top of page

Don’t Let Daycare Ruin Your Routine - Maintain your Rhythm and Regulation

Anyone who has worked with Sleep Tight Tonight knows the emphasis we put on routines, from bedtime routines to daytime sleep routines and schedules. Kids thrive on routines, which help create a sense of predictability and comfort. Today, we are joined by guest author and owner of ProEarly Co, Paige Moriarty, to address your concerns about what you can do so that daycare doesn't come in and ruin all your hard work at establishing a routine!

Guest Author - ProEarly Co - Paige Moriarty

You’ve figured out sleep training (if you haven't, call Caryn!), feeding schedules, changing preferences and how to care for your incredibly cute and ever changing baby. You know just the volume on the white noise machine for naps, that your toddler must have fruit every morning to stay “regular,” and how to heal a diaper rash. Gold star!

And then, daycare enters the conversation

Do they have white noise machines, how will they encourage but not force your fiercely independent toddler to eat fruit every day, and what if they don’t know how to recognize the different versions of diaper rash your baby gets? After all, a citrus burn in diaper rash is NO joke.

These are REAL worries many parents feel…for good reason. We create routines and rituals based on individual needs and experiences with our babies from the moment that they come into our worlds. We work extremely hard, often while overwhelmed, undernourished and completely sleep deprived to figure out what routines work best for our families and children. It’s a lot of trial and error, occasional frustration and careful attention to detail.

When it comes to infants and toddlers, routines are consistent, predictable, daily experiences such as greetings, diapering, sleeping, and feeding. The ways parents, teachers and caregivers create and support routines enable them to help infants and toddlers build trust and independence. Infants and toddlers do not understand the concept of time, so they organize themselves by the people they are with and the events that happen. Routines provide the two key ingredients necessary for child learning and parent peace of mind - relationships and repetition.

So the question is… how do you know if a daycare will support these critical routines you’ve created?

There are often pretty big differences in how each daycare center operates in terms of their own rhythm and routines based on size, staffing, age of children, type of daycare, and state licensing regulations. There’s a tricky balance of keeping a group schedule and supporting individual needs of each child – every daycare strikes this balance differently - some better than others. Your child’s daily experiences and your peace of mind matter. Consider the following as you consider daycares for your child:

Choose wisely: You don’t get what you don’t ask for… it’s critical that you ASK the daycare how they balance group schedules with individual child needs. Ask about classroom and child schedules and lesson plans. Infants, toddlers and preschool children typically require different levels of individualization in their routines. If you get the sense that the program doesn’t individualize, they probably don’t.

Communication is key: Share what your baby or toddler needs, explain how they deal with transitions, and anything you think is important for the daycare to know before they start so that there are shared expectations and language from the beginning. Ask about daily communication – how will you know about your child’s eating, sleeping and changing schedule each day? Great daycares will share this information with you in an organized and consistent way- think daily experience sheets or apps.

Prioritize the essentials: Everything can feel critical when it comes to your baby. Decide what routine, and what parts of the routine are “must haves” for your baby. Maybe their sleep routine including a swaddle, pacifier and white noise is THE priority… ask what sleep items the daycare allows from home to make sure your essentials make the cut.

Be flexible: No daycare is going to be able to match your routines at home exactly in the center, so it’s important to have some wiggle room in what you expect. You may need to compromise on parts of your routines, drive further or pay more for programs that accommodate and individualize routines in the ways that you would like.

In summary - it starts with making a wise choice in the daycare that you select for your child, daily communication is absolutely critical - and it must be two ways between daycare and home and finally, you will need to identify what is most important and where you feel more comfortable compromising routines. Consistent daily routines help not only your little one feel better, but also, they help family life run smoothly- they make children feel safe, develop life skills, and build healthy habits, and help parents feel organized and reduce stress. You have the basics to get the conversation started - you know your child best… go on and advocate for their needs, and remember to adapt a little along the way.

For more information on selecting child care in confidence visit for expert advice carefully curated tips, interview guides and consultation services. ProEarly Co provides families the expert consulting, coaching, and content they need to make informed child care decisions for their families.

The team at ProEarly Co brings over 40 years of combined experience across a variety of childcare options, with specific expertise in education programming, inclusive classrooms, family and community engagement, health and safety requirements and best practices, and child health and nutrition.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page