Transition to Daycare
Q: My Son started daycare last week, and I'm sad and depressed and frustrated. I know that I was lucky, I got to stay home and see him crawl for the first time, sit up for the first time and cut his first teeth. But now, he doesn't sleep at daycare. Monday he slept a total of 50 minutes all day. So he comes home, and goes straight to sleep. So I've only been able to spend an hour a day with my boy. Its a big switch from 14 hours a day. I just don't know what to do anymore. I get weepy in the evening because my beautiful little boy is sleeping. No supper, no bath, no nothing. I know that I'm being selfish, but I just wish I could spend some more time with him. If anyone has any suggestions on how to make this transition any easier.
A: The transition from being at home all day with your child to going back to your job can be very stressful for Mother and child. It's natural for you to feel a sense of loss as well as some anxiety. It's also natural for your child's schedule to be upset.
Remember that your son is also adjusting to a new schedule and a new environment. It's very stimulating for him to be around the other children in a new place--that alone will tire him out. Plus, he may be having trouble settling down for naps. But he'll adjust to his new environment before you know it and it won't wear him out as much . He'll also probably nap longer at day care as time goes on. You should talk to your provider and emphasize that you really feel he needs his naps. Try to find out what is keeping him from sleeping. Is this normal for kids his age going into care for the first time? Is he too easily distracted? Is it too noisy?
When he does settle into a routine you'll probably find that he will start sleeping more at daycare so he'll be up in the evenings. He'll also go to sleep later at night as he gets older which gives you one or two extra to play and relax rather than putting him straight to bed.
For an older child making the transition from home to day care, or even between daycares, he may not be able to nap until he knows the day care better. But if, in a few weeks, you find that he still falls asleep before you get to spend time in the evenings, you might try explaining to him that you miss spending time together because he is asleep in the evening. Discuss how he feels you might get to see each other more (you can do this with a child as young as three). In this discussion try suggesting that taking a nap may allow him to visit with you in the evening. See how he reacts and see if he knows why he doesn't nap. If he mentions something you can change, change it. If he seems willing, ask the teacher who helps him fall asleep to remind him that taking a nap will allow him to visit with you in the evening.
Regardless of age, try and carve out special Mommy time during the weekend.