4 Tips for Supporting Sleep with Other Caregivers
Updated: Jul 11
Leaving your child for the first time with a caregiver or babysitter can be super stressful! Will they sleep? Will they eat?! Will they cry the whole time? Let’s chat about supporting sleep with other caregivers!
As a first-time mom, I *tried* to prepare as best I could for my dad who was watching Jackson for me one evening. I left *detailed* notes for him. Did things go as planned?? No, no they did not.
He changed the pre-set white noise to the trickling water sound, didn’t put poor little Jackson in his sleep sack, AND LEFT THE DOOR OPEN!!! With the light on outside his door.
And he wondered why Jackson was having so much trouble sleeping that night!
I can try to set you up for success with my 4 tips for supporting sleep with other caregivers, but I can’t promise they’ll listen to you. Best of luck!
Leave notes for the caregiver to help support sleep.
Write the note. Go over your child’s routine in detail. Read the note with your child’s caregiver together. And then leave sticky notes behind. On bottles. Near formula. On jars or containers of food. Sticky notes are great visuals for grandparents especially! And learn from my mistakes – don’t forget to leave a sticky note on the sleep sack as well.
Also, show them how to use the monitor and sound machine. Have them practice using it in front of you. Then do it one more time, just to make sure that they’ll be able to do it solo during bedtime. Set them (and your baby) up for success!
Follow the routine for naps, bedtime, and meals.
Make sure your child’s caregiver understands that your child’s routine is a MAGICAL thing. Anytime you have a new caregiver come to your house, I recommend setting up a time where they can come and hang out while you’re still around so they can learn the routines and see exactly how you do them. I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Walk them through it. Make sure they can handle it and know that if they do stick to the routine, things will likely go very smoothly. Also make sure they are aware that if something’s “off” with the routine, your baby will likely struggle, and nobody wants to deal with that.
Try to have things prepped for sleep and laid out in advance.
Make things as easy as possible. I’m talking about not only having the clothes for the evening set out, but LAY THEM OUT on the changing table. In the right order for getting your baby dressed. Put the sleep sack down and open first, with the pajamas on next, and finally a diaper on top. Have the wipe container open and ready to go! If it’s a bath night, have towels set out and the soap and lotion out on the counter. Your caregiver shouldn’t have to look for these things. Keep them visible in within reach. Things like food that can’t be kept out should be clearly labeled so the caregiver can find them easily.
The more you can prep in advance, the easier it will be for both your baby and their caregiver.
Have a goodbye ritual with your child before you leave them with a caregiver.
If and when your child is old enough, having a ritual for when a babysitter or other caregiver comes over can be super helpful in creating excitement and easing any anxiety your child might have around you not being there for their evening routines. Maybe have a special activity planned for them to do just with the babysitter…or anytime grandma and grandpa babysit, it’s a pizza party night! Make it special and exciting. Then, have something special you do with or for your child too. We go in and say goodnight to our boys when we get home. I also leave a sticky note behind in Jackson’s room next to his bed so when he wakes up in the morning, he knows I was there. He loves it, and it’s just something special we do to make sure he knows that we’re home. He comes out of his room with a big smile on his face holding the note the next morning!
We’ve also got a little something for you to help with all your notes for other caregivers in our Raising Happy Sleepers group! It includes a video training and checklist so you can cover all the bases.
If your child is going to daycare for the first time, check out this blog!
Your child having solid sleep skills can be an incredibly freeing experience with benefits for everyone. Special time with other caregivers or babysitters allow them in sharing a piece of your child’s day that is normally reserved for you. The ability to leave your home with the confidence that *if the routines are followed* you don’t have to worry that your child won’t sleep while someone else is there caring for them, and you can enjoy a date night every once in a while! We hope these tips for supporting sleep with other caregivers serves you well and gives you peace of mind.