The holidays can sometimes be a stressful time for parents. In addition to the shopping, holiday preparations, events, etc, parents with younger children often think about how they will manage their child’s sleep with everything going on. Here are some basic tips and suggestions for the holiday madness!
Firstly though, we are living through a pandemic. Please follow the guidance on events and gatherings from the local health authorities in your region. It’s difficult to think about, but let’s all do our part to stay safe even if that means celebrating in your household only, in which case, these tips can be kept for the next holiday.
- Try to start the day by having one or two solid naps at home. Often family gatherings start later in the day so this gives you a good opportunity to get some restorative sleep for your child early on to compensate for the rest of the day when naps might be off (or let’s face it, nonexistent).
- Just to be safe, take your nap and bedtime basics with you. You never know how the day will pan out and it’s better to be prepared that you may need to squeeze in a nap somewhere other than home. Your nap and bedtime basics can include the sound machine, sleep sack, pacifier, comfortable clothing, anything that will help cue your child that it’s nap time. You can even do a nap on the go – travel to your destination during nap time. A short nap is better than no nap.
- If you need to do a nap at a friend or relatives place, spend some extra time with your child in the space where they will be sleeping away from the chaos and commotion. The extra stimulation from a new environment might mean your child needs some extra time to wind down in a quiet space.
- It may take your child a longer time to fall asleep for their nap due to the added environmental stimulation (people, lights, noise, etc). If you need to (and if it’s going to be a later night), consider slightly widening the wake window before putting your child down for a nap.
- If you will be out until bedtime, take all of your bedtime basics with you so you can do a mini bedtime routine prior to placing your child into the car for the ride home. Please transfer your child to a safe sleeping space as soon as you get home. Your child may wake up when being transferred from the car seat to their safe sleep space. Hold and rock them if you need to and place them into their safe sleep space for the night.
- The biggest tip for the holidays is to do your best but be FLEXIBLE! Holidays are not an everyday thing and neither are the events, places and people you get to see and spend time with. Remember that this is just one day and those memories with family and friends are what is important and what will be remembered.
Take lots of pictures, make lots of memories, and if you already have an independent sleeper, sleep will be back on track tomorrow.
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant, Founder of Gentle Dreams
Disclaimer: The information/advice provided in any form of communication by Gentle Dreams is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice is for informational purposes only and is intended for use with common sleep issues that are unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the health and welfare of your child.