Preparing your Baby for Group Care

0-6 Months

  • No co-sleeping let them sleep safely in their own crib preferably in their own room away from you with a monitor. I like a sound monitor and my owlet.  Cameras can't really tell you anything but the owlet lets you know if their O2 stats drop and that is the biggie in my book.  Not 100% but an extra safeguard.  Even if rolled into the hallway out of the line of sight really is the key, if you have a nook in your bedroom that will work too. Closer to 6 months the sleep gets interrupted and self-soothing and falling back to sleep is harder because of the shared space and interruptions (rolling over, snoring, getting up to go to the bathroom etc.).  They see mom and dad and want to play!!

  • No babywearing all day.  Festivals and out an about is one thing, to keep them happy all day is another. I can not mimic that coping mechanism for fussies at daycare. 
  • Start sleep training very early on.  The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight
  • No attachment parenting, it works if you stay with them all day and night. It causes stress on the child and caregiver if your kiddo is going into group care.  Please match your style of parenting to the type of care your child will be going into.  
  • Put them to bed fully awake NOT asleep after rocking them.
  • Gradually start NOT jumping every time they cry. As a child gets a few months old you can talk to them, letting them know you will be there in a second.  Sing and then go to them.  Especially if you know they have been fed, napped, clean etc.  I am not always able to get to them the second they cry or fuss. Teaching a child early on you will be there but you need to finish real quick what you are doing is a good thing.  Easier at this stage than trying to teach a full-blown toddler to wait. 
  • Start belly time very early on on the floor.  Get them out of the swing, and all these electronic devices that keep them entertained.  Let them learn to exist without flashy lights, an adult constantly entertaining them, holding, swinging them. 
  • Belly time early also prevents a flat head and helps them work their muscles and giving them the ability and space to start lifting themselves up and crawling.  A child can't do that in a bouncy, swing, or excersaucer. 
  • They will cry at first with belly time, pay attention, gradually work up to longer periods of floor time. If you wait, it gets harder for them.   
  • Finally just imagine what you would do and how you would prioritize care if you had multiple kids.  It is sorta like triage in an E.R.  

6-12 Months

  • All I mentioned above but even more of it.  This age babies learn what to do to get whatever reaction they want from their caregivers you can start seeing stark differences in their behavior between various caregivers. They have figured it out.  This is also the stage where separation anxiety kicks into high gear.  Google 'separation anxiety' and use those tips.  It is a hard phase, but if consistent you both will survive with your sanity and eardrums intact :)  If you can start daycare right before the 6 month mark it will make everyone's life easier. Even part-time mothers' day out programs are a huge help.

  • This is also an age where many parents go back to work and it is a hard age to transition.  You have a double whammy of them only knowing mom or dad and one on one care and separation anxiety starting.  My experience is that these are some of the hardest babies to get used to daycare.  Not impossible but a hard time to do it.  So parents just be prepared for a few tears, but they will be fine :)
  • Babies should be crawling and walking during this stage.  Again I can not emphasize it enough, almost 100% floor time during this age.  They will not learn unless they have to.  Get them out of the bouncy and excersaucer and provide a bit of tough love and let them work those muscles and learn to crawl, and start pulling up.  Those bouncy and excersaucers only work one main muscle, being on the floor teaches them to learn how to use all of them in harmony.
  • If you haven't already, start them on a regular eating schedule and at their highchair, don't let them graze or carry around a sippy cup all over.  Though some may say that is a preferred way to eat.  The realities of the daycare environment and time mgmt. state I have to eat at scheduled times. 
  • Keep on a nap/ and bedtime routine.  Falling asleep whenever they want is not ideal for good behavior and a happy baby.  Sleep deprivation is common in kids and makes them cranky the next day.  Babies and young toddlers should be sleeping 12 hrs at night and 1-2 long couple hr naps a day. 


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