Adults can wear pampering in bed

Children's Sleep in Institutions - A Needs-Based Guide

Parent counseling I: Should parents prepare their children for sleeping in daycare?

In the weeks and months before childcare starts, many parents consider how they can make it easier for their child to get used to it. Will it be easier for him to sleep elsewhere if he can sleep alone at home? Should we stop him breastfeeding beforehand, get him into the habit of using a pacifier, establish a cuddly toy and get rid of the need to sleep? As understandable as these considerations are, in our experience it is best for parents not to change anything at home just because their little one is going to daycare. Who should that help too? In any case, the child will soon notice that many things are different in care than at home. There are new children and other adults, the food tastes different, the routines and daily routines are different, and bedtime is also different than at home. To their parents' surprise, small children in particular get along surprisingly well with such clear differences.

It is as if from now on they differentiated between two worlds: the world with the childminder or in the daycare, where there is cereal for breakfast, other children to play, the daily excursion to the park and the afternoon nap afterwards in the mattress dormitory. And the world at home, in which there is milk from mom's breast in the morning and in which, of course, you only sleep in the big bed. As long as children experience both of these worlds as safe places, they can usually adapt well to the circumstances here and there and thus amaze parents and caregivers alike: “How, Anton voluntarily lies down with his teddy bear at lunchtime? So he never does that with us! "

Parent counseling II: How care changes sleep at home

Some children do not notice any major changes at home after starting daycare: They fall asleep a little earlier, exhausted from playing and all the new impressions. But many babies and toddlers do not put up with the start of the day nursery that easily. They feel comfortable in the care and can be fed, put to sleep and soothed there - but when they are back home, they intensely get all the parental closeness that they have had to do without for a few hours. This has nothing to do with the fact that the children would “step backwards”; rather, the children's attachment system is now simply (and understandably) more activated. Parents should give this calm space and attention and offer their children a lot of closeness and support, especially in the evening and at night.

With regard to the nights, this means: With the start of care, many babies and toddlers wake up more often and want milk and closeness - as if they wanted to replenish their supplies for the hours of the day when they will be separated from their parents. Older crèche children often want a long afternoon nap in the big bed, with mom or dad staying with them from start to finish and holding them in their arms - as reassurance that they are really back and won't go away today.

For further reading:

Herbert Renz-Polster (2016): Sleep well, baby! The gentle way to quiet nights. Gräfe & Unzer Verlag GmbH


We accept the article with the kind permission of the editors Theory and Practice of Social Pedagogy (TPS), issue 2/2017, pp. 4-9.

Photo: Jürgen Hudelmayer

Further contributions by the author can be found here in our family handbook


Dr. med. Herbert Renz-Polster, born in 1960, is a pediatrician and scientist at the Mannheim Institute for Public Health at Heidelberg University.

discontinued on April 04, 2017