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Why does my little one sleep well at child care and not at home?

July 22, 2020

Before you become a parent, you have no idea how invested you will become in the sleep patterns of your child. 

Are they getting enough rest? Why are they sleeping well one day and not the next? And more importantly, why do they sleep so well at child care?

We spoke to Laura Streete, Centre Manager and Early Childhood Teacher at Papilio Early Learning Spring Hill, to find out all about children and sleep.

How do you know when a child under 12 months old is ready for a nap? 

For an educator, looking after children is their full-time job. They’re not simultaneously making dinner, dropping older children to school, trying to work, or running errands while they’ve got your child in their care.  

‘Our trained educators are very observant of babies in their care,’ explains Laura, ‘and they understand the importance of their sleep and rest needs being met. 

The care routine for each child is different, and we discuss these at length with the family before commencing care and as they transition through different developmental stages.

Our educators are very good at identifying tired signs in children – such as rubbing eyes, yawning, crying and irritability.’

At home, your little one may be part of a busy household or fitting in with your regular routine. So sometimes the little signs that your child is getting tired can be missed. 

How does an educator get a child under 12 months old to sleep? 

It’s comforting to know that your child’s educators don’t have a magical secret to getting your little one to sleep - they simply follow your lead.

‘We get to know the children in our care very well and continue their usual home routine as close as possible,’ explains Laura, ‘whether that means having a dummy, or a special routine to fall sleep. Our sleep environments are always safe and hygienic.

Parents and caregivers know their children best, so we ask them to take note of any special routines and the average times that their child is ready for rest. 

This means that the transition into child care can be easier, and our educators can continue that familiar rest-play routine.’

Why do you think parents often say their child sleeps better at child care than at home, for the daytime nap?

‘There are so many reasons why a child may miss a nap or have a different routine in different environments,’ says Laura.

‘Child care provides maximum learning opportunities, social interaction and sensory stimulation, so naturally your child may be more tired!

Our educators are also very experienced at monitoring tired signs and providing a safe and quiet environment to encourage rest, following the Safe Sleeping practices. 

Our sleeping space is set up to be calm and relaxing for each child, and we currently use white noise to help create that environment.’

‘Child care provides maximum learning opportunities, social interaction and sensory stimulation, so naturally your child may be more tired!’

‘Every baby is different,’ says Laura, ‘and that’s the most important thing we consider. 

Our personalised care for children, and working in partnership with families, means that children are always supported to have a safe rest in care.’

You can read more about Papilio Early Learning Spring Hill, or find child care in your area by entering your suburb name in the search bar at the top of the page.

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Written by

Lee Price

Toddle is the most comprehensive child care finder in Australia, on a mission to make parents’ lives easier.