With the holiday season quickly approaching, and all of the special events and visiting that families may partake in, it’s not unusual for parents to worry about how this will affect their child’s sleep. Have no worry though; our team at The Sleep Doula has some great sleep tips so your holidays will be filled with sweet dreams.
1. Allow some flexibility to your schedule to allow for holiday events and fun. You can usually get away with putting your child to bed an hour later without too much struggle. But, if you are staying at friend’s home late, consider putting your child down in a safe spot, like a pack ‘n play, at their regular bedtime. You can transfer them to your home when your evening is over.
2. If sleeping away from home bring some familiar sleep cues. Consistency is the key. Have some familiar things from home like a white noise machine, a special blanket or bear, a favourite book, or even a familiar sleep sack. These can provide your child with the comfort they need in a new location.
3. If you will be doing some time zone traveling, use the sun to help reset your child’s rhythm. For example, if you are heading out to Vancouver where there is a three hour time difference, your little one may be tired and ready for bed when it is just dinner time. Instead of letting them go to sleep, let them take a nap for 45-60 min and then wake them up. Get them out into the sunlight for an evening walk and have some play and then start your bedtime routine at the regular time but in Vancouver. The next morning, wake-up at your regular schedule and keep naps to the new Vancouver time. You will need to repeat the process the same way on your return home.
4. Try your best to keep your child on their regular nap schedule, even if it needs to be done on the go. If traveling a few hours away by car or train try to keep their naps consistent.
Have your lunch and then be on your way. This way, they get a nice afternoon nap that will help them if the night goes later than expected.
5. Allow for some extra settling time. With visions of sugar plums, extra treats, and the excitement of the season, allow for a little extra quiet time just before bed. You can choose to read a extra book or two or just have a quiet chat about their exciting day. Remember, settling may be more difficult, so be patient and know as the excitement passes all will return to normal.
6. Give the gift of sleep. I find the holidays can be a great time for encouraging healthy sleep habits if you will be spending most of the holidays at home. It helps you start the new year well rested. It’s great to have the additional support, as well as the extra person to give you a chance to catch a nap during the day if needed. You could even offer a sleep consult with The Sleep Doula as a great holiday gift.
Always keep in mind that things happen and sometimes you just have to go with the flow and worry about fixing things when the holidays have finished. Just remember, when the crazy schedule ends make sure you get back on track as soon as you can. Otherwise enjoy your holidays and may the New Year bring you sweet dreams with all the rest you and your family needs.