Managing Your Baby or Toddler’s Sleep During Holidays
For parents, the holidays can bring a unique set of challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining their little one’s sleep patterns. The hustle and bustle of travel, family gatherings, and late-night festivities can easily disrupt their established sleep routines, leading to cranky behavior, interrupted nights, and increased stress for both parents and children
Embrace Flexibility and Adaptability
First and foremost, remember that the holidays are meant to be enjoyable, not stressful. While maintaining consistency in your baby’s sleep routine is crucial, don’t hesitate to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.
There will likely be times when you need to adjust your child’s sleep schedule to accommodate family gatherings or travel arrangements.
If you don’t already use carriers, car naps, or stroller naps to help your toddler and baby get enough daytime sleep, adding these in may be necessary to balance travel and activities. They can also be the trick to limiting overtiredness. Don’t be afraid to add these in (sparingly) if needed.
You may also find that your child or baby needs extra comfort before sleep. This is typically due to being overtired or stimulated. Addressing these needs is important to help them feel secure.
Don’t be afraid to bend the rules a bit. You can gradually transition back to your usual routine once the holidays are over.
Setting Realistic Expectations
It’s important to set realistic expectations for your baby and toddler’s sleep during the holidays.
Acknowledge that there will be times when your baby or toddler might be overtired or cranky, especially after traveling and being around a lot of people. It’s perfectly normal, as even adults can experience similar effects during the holidays.
Maintain Consistency When Possible
Despite the flexibility, it’s still important to maintain some consistency in certain aspects of your baby’s sleep routine. Aim to keep their bedtime and wake-up times consistent, even if you need to make slight adjustments to accommodate holiday plans. For babies, the first nap of the day is usually easier to maintain as it’s early enough to plan around.
Nap times are a great time to travel. Plan car rides and flights around normal sleep times (if possible and realistic).
Even a small amount of quiet time can help your baby or toddler regulate and feel less stimulated
Communicating with Loved Ones
Open communication with family and friends about your baby’s sleep habits can help prevent unnecessary stress. Inform them about suitable visiting times and explain any potential nighttime wakings.
If staying at someone else’s home, clearly communicate your needs and expectations regarding sleeping arrangements.
Guiding Your Child Through the Holiday Buzz
Involve your older children in the holiday plans, explaining the schedule for the day, including bedtime routines. Allow for transition time between activities to help them calm down before sleep.
Confidence in Your Parenting Choices
You may face unsolicited parenting advice during the holidays. we all have “that one family member” who wants to passively (or not) comment on how we parent. Politely acknowledge their suggestions and stick to your parenting approach. A simple “Thank you for your suggestion, but we’re currently following a sleep plan that works well for our family” can usually do the trick.
Hold true to how you’re parenting. Remember, you know your child best.
Saying No When Needed
Sometimes saying “no” is exactly what is needed. Prioritize your child’s well-being and don’t hesitate to say no to gatherings or outings if your baby or toddler needs a break. It’s perfectly acceptable to excuse yourself and your child if necessary.
Incorporate self-care into your holiday routine. Step outside for fresh air, go for a walk, or simply enjoy a quiet moment. These small acts of self-care can help you recharge and navigate the holiday season with ease.
Remember, the holidays are about creating memories and enjoying time with loved ones. Embrace the flexibility, communicate openly, and prioritize your child’s well-being. With a little planning and understanding, you can navigate the holiday cheer while ensuring your baby or toddler gets the rest they need.
* If you need some help adjusting your baby’s sleep after the whirlwind of the holidays, we’re happy to help!
Check out how to use ANCHOR NAPS to help reset sleep.
Birthing Stone is a Portland, Oregon-based agency that offers professional infant care during the postpartum period, along with expert, in-home baby sleep training.
We believe that every family deserves to feel nurtured and informed during this transformational time.
Our services are offered throughout the nation and encompass postpartum care, newborn care specialists, and in-home infant sleep coaching.
We happily travel to and with families, as well as offer 24-hour live-in care.