Navigating Naptime: Tips for Babysitters to Ensure Your Baby Gets Quality Sleep

By Kaitlin Hurtado on April 16, 2024

Even the most seasoned babysitters will face challenges while on the job. Every child is different – what worked for one child may not work for another, even in the same household. As a parent, you should still be taking the necessary steps to set your babysitter up for success regardless of how well-prepared or experienced they are. You have spent the most time with your child, you know how they are on a regular basis and you are the one who knows the tips and tricks that get them through the day, from morning routines to tucking them into bed every night. Unfortunately, many children face struggles around sleep, whether it be going to bed at night or settling in for necessary nap time.

Depending on your family’s schedule, your babysitter may be with your child for times when they are normally expected to get some naps in. If you know your child has faced some issues around nap time in the past, discuss tips with your babysitter to get them prepared to get your child through nap time. Keep reading for tips to ensure your baby gets quality sleep.

Photo: Pexels

Stick to routines

If your baby has a routine around sleep, stick to it even when your babysitter is on the job. You can relay it via a conversation or written step-by-step, or have your babysitter watch you as you go through your baby’s routine, allowing them to ask questions in real-time.

If your babysitter is going against a well-established routine, they are running the risk of your child not feeling “ready” for a nap and getting little to no sleep, and also long-term effects to your child’s ability to follow the routine. Is there a certain time you schedule nap times for during the day? Are there steps you take to get your baby ready for a good sleep? Anything that shapes up to a “routine” can be relayed to your babysitter and benefit everyone.

Tips and tricks for quality naptime

Your babysitter may have some experience with putting kids down to naptime, but it’s always a good thing to remind them of the tips you have found particularly helpful for your baby. Maybe you have noticed some viral tips have been little to no help to your child, or there are some tricks that almost always seem to help over others. Whatever the case may be, make sure to discuss any tips with your babysitter. Tips to consider may include:

- Taking a bath

- Changing clothes and/or diaper

- Reading a story or singing a lullaby

- Feeding

- Dimming lights

- Temperature changes

- Noise reduction

Help your babysitter troubleshoot issues as they come up

As much as you hope sticking to a routine and a few tips can help, your baby will not always be quick to fall (and stay) asleep with your babysitter. This can be for a variety of reasons, but you should discuss with your babysitter if it becomes a reoccurring issue, or let them know if there are common problems you have noticed preventing your baby from getting quality sleep.

If your baby wakes up crying and is unable to fall asleep, it can mean they are hungry, need a diaper change, or are uncomfortable (temperature, sickness, etc.). Help your babysitter identify signs of these issues so that they are able to tend to the problem at hand and get your baby back to sleep without further delay.

If naptimes have been a consistent issue, taking the time to discuss how you address naptime dilemmas in your household can go a long way in not having your child regress on any progress that has been made. For example, your babysitter’s instinct may be to take your baby out of the crib once they start crying and stop naptime entirely. However, your family may already have been working toward getting your baby more independent with naptime and your babysitter’s actions may be dialing back your progress.

Likewise, if your babysitter is spending more naptimes with your baby than you are, they may be in the position to better identify new issues as they come up. Keep two-way communication open with your babysitter so that they can comfortably report their findings and help you identify where your baby needs help, possibly even things you may want to bring up to your pediatrician.

Naptimes can be a challenge for just about anyone, a seasoned babysitter included. By taking the time to have proper discussions with your babysitter, you can help them navigate naptimes with your baby to ensure they get quality sleep while under their watch.

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