My little one has many different caregivers at bedtime depending on the night because of my work schedule. How can I make sure she sleeps well?
Having different caregivers at night is not necessarily a problem, and may help your child become more flexible about her sleep routine! What will help your child get the best sleep possible is for the caregivers to be consistent about your child’s bedtime, her routine, and how and where she falls asleep. It may help to write down your child’s bedtime and bedtime routine as a guide for all caregivers. For example, everyone could start by giving your child a bottle in the living room, giving her a bath, pajamas and diaper change in the room where she sleeps, two stories, then into bed! If your child is a toddler, you can create a bedtime schedule with pictures so that she can follow along as she goes through the routine each night. If your child falls asleep in different homes each night, you can use familiar objects to increase the consistency in the routine. For example, she can listen to the same two books at bedtime, or get the same lotion after bath. While it is not safe for infants (0-12 months old) to sleep with stuffed animals or other toys, an older child (12 months or older) may want to sleep with a familiar stuffed animal or blanket wherever she falls asleep for the night.
Also important is that final step – how and where does your child fall asleep? Ideally, each caregiver will put your child in her crib or bed and then leave the room, so that she develops the habit of falling asleep independently. This will make her less likely to need an adult when she wakes during the night, and will set her up for good sleep habits as she grows older.
About Dr. Sarah Honaker