Over the next few weeks (if not already!) our lives will become busy with all types of holiday cheer – parties, gift giving and receiving, special events, and visits with family. Whether you are traveling to see loved ones, or have friends and family staying with you, in all likelihood you and baby’s routines are anything but normal this time of year.
So how do you survive and actually enjoy all the fun with a little one? Follow these tips for getting some good rest while also participating in all of the fun.
- Be Flexible, But Don’t Forget the Routine
Babies and toddlers (and heck, me too!) thrive when they can rely on a regular routine. While we want to be flexible and give Grandma plenty of time to love on her grandkids, make sure to keep a close eye on your child’s sleep cues and get them to bed before they are overtired.
If you miss that morning or afternoon nap, build in some time for a later “cat nap” around 3/3:30. But keep it brief, about 30 minutes. If that’s not an option, shoot for an earlier bedtime.
If you do choose to have some late nights for those extra special events, make sure to keep the majority of the nights as close to normal as possible. Reassure Grandma that with a regular bedtime and good rest little Suzy and Bill will be happier babies for the remainder of the visit.
- So Much Good Food…Enjoy Responsibly
We have some many delicious treats to choose but make sure you and your children enjoy responsibly. Overindulging can lead to upset stomachs which can cause sleep disruptions. (I’ve not followed this rule and spent the night cleaning up M&M’s from the bathroom floor…) Allow them to sample all joys of the season that they might not usually, but continue to offer the healthy balanced meals that you regularly enjoy.
- Spend Some Active Time Outside
But Baby it’s Cold Out There! I’m as adverse to the cold weather as one can get, but studies show that physical activity and exposure to natural light is good for sleep and for our moods. Natural lighting helps to set our bodies sleep rhythms which provide for the quality of sleep we all need. And of course, staying active is a good way to stave off unwanted calories gained from all of those sweet treats!
- Plan for Travel – It Will Disrupt Sleep
Staying somewhere new and taking long trips will disrupt sleep. And just knowing that is half the battle. A little bit of patience with yourself and baby will go a long way. If you are staying somewhere other than home make sure to bring along some of baby’s favorite blankets, books, and other items that are important to their nighttime routine. Being in a new place can be scary and overwhelming for children, so having the comforts of home can make them feel safe and secure (and make putting them down a bit easier).
If you are traveling to across time zones, adjust to the local time both when you start your vacation and when you get back home. Do this the day you arrive, or if you all need a little recovery from a long trip, do it the next day.
- Readjust When You Get “Home”
Even with your good plan of attack for this holiday season, chances are that you will experience some backsliding in sleep and routine. And that’s okay! Get back to your normal schedule and routine when you arrive home, or when visitors leave, to quickly get your child back on track and sleeping great.