Many families are sleep coaching while their children are in another person’s care for some of the day or even night. Families and childcare providers should be working together at this time so that the child has consistent messages surrounding sleep.
I have put together some tips for childcare providers (whether daycares, nannies, babysitters or family members) so that they can support the parents while sleep coaching is happening.
If you are a parent getting ready to sleep coach, make sure you share this with others who will be taking care of your children and feel free to add your own tips to the comments on the bottom!
Find out what information the parents need from you. Parents beginning sleep coaching will probably be keeping some sort of log so they can see trends and improvements in their child’s sleep. They will still need this information when the child is in your care, so make sure you know exactly what information they need.
If you are an in home nanny or babysitter and the parents are meeting with a sleep specialist, see if they would like you at the meeting so you can hear first hand what will be going on. Make sure you ask to see notes or just have some time to chat with the parents so you know exactly what is expected of you (ie – will you be taking on some of the training when you are taking care of the child, or will you just do what you have always done?)
Parents may ask you to not use existing crutches, which could make it harder to get the baby down for sleep. Remember that in the long term, things will get better. Also, the parents may be short on patience since they also will be giving up crutches, so have extra patience for them too!
Give Extra (if you can)
If you are a nanny or in home babysitter, realize that this is not an easy time for your bosses. While the end result is worth it, in the short term, the parents may be getting even less sleep than they were when baby was not sleeping!! See if there is anything else you could do for them during this time. Maybe they can use a date night?!
Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
If parents ask you for advice or your opinion, by all means, feel free to be honest and give it to them. But remember that the parents have possibly gone to a sleep specialist or chosen a method based on other factors and they believe they are doing the right thing for their child and their family. If you give unsolicited advice, you may make them second guess themselves, making the process less likely to be successful. Consistency is the most important factor in sleep training, so if parents are always switching methods or doing different things, sleep coaching will not be successful.
Do you have other tips? Feel free to comment below and share them. And if you are a childcare provider that has assisted a family with sleep coaching, feel free to comment on how your situation went.