The festive season is upon us! Christmas is the time of year when our homes come alive with bright lights, new toys and and all sorts of exciting noises. It is a time of year when routines often go out the window, which can wreak havoc on your child’s sleep schedule. Travelling, visiting friends and family and Christmas shopping can result in missed naps and late bedtimes which results in an over-tired and cranky baby or toddler.
Below are our top 10 tips for managing your child's holiday sleep schedule. This way you can still have a good time this holiday season while preserving your child’s sleep schedule
1. Stick to the normal nap schedule and bedtime routine as best you can. Rather than completely miss a nap put them down a little bit later and don’t let them sleep for as long so as not to delay bedtime.
2. Bring familiar sleep-time toys and bedding from home. Don't forget to pack your little one's dummy, comforter, familiar bedding, a few favourite bedtime storybooks etc. This will help your little one transition to an unfamiliar setting.
3. Do your normal bedtime and nap routines. Most babies and toddlers will put up a fuss if you put them down to sleep in a new and unfamiliar setting so as a way to settle them stick to your at home sleep time routine.
4. If you know your child is going to have to miss a nap due to your holiday plans, try to make sure he/she gets the first nap at home. The first nap is the most restorative so it will minimise the fallout of missing the next nap.
5. During the festive period get into the habit of turning off the tree lights and quietening the environment before starting your bedtime routine with your child. This will help signal that it is time to start settling down for sleep.
6. Try not to delay bedtime as this will result in over tiredness, which then makes it more difficult for your little one to fall asleep.
7. Be being extra vigilant of your child’s signs of tiredness. When your child shows signs of tiredness, it is best to have your child in a quiet environment in preparation for sleep. Some signs to watch for are, rubbing face, rubbing eyes, losing interest in what is going on, yawning and whining.
8. Plan Christmas shopping around naps and try to avoid the busiest part of the day. If possible shop online or get a babysitter.
9. Ensure your little one has healthy meals and avoid sugary treats.
10. If all else fails, breathe, relax and try and enjoy the holidays knowing that you can start afresh in January.