I've been fortunate enough to have a job as a nanny for the past two years, so DD has been with me basically every minute of the day since she was born. I'm a single mom, so she's only had a few opportunities to be cared for by someone else, and then the longest we've been apart was a few hours. My job ends in August, though, and my most realistic job prospects involve putting her in day care full time. Any advice? My biggest worry is naps--has anyone successfully done a non-CIO approach that actually got their toddler to sleep independently? Right now I lay with her to get her to fall asleep, and it takes about 20 minutes. She loves to sing to herself and roll around a little bit--she won't be able to do that in day care, will she? If anyone has gone through a similar experience, your advice/comments would be much appreciated! Thanks!
Love life, learning, and living
Our kiddos are the same age. DS started "playcare" a few months ago, just a few hours a week for socialization & to get him ready for the "i might get a job". He ate & played, but never had to nap.
Then I got a job, he's now Full time - or close. Naps were my first Worry as well. (it's now been 6 weeks)
At home, he sleeps in his crib for naps - dark, quiet, with music. He goes down easily, but any day when we have company over or any other distraction, he won't nap. I thought - he'll NEVER nap at daycare with other kids around. They repeatedly said... "you'd be amazed." I still didn't believe.
The first day of full time, he didn't nap. I picked him up and he was haggered and crazy baby. I instantly thought... this was a mistake. Panicked that going back to work was never going to happen.
The next day... he napped. Totally fell asleep on his mat, just like the other kiddos do.
He has napped every day since. He understands what the mats are for, that it's time for quiet... that he'll lay there and babble for a bit... and then Falls Asleep! (i still really don't believe it!) Not as long as at home - only an hour nap, where as at home is 2hrs+. BUT, it does happen.
I know from his first day, they do not CIO. If the kids don't nap, they have quiet time activities. That is key - that naps aren't forced; that the teachers will accommodate the days when a child doesn't want to nap. I've walked in during nap times and the teachers are cleaning, and the blinds are closed, soothing music playing. It's conducive to sleeping. So, you've got to find a place that makes that work. But even there, I never thought DS would actually lay down on a MAT in the middle of a floor with toys and other kids around and actually sleep. He did. He does :-)
So, that's my $.02 on naps. It will happen. I don't know how they get it, but they get it. Watching other kids nap, it just seems to happen.
All the other stuff about daycare... I think you really have to find the right place. I visited 5 places before I walked into this one and just went... YEAH... even before he got down to check it out himself. There will be a place that seems right for you and your daughter. Just trust your gut on that, and Don't Go with the closest/cheapest/first you look at.
I second the PP. We just switched daycares to a Montessori with a toddler program, (DD is 17 mo) and she even napped on her first day, on her little mat, etc. I sent the blanket she slept with in our bed the night before, and a little stuffed lamb she knows well (though she is not attached to any particular comfort object). It really is amazing, the stuff they'll do for a daycare provider that they'd never do at home.
It's so hard to leave them, I really know it, but if you find a place that feels nurturing and right, take some deep breaths through the transition period, and you'll both be fine. Good luck!
Oh, also - I don't think you need to feel like you have to 'practice' the napping at home to prepare her for daycare...it won't really work. She and the DCP will figure it out together.
Ahhh! You mamas are awesome! Thank you SO much for the advice and reassurance. I take it to heart gratefully! It's so nice to know that other kids have done this successfully as older, more aware toddlers with ingrained habits--you just made my day! Thanks again!
Love life, learning, and living
I was fortunate enough to be home with DS till he was 16 months. He started daycare full time at 16 months. Before he started, we read the book Llama llama misses mama. It's a simple age appropriate story about starting a new school. I added in the teacher's name and would point to the animal kids in the book and give them the names of the other kids. By the time he went to school, he knew the names of several kids and the teacher. I also made a little photo album book for him to keep at school with pictures of me and DP and all his close family friends. He still likes looking at the pictures and telling the teacher who everyone is.
Life is strange and wonderful. Me , DP , DS (3/09) , 3 and 4
Hugs mama! I know first-hand how nerve-wracking it is to send your little one to daycare no matter how high quality the daycare is. Like the previous posters, I too can ease your worries!
I teach very part-time and up until this school year, DS was babysat by my inlaws and a 23 year old girl down the street, all of whom let DS nap in their arms, or any way he needed. Then, in Sept, when DS was 13mos, he transitioned to the on-site daycare at my new school. I was a wreck b/c of naps! DS has always been a bad sleeper and I only ever nurse him down to naps (to this day and he's now 17mos).
Everyone told me not to worry, that I'd be surprised at how DS would adjust to daycare and would probably even nap. I was skeptical, but "they" were right! At first, one of the teachers would rock DS down to sleep, put him on his mat and he'd only stay asleep for 20min or so, then when he awoke, they'd do quiet activities w/ him. Eventually, DS started sleeping longer and longer. As he got more comfortable, the teachers tried encouraging him to stretch out on the mat when it was nap time (instead of being rocked). Now, 6 mos from the day he started, DS goes down for a nap at daycare at the same time as everyone else, no rocking, and stays asleep for over an hour! Occasionally he'll still wake up after 20 min or so, but they just lay on the floor next to him, pat his back and he'll drift back off.
At my school we are encouraged to just walk in to daycare unannounced, which I've done many times and I've "caught" the teachers MANY times sprawled on the floor, patting backs or humming to my kid or someone else's. *** Mydaycare also has windows we can look in on them w/out being seen, and I have seen the fun DS has playing with his little friends and teachers. It is really very sweet.
Also, we provide the sheet (crib sheet), blanket, and a comfort item from home. I take home these items to be washed each week and bring back the same exact sheet/blanket/lovey so that it smells like home laundry and so that there is a sense of continuity. BTW: DS didn't even have a comfort item - I randomly selected one of the hundred angel baby blankie things he recv'd as a baby and he's grown to love it and now even sleeps with one at night.
Anyway, I realize I went on and on, but please keep reading and re-reading these positive posts when/if you feel worried. Just like "they" say, you will be AMAZED at how your little one adjusts. And you can just be prepared that for the first few weeks, you might have a baby who is more tired than ususal due to the stimulation and the shorter naps. Slowly you will both get used to it.