Heading into the holiday season can be stressful for parents of young children and babies. Suddenly routine and consistent sleep schedules seem next to impossible and finding out how to keep your baby well-rested during the busy festivities is at the top of your Christmas list.
There are steps you can take to help you and your family find better sleep this holiday season. My 12 Days of Holiday Sleep Tips will give the gift of sleep to your little one, and a few extra hours of eggnog and cheers for mom and dad as well.
Holiday Sleep Tip – Day 1: Today’s tip is a simple one, but an important one: Keep a consistent bedtime routine, even during the holidays. If you read a book, or sing a song as part of your process, continue doing that, no matter where your child is laying their head.
Holiday Sleep Tip – Day 2: Thinking about sleep training or changing up your bedtime process? The holidays are not the best time to start! Consistency is key when making these changes and it’s best to wait until the new year to begin.
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 3: Even though bedtime and naptime may be a bit out of routine because of house guests, family gatherings or events, I recommend that you offer your toddler some quiet time, away from the excitement at some point during the day. Maybe that means 30 minutes before bedtime they play a quiet activity in their bedroom, or in the afternoon you sit and read a book for a few moments. This will help your toddler avoid a meltdown – the holidays can be overwhelming for them!
Holiday Sleep Tip – Day 4: The number 1 tip I can give you for sound holiday sleep? Say no. Sometimes it’s hard, but you don’t have to attend every party, get together or event. Sometimes the best thing for you and your family is to get to bed at a good time. You’ll be thankful the next day!
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 5: Naps don’t need to be optional during the holidays. Keep the same nap routine that you usually have (or add an extra one as needed!)
Holiday Sleep Tip – Day 6: There is going to be a lot of hustle and bustle during the holidays, so when you can, go back to early bedtimes. After all the excitement is done, early bedtimes will help everyone get back on track for better sleep in the New Year as well.
Holiday Sleep Tip – Day 7: Travelling over the holidays? Don’t let bad sleep get in the way of your festive fun. Pack handy travel items like a white noise machine and black out blinds that will help you create a welcoming sleep environment for your little ones no matter where you are.
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 8: Try to time out travel around nap time or bedtime. If you are leaving around bedtime, put the kids in pjs and plan to transition them to a safe sleep space upon arrival. After a long drive, they may need extra nap time the next day!
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 9: Whether you are going on a long trip to visit family, or just a few blocks over to grandma’s house for Christmas night, you’ll want to pack a few favourite travel products for sleeping on-the-go.
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 10: We know how exciting and fun this time of year is, but don’t forget the 80/20 rules. What is that? It means that 80% of the time you are keeping your child’s bedtime and naps on schedule and 20% of the time you deviate a little because of circumstances (like holiday parties!). Don’t overuse the 80/20 rules and always go back to consistency as soon as you can.
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 11: Are you noticing that the holidays have changed your once-great sleeper into an overtired kiddo? Look to going back to some basics like consistency and an earlier bedtime, no matter their age. Sometimes we have to help our children re-establish their good sleep habits after a busy time!
Holiday Sleep Tip - Day 12: 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 together and celebrate all that this time of year has to offer!
I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.