Working through SleepWell Sleep Planning helps your children develop strong, independent sleep skills. One of the many benefits of having children who are great sleepers is that they can go to sleep for anyone, anywhere. Just as your child learned how to sleep during SleepWell Sleep Planning, with a little practice and consistency, Grandma, Auntie, the neighbour or a babysitter can tuck them in, say good night and sleep will follow. But before you head out for that much needed date night, don’t forget to brief your babysitter on your child’s sleep plan and bedtime routine.

Safe Baby Sleep

  • • Babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep.
  • • Babies should sleep in their cribs for naptime and bedtime. A boring crib is a safe crib. It should be free of pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, and bumper pads because they pose a suffocation hazard.
  • • Babies should not sleep with anyone else so don’t fall asleep with the baby in a bed, couch or chair.
  • • Babies shouldn’t be left to sleep for long, unsupervised periods of time in swings or car seats.

How Babies Sleep

  • • Everyone sleeps best in a room that is very dark and slightly cool. If the child is used to sleeping with white noise, be sure to turn it on prior to naps and bedtime.
  • • Babies can be noisy sleepers. A baby isn’t necessarily awake just because she is making noise. Always give a baby a few minutes to wake up before picking her up and waking her from sleep. Oftentimes babies will make some noises as they transition from one sleep cycle to the next. If the baby is really upset or crying intensely, it’s okay to check on her quickly.
  • • Carry out the baby’s bedtime or naptime routine prior to laying her down to sleep. This cues the baby that sleep is just around the corner. If the baby takes some time to fall asleep or wakes during the night, carry out the method used in the child’s Sleep Plan.
  • • In the event that the baby needs a diaper change in the night, do so as quickly and quietly as possible. Keep the lighting dim and avoid talking, playing or giving the baby a signal that sleep time is over.

Toddler Sleep

  • • Toddlers are notorious for testing the boundaries with a new caregiver, especially the babysitter. It’s best to stick with the plan the parents have given you. If any extra requests are met you can expect that the child will continue to make more requests.
  • • Stick with the bedtime set out by the parents. When children become overtired it becomes more difficult for them to fall and stay asleep.
  • • Give a cue that bedtime is just around the corner by following the family’s bedtime routine. This will help the children settle down and prepare for sleep.
  • • Be sure that everyone’s needs are met before bedtime. If the children have gone to the bathroom and had their drink of water they will not need to use these as stall tactics once they’re tucked in.
  • • Follow the final steps of the bedtime routine that the children are used to. Most SleepWell families end the day with a book and a song. Say good night and leave the room.
  • • If the child has difficulty falling asleep, carry out the method outlined in the sleep plan.

By sharing these sleep tips with the babysitter and making sure the babysitter knows your kids’ bedtime sleep routine you will be sure to wake up to well rested, happy kids in the morning.


Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at alysa@sleepwellbaby.ca.

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