Heading into the holiday season can be stressful for parents of young children and babies. Suddenly routines and consistent schedules seem next to impossible, particularly during visits from family and holiday travel. Finding out how to keep your children well-rested during the busy festivities may be at the top of your Christmas list! Here is a list of things to keep in mind.
*Plan ahead and stay consistent*
Keep a consistent awake/sleep routine, even during the holiday melee. If your bedtime routine is bath, pjs, feed, cuddles, then continue doing that, no matter where your child is laying their head. Try to time your activities out of home around nap time or bedtime by keeping track of your child’s routine so you know when is the best time to leave home. Try to work with the 80/20 rule. This means that 80 percent of the time you are keeping your child’s naps and bedtime on schedule and 20 percent of the time you deviate a little because of circumstances (like holiday parties!).
*Slow down before bedtime*
Even though bedtime and naptime may be a bit out of routine during the holidays, I recommend that you offer your child some quiet time, away from the excitement before attempting to put them to bed. That may mean 30 minutes before bedtime or naptime, they do a quiet activity in their room, read a book or talk about their day. This will help them wind down and prepare themself for bed. View this time as an investment; it may save you an hour of a full blown meltdown.
*Keep it comfy and Familiar*
Travelling or spending a couple days by a family member? Pack handy travel items like a white noise machine and black out blinds that will help your little one feel comfortable, and will recreate their sleep environment back home. Bring lovies and blankies that your baby is accustomed to, comfy pjs and products for sleeping on-the-go. A pack and play can make a huge difference in getting your baby comfy for sleep.
Schedule your visitors and put your baby first! The most difficult part of holiday visitors is that everyone wants the babies or young children to stay up to see them when they should be sleeping. Try to plan ahead by having visitors come over after at least the first nap, as it is typically the most important. That way, if the rest of the day doesn’t go exactly as planned, your visitors can still experience your happy (rested) baby. For late visitors, explain that you understand how limited their time is with your child, but their sleep needs are a priority for your family.
Holidays are for celebrating and spending time with those you love. No matter what your plans, one tip to remember is that you want to enjoy the time together. Squeeze in some naps, establish a great family bedtime routine, celebrate and create memories! The gift of sleep is my gift to you, enjoy!