During the holiday season, our little one’s sleep can often be compromised due to travel, vacation, family get-togethers or late-night guests. But that doesn’t mean sleep has to take a back seat, nor that you can’t get it back on track once the holidays are over. Here are my top 5 tips for staying on track when it comes to sleep and, if it's too late for that, my 5 tips to get sleep back on track when the holidays are over.
Staying on Track with Your Sleep Routine
- Write-off travel days. Don’t stress about travel days and expect your routine to be off. If you can plan around sleep or leave for a road trip close to a nap time, great. If not, maybe naps are missed or maybe bedtime will be late. Take travel days for what they are – a long day.
- Pack the Essentials. If staying away from home, be sure to pack and bring all the sleep essentials your child is used to having when it comes time to sleep. Pack their sound machine, pack a garbage bag if you need to darken a room. Keep everything in one spot in your luggage, making it convenient to find if arriving late at night.
- Protect Sleep as Much as You Can. Ultimately, your normal sleep schedule and routine may be off the norm, but try to protect at least one nap if your baby is used to multiple and always default to an earlier bedtime.
- Early Bedtime When You Can. It may be hard, depending where you’re celebrating the holidays, but an earlier bedtime can keep your child rested, especially if naps are short or missed. If you’re out at dinner, bring a pack and play and try putting your child down there and make the transfer when it’s time to leave.
- Reality Check Your Plans. Often the holidays can mean over scheduling, especially when you have a new baby to show-off. Be realistic with your plans: Can you do everything? Don't be afraid to say no when it's just too much.
Getting Your Sleep Routine Back on Track
- Clear your schedule. After the busy holidays, make sure to carve out some time to allow you and your child to fall back into routine.
- Early Bedtime. Again, a must when it comes to protecting sleep and getting things back on track. An early bedtime will help deposit sleep back into your little one’s bank and get them well-rested again.
- Nap Schedule. Perhaps naps took a back seat or happened on-the-go, in grandma’s arms, etc. Whatever the case, it’s important to bring back your child’s normal nap routine and schedule once the fun is over.
- They May Need Some Help. Your child may need a little guidance to get back to their old sleeping ways and into their routine. It’s not uncommon for parents to have to use a little sleep training to get back to independence.
- Consistency! This is always my #1 when it comes to getting your sleep routine back. Consistency is key and more than anything, I’m sure you’ll all welcome the normal routine after a busy holiday season!
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Liane Mamo is certified infant and toddler sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site Ottawa and mom to a superhero-obsessed 5 year old. Liane is committed to providing families with emotional and educational support to help their baby or child with their sleep needs. Find Liane at her website or on Facebook and Twitter for sleep tips, articles and more.