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8 Tips If Your Baby Won’t Nap at Daycare


Baby Won’t Nap at Daycare Tips

No matter how old your baby might be, it can be difficult for them to fall asleep at daycare. They’re in a new environment, they don’t recognize the people around them, and they might not be comfortable. There are numerous factors that can affect their ability to sleep soundly. Whether you run a daycare or you want to help your baby fall asleep, there are a few tips and tricks that you can utilize to help them sleep. If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then consider some of these ideas.

1. Swaddling

Some babies aren’t comfortable sleeping unless they’re swaddled. This describes a position in which your baby is wrapped up in breathable cloth. They’re almost entirely surrounded by it and feel enclosed. The reason that many babies love being swaddled is that it comforts them. For many, it likely mimics the time they were in the safety of the mother’s womb. They’re warm, cocooned, and they feel safe.

If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then you might want to ask the daycare staff to swaddle them. You can provide the swaddling cloth or ask that they invest in a sleep sack or swaddling cloth for their babies.

How Do I Swaddle?

For those who have never swaddled their baby before, then you might benefit from knowing how. Learning how to swaddle your baby is fairly easy. Parents who have fussy babies when it comes time to sleep might find that swaddling is an effective method of promoting sleep. The process is relatively simple.

You begin by folding the swaddle into a diamond shape. The baby is placed at the center of that diamond. Their shoulders should come just below the fold. Then you start with the baby’s right side.

First, move their arm so it rests alongside their body. Then take the swaddle and wrap it around their body and tuck it into their life side. Then you take the bottom of the swaddle and fold it up over the baby’s feet and tuck it into the top of the swaddle below the baby’s chin.

Finally, you can rest their left arm alongside their body and take the swaddling cloth and fold it over their chest. You can tuck it beneath the baby. Your child is successfully swaddled. They’ll feel secure inside the swaddle and likely fall asleep easily.

2. Sing Lullabies

Babies often like cooing songs. Lullabies can help them fall asleep and stay asleep. If you happen to sing to your baby in order to help them sleep, then that might be why the baby won’t nap at daycare. They’re used to being sung to before sleeping.

There are two options here. The first is to ask for daycare workers to sing to your child before they nap. The ritual of singing to them can inform them that it’s time to nap. The soothing lullaby can also help relax their energy and encourage their mind to ease into sleep.

The second option is to record yourself singing and have the daycare workers play it for your baby. This might be a more effective choice in helping your baby nap at daycare because they’ll hear your voice. They might be further soothed and find falling asleep easier.

Why Do Lullabies Help Children Sleep?

Have you ever wondered why babies fall asleep after being sung to? There are three primary reasons. The first is that singing soft and gentle songs can help create an emotional atmosphere that promotes sleep. If a baby is upset, then the baby won’t nap at daycare. Singing can help transform those negative emotions, such as separation anxiety, into positive ones.

Another reason that lullabies help soothe babies to sleep is that it creates a bond between the baby and the singer. For parents, singing and holding your baby helps them feel bonded to you. They’re more relaxed around you and trust you. A daycare worker can also create this bond with the baby by singing. Doing so often enough can make the baby trust the worker and feel relaxed in their presence.

A final reason is that it establishes a routine. If a parent sings to their child every time before they sleep, then the child will eventually form a correlation between singing and sleep. This routine can be started at home, but if the baby won’t nap at daycare, then it can also be used there to signal to the baby that it is time to sleep.

3. Darkness

Sometimes a baby won’t nap at daycare simply because it’s too bright. Perhaps you’ve tried to nap during the day before and found it difficult because the sun was keeping you awake. Many babies have trouble sleeping during the day. Humans have evolved in such a way that their brains are active when the sun is out and shining. It’s why many feel happier when they go out into the sun.

Opposite of that, when it’s dark, the brain recognizes that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin, a molecule that helps humans fall asleep, is produced in the absence of light. Your baby might not fall asleep because their brain is telling them that it’s still daylight outside.

Daycare workers can fix this by turning out the lights and blocking out the sunlight. They can also move your baby to a dark corner where they might be able to achieve sleep a lot easier. Since not all babies respond well to blindfolds as adults do, it’s best to simply move the baby somewhere dark or not exposed to sunlight.

4. Quiet

A daycare typically sees a lot of action from various age groups. A reason your baby won’t nap at daycare is that it’s noisy. Older kids might not have a nap time. Or they might have a nap time that’s later than when the babies need to nap. Their play can interest the baby and keep them interested in the sounds around them.

To help them fall asleep, your daycare worker should find ways to quiet the room. This might be as simple as moving the baby into a different room that’s far from a play area. Or it may be taking more permanent measures in soundproofing the nap room. In some cases, your baby might even benefit from the use of earmuffs to help deafen the sound.

5. Noise

Yet some babies actually need a little noise to fall asleep. If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then it might be because it’s too quiet. This can happen when the baby is used to sleeping in an environment that is relatively noisy. Whether it’s traffic outside of the home, the presence of a pet or older children in the home, or even just the sound of birds outside, a baby can become used to those sounds.

In the absence of them, it can be difficult for them to fall asleep. To help, you can provide the daycare with a white noise machine that your baby responds well to. Experiments should be performed at your home first to determine what kind of white noise they best enjoy.

This might be the sound of roaring waves, the chirping of crickets, the hum of a machine, or even the sound of a moving fan. If a baby won’t nap at daycare, then white noise can be an effective soothing method.

7. Ensure They’re Fed

You’ve likely experienced that sense of lethargy after eating a large meal. All you want to do is crawl into your favorite chair and sleep. This is something that your baby can experience as well. If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then it might be because they’re hungry.

Take the time to look over the schedule at the daycare. Perhaps their mealtime is after their nap. Or their nap time doesn’t take place right after their meal. Both of these circumstances can make it so your baby doesn’t feel content enough to fall asleep.

At this point, you can request that your baby be fed a certain amount of time before their nap. You may even want to offer your own food, so you can be sure that your baby feels full at the daycare. With a full tummy, the baby will feel content and be more likely to fall asleep.

8. Past Two-Nap Stage

Some babies require more naps than others. If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then it might be because they don’t need another nap. They’ve developed enough to get past that necessity.

In that case, you might the daycare to let your baby nap longer instead of napping twice. Or, to promote tiredness, you might prompt them to play physically with your baby. Reducing their energy level can help.


Sleep is important for young babies. If your baby won’t nap at daycare, then you might want to try some of these tips. They can help promote the right kind of environment in which your child can sleep. For additional reading, check out our tips for taking your baby to daycare.

2 thoughts on “8 Tips If Your Baby Won’t Nap at Daycare”

  1. Good general tips for at home but daycare cannot control the noise level (outside of turning on white noise) and most are not allowed to swaddle babies.

  2. If your baby won’t sleep, check out the sleep method from – Thank you SleepBaby for this brilliant method! My daughter now sleeps from 7pm to 6 or 6:30am every night with almost no night wakings. And even if she wakes, it’s usually just for a second and then she falls back asleep all on her own.

    Most nights I get my 8 hours of sleep and it’s just wonderful! I really feel like I understand her little body and mind and can address her sleeping holistically. I can’t thank you enough, Kacey and the team!

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