By Raising Children Network
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Sleeping in a new place such as a child care centre or a relative’s home might disrupt your child’s routine. Here are some things you can do to help your child feel comfortable about sleeping away from home.

Yawning baby in car seat credit Herrera-Arango

Younger children

Maintaining your child’s usual sleep routine is an effective way of avoiding stress at bedtime. It can also help your child to adapt to new sleeping conditions. Children as young as two or three can benefit from simple explanations of what’s going to happen in words they can understand.

Older children

Knowing what’s going to happen can help your child feel safer and happier. Give children as much information as you think they can handle about:

  • where they are going
  • who will be looking after them
  • where and when they will be sleeping.

Maintaining your child's sleep routine

Describe your child’s sleeping habits to carers so they can replicate your child’s routine. This might include things like a bath before bed, always reading two books, or singing quiet nursery rhymes together before bedtime. If your child has something special like a teddy, rug or favourite pair of pyjamas, it might also help to pack these for overnight stays.

If you feel confident your child’s carer understands the special needs of your child, you’ll also feel happier and less stressed.

Most child care centres will follow your child’s regular feeding, sleeping and play routines. If you notice changes in your child’s routine when your child comes home, talk with carers.

Just as you would make sure your child’s sleep environment at home is safe, make sure you are confident your child is safe when sleeping away from home.

Sleeping at home after child care

Your child will probably have been quite active during a day at child care, and might be more tired than usual at the end of the day. Sometimes children sleep longer after they have been in care and might settle easily once back at home.

If your child is overtired and difficult to settle, spend extra time helping your child slip back into your home routine.

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  • Last Updated 18-02-2010
  • Last Reviewed 12-08-2009