The holiday season is full of sleep-busters: long travel, parties, sugar cookies, visiting relatives, and holiday TV specials. It’s not hard to see how your child’s sleep can be thrown off. And while you might not mind the disruption to your sleep now, I can promise you come January 2nd, the bedtime battles and middle of the night bedside visits will be wearing on you! Here are 5 tips from to help keep your children well-rested this holiday season.
Keep to your schedule whenever possible
A well-rest child falls asleep easier, sleeps more soundly, wakes less often, and sleeps later into the morning. They are also able to handle unavoidable disruptions to their schedule. If a party starts right in the middle of naptime, kindly let the host know you’ll be a little late. Your child will have more fun and be more enjoyable if she has that needed nap! If your child takes two naps a day or more, making it tough to schedule in the festivities, I’d recommend protecting the morning nap which tends to be the most restorative. Plan to be home for the first nap and depending on how well the afternoon nap was on the go, you’ll likely need to protect bedtime as well.
Bring your child’s sleep environment with you
If you are traveling overnight or will be away during naptime, help your child sleep better by making the spot feel more like home. Don’t forget your child’s lovey or stuffed animal, a favorite book to read, or anything else you need to replicate your normal winding down routine. Bring a white noise machine (or download an app on your phone) to drown out the party cheer and black trash bags or extra blankets to tape over the windows to keep out the sunlight. Remember that a cave-like room does a lot to protect and promote sleep. Keep it cool, dark, and quiet!
Limit TV time
While a later bedtime once in the while might not be a problem, consistently letting your child stay up past his bedtime to watch the holiday TV specials can cause overtiredness. Instead, pick one special night to let your child stay up. Better yet, tape the shows and watch them the next. Try to end TV watching at least an hour before bed. Watching TV right before bed makes it harder for kids’ brains to wind down and get sleepy, even if it’s a jolly show like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Studies show that every hour increase in evening TV viewing is associated with a significant rise in sleep problems.
Get back to basics
If you slacked on bedtime during the holidays, you’ll need to be extra consistent after the holidays are over. Review your sleep rules with your kids again and then stick to them by setting limits. Remember, good sleep is just as important as good food. It helps your child grow and learn.
If New Year’s Day rolls around and you find yourself struggling, you know where you can find help with one of my customized packages.