The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner. With all the excitement and events it can be tricky to keep our little ones well rested and prevent meltdowns with all the change to the normal routine. Here are some tips to get your through the holiday season:
- Don’t be a slave to your routine.
Let’s face it, kids thrive on routine. That being said, if you haven’t already got a regular routine going, now is not the time to start sleep training. With all the excitement, events and family visiting, it’s difficult to adhere to exactly the same schedule every day. So don’t beat yourself up. Try and maintain your child’s daily routine with regards to nap timing as much as you can. If your child misses a much needed nap, you’re more likely to deal with temper tantrums and frustration later in the day. You can prep your toddler by giving them the heads up the day before and telling them about the exciting things that are going to be happening.
- Don’t let bedtimes get too late.
Often one of the challenges with dinner parties around the holidays is that bedtimes often get pushed back late. So whether you are staying overnight or not, be prepared to get your child ready for bed around the same time that they would normally go down. Make sure that your hosts can give you some space to prep your child for bed, and go through your normal bedtime routine. Of course you may be doing your entire bedtime routine before loading the kids in the car for the drive home, or you may be putting them down in a guest room until you are ready to leave. Either way, ensure that you have brought all the comfort items that your child usually has to sleep comfortably and you take the time to ensure their needs are met for a successful sleep over.
- Don’t over-schedule or be afraid to say no.
Generally for those travelling far from home to visit family, there are a lot of people to see, which often comes with a lot of pressure to spend “enough” time with everyone. Be realistic, travelling with kids isn’t always simple, and kids need a break from all the interaction with new people and people they don’t see that often. If possible, try and arrange it so most family can be in one place and you have less travel to commit to. Also don’t be afraid to say no, when you just can’t do it. It’s not fun visiting with family when everyone is overly tired and in a bad mood!
- Travel time.
Depending on how far/long you’re travelling, you may be able to schedule your travel time during nap time. While it is junk sleep, it is better than no sleep, so at least you kids can get some nap time in if you have a full day of events planned.
- Creating a good sleep environment.
If you’re staying overnight, make sure that the place your kids are going to be sleeping is conducive to sleep. So if you are bringing a play pen for your baby or toddler, bring familiar sheets, blankets and/or sleep sacs, story book(s) and lovey, if you child uses one. Be sure that it is dark enough when you are putting your kids down for a nap during the day. If you think it’s going to be too light, remember that garbage bags and duct tape are a cheap and effective solution anywhere. If you are concerned it will be too loud where you are staying, or that the noises in the new room you’ll be staying in will be bothersome, don’t forget to bring your white noise machine, especially if this is something that your child uses on a nightly basis.
- Room sharing.
Chances are you may be room sharing with your young children. People worry about how well their child will sleep if they are room sharing over the holidays. Don’t sweat it, but you can keep your pajamas outside the room so that you can get ready in the washroom while your child is still sleeping later in the evening when you are finally ready to retire for the night. This way you won’t be turning on lights or shuffling around in the room increasing the chances of waking your sleeping kids.
- Have Fun!
This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year! So make sure you’re having a good time and don’t worry too much if you do get off your child’s normal routine. There will be plenty of time to get back to normal when the holidays are over, and most kids get back on track in a few days to about a week.