Top tips for managing sleep at nursery

Top tips for managing sleep at nursery

Published: 28th of September 2020

This month we have a guest blog from the lovely Jenna Wilson from Little Dreams Sleep Consulting with their top tips on managing sleep when starting or returning to nursery. I know this was something that I was anxious about when I returned to work and again after lockdown so I hope there are lots of helpful points here to help you.......

So we’re nearing the end of September – which, for lots of little ones, means the end of their first month at nursery or pre-school. Whether they’re returning after lockdown or going for the first time, starting nursery or pre-school is a big adjustment and can result in some very overtired little ones!

It is very normal for even the best sleepers to regress when they first start going to a day care setting. For those still napping, it can be tricky for them to switch off in a new environment where it may be noisier, or lighter than they’re used to – imagine trying to go to sleep in a room with lots of other people – it would take a little getting used to! The level of stimulation and constant ‘busyess’ can cause an excess of adrenaline by the end of the day, which can lead to some bedtime battles…

We’ve put together some of our top tips for helping your child to adjust to their new routine and environment to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible:

Ease them in gently:

Try to start them off slowly – maybe just a few days a week to begin with. Perhaps drop them off a little later than you plan to eventually or pick them up a little earlier. As parents we tend to take things slowly when we return to work after a prolonged time off (maternity leave for example), and it’s important we make the same allowances for our little ones. Making their days shorter initially will help them to adjust and curb any overtiredness whilst they settle in.

Earlier bedtime:

If naps are short at nursery (or non-existent in some rarer cases) ensure your little one goes to bed early – anything from 6pm is fine. This gives them the opportunity to catch up on any missed day time sleep and again – will help them to deal with the excitement of the day whilst they adjust to their new routine.

Talk to your nursery setting:

Take something familiar:

If your child has a favourite teddy or a comforter, let them take it to nursery so that they have something they usually associate with sleep. It’s always worth buying a ‘spare’ though in case one gets lost/left at nursery – we say this from experience!

Finally, even if your little one takes some time to settle into their new routine, try not to compensate for this by ‘helping’ too much when it comes to sleep. If they are usually able to put themselves to sleep then still allow them to do this. Ensure the nursery are on board with this too, and that new ‘sleep props’ aren’t introduced in an effort to get them to sleep.

If your child struggles to get themselves to sleep in general, or if they are experiencing a regression in their sleep following starting nursery which isn’t getting better after a month or so, then please do get in touch – we would love to help.  

Photo by Tara Raye on Unsplash

I help parents like you to get clear on what they want from their career

Parents who want to be challenged in their career, but still have headspace to be present with their kids. Here are 9 baby steps you could take this week, to clarify you career direction



I returned to work after maternity leave and felt a lack of confidence in my ability to juggle home and work life successfully. Jenny helped me to see that I was already doing what I feared I couldn’t do. Talking through my thoughts really helped me to relieve my worries and stress. I have also been working towards a small business venture. Jenny helped me to break down the steps needed to achieve my goals and motivated me with targets. Jenny is an excellent listener, who instantly made me feel comfortable. I would definitely recommend her services as a coach.

Amy Talbot, Funds Officer at University of the West of England

Trusted, safe, caring. Like a really excellent and progressive manager at my work....but for my life

A dad working as a Strategic Director

Jenny is calm, respectful and discerning. During my coaching sessions I felt that I was being coached in a safe space with a real person who was non-judgemental and had the intellect to understand how best to challenge me. She always showed immense care and emotional intelligence. I would not have started to move forward without her consistent and careful input.

Senior Female Higher Education Academic

Let's Get In Touch!

Book a FREE, non-obligatory call with me to find out more about coaching and how it can help to clarify your career direction.