There are always going to be some differences in how each daycare center operates. Some are much more interested in keeping all of the kids on the same schedule and they’re not going to worry as much about your baby’s individual needs. But others can be totally accommodating. Here are 5 ways you can help your daycare center keep your baby on a schedule:

1. Choose a daycare that values your schedule.

The first thing you can do when you’re checking out your daycare options, is ask them if they are willing to put your baby down when she’s still awake and ready for her naptime, according to your schedule. If they seem confused or non-willing, chances are pretty good they aren’t going to accommodate your wishes. So, if there are other options in your town, we suggest you check into those.  If they are willing to implement your baby’s schedule, wonderful!  This will alleviate SO MANY problems that can arise from a non-accommodating daycare environment.

2. Give them the schedule on a clipboard.

Once you’ve found a daycare that wants to work with your baby’s schedule, take the guess work out of the equation by printing out and giving them 2-3 copies of the schedule, put them on a clipboard (write your baby’s name on the top or bottom of the clipboard). Not only will this help them keep track of the times, but you’ve made your expectations completely clear for them.  You can also write some notes on the bottom of the schedule (or print out some more of our posts for them!) of your preferences for your baby, for example: that she’s on a feed-play-nap routine, to put her down for naps while she’s still awake, swaddling instructions, whether she uses a pacifier or not, how to use the 15-minute rule for her naps, etc.

3. Help them replicate your baby’s nursery environment for her naps.

If you’re using our schedules and sleeping techniques, buy and leave these extra items for your baby at your daycare center:

– 3-5 velcro swaddles with her name written on the tags

-2-3 pacifiers with her name written on the clips  (optional)

-small crib soother (write her name on it with a sharpie pen)

-small sound machine/projector (write her name on it with a sharpie pen)

4. Ask for the crib that’s furthest away. 

Ask if the babies sleep in a consistent crib every day and if so, ask if you can request a certain crib. If they say yes, choose a crib in the darkest corner away from the classroom lights and sounds and/or away from the loudest/fussiest baby. There’s absolutely no harm in asking and this will really make a major difference in her every day childcare experience.

5. If your daycare options are limited, adjust your baby’s schedule.

In small towns you may not have many choices of daycare centers. In that case, your best option is to get your child on their schedule (assuming it isn’t extremely different from ours). If it’s only a 30-60 minute difference than her current schedule, you can easily adjust all the times. But if it differs wildly, make an appointment to talk with the administrator. Ask them to brainstorm with you about how to make this situation work. Remember they want happy families. And when your baby’s on a schedule that works for her, she’s much easier to take care of.

In the beginning, it’s important to remember that there will be a learning curve for everyone. Your baby will most likely take a week or two to adjust to the new environment, routine, and caretakers.  The key is to try to create the most consistent environment for her at daycare as you can, so the transition is as smooth as possible, and the experience is as positive as possible.

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