about 515 And she had just nap from 445 to 515. Right. She would still go to bed at seven because she was tired. So you always want to avoid overtired. I feel like that’s one of the biggest struggles that parents in daycare have. And parents that are home with kids that are not in daycare have is overtired is detrimental to children settling easily at bedtime. Take long, consistent naps and sleeping through the night. And actually early morning waking. So you want to avoid overtired because it ends up triggering a whole bunch of hormones that you don’t want triggered in your children, which is why sleep can be such a struggle when kids are over tired. Okay, so, so far we’ve got take a deep breath, you’re doing okay, make sure you take extra milk. Okay? Make sure that you leave with grace and understand you might have a stage for CCleaner, right. And then avoid overtired. And finally, environment. So some takers are going to allow you to use certain products. For example, our daycare allowed us to bring in sheets, I use the same sheets that we used in the crib, which were shinier sheets from at the time Pottery Barn. And you can get them at many places now, but they’re very, very soft, very comfortable. And they created a sense of coziness, since kids under the age of one have to have a safe sleep space and can’t have anything else in the crib. So my daughter would sleep with these shinier sheets. And then my son had them for a bit when I just found out about them before I was asleep consultant and they were lovely. And they created a sense of consistency. The crib at daycare is different than the crib at our home. Right. So I wanted to make it consistent. And so keeping consistency and other ways to the one daycare that we went to didn’t have a noise machine and it is loud in there. There’s 15 kids running around throwing pacifiers freaking out right? Yogurt bites are flying all over the place. So I actually purchased a $15 sound machine and gave it to daycare. It was like here you go. And by the way, put my kid in the back corner, right and you know, so just creating that consistent
See in the environment, the white noise machine which most daycares have the consistency in the bedding, which is helpful. And then also if they allow things like the baby Merlin magic sleepsuit was a transition product and a safe swaddle alternative that we were allowed to use a daycare, which I loved, my kids knew it at home. And then at daycare, it became consistent wearable blankets, things like that, that can create that coziness and consistency, but also be a trigger that sleep is coming to help your child adjust. Now, if your child is going to daycare, and they do not have the ability to independently settle to sleep, your child is going to take terrible naps at daycare because their daycare workers are not going to be able to rock your child and hold them when there’s 15 other kids in the room. So you have to balance teaching your child independent skills at home so that a daycare can lay them down in the crib and know that they are peacefully going to drift off to sleep. What that does is it helps daycare to manage all the kids and it also helps your child to get good consolidated, independent sleep while they’re at daycare, if there is a sleep prop that they’re attached to rocking, to sleep feeding, to sleep, bouncing to sleep, all of those things to sleep, that’s going to cause an issue at daycare and you’re going to see that naps are going to be a total nightmare. Your kids are going to sleep 20 or 30 minutes, three or four times a day and be strung out hot mess if that happens, put them to bed early. I have clients that I tell put to bed six to seven o’clock at night, as we’re starting sleep training because again, avoiding overtired, your kid will not wake up at four in the morning, trust me, they’re basically just making up from three really short naps. When you sleep train with take tiny transitions, we use our method here called the sleep steps method. And that is a gradual transition to sleep training because sleeps a skill set. So if you teach the skill foundationally right, the rest comes slowly but more deliberately and with less tears. So in the end, you don’t have to have a baby who’s crying to learn how to struggle for naps, like many sleep consultants will have you do just sat them down in the crib and let them cry for 45 minutes, then rock them to sleep. Like that’s not an effective way to teach your child to sleep well. So if your sleep consultant is telling you to do that, I would advise against that, and then reach out to us because we can help you and you don’t have to do that. And I want you to just understand that the transition to daycare can be an emotional one for everyone involved. Just know your child is going to adjust beautifully. You’re going to set them up for success with routines and consistency with the ability to independently sleep and with the environment that they have to grow and thrive with their new friends and those new relationships that they’re going to be building. So take a deep breath. You got this and we’re always here to help. Should you need additional coaching or support. Be sure to click follow and make sure you’re staying on top of all the latest and greatest sleep news sleep tips and sleep coaching from the team here at Tiny transitions. One more thing before you go. Did you know that we offer a risk free guarantee on all of our private sleep coaching services. In addition, we have the largest library of free sleep training content available for children of all ages. Jump on over to tiny transitions.com and learn more about how we are supporting and changing the quality sleep that your family gets one family at a time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai