I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year! I haven’t always felt this way, but since becoming a Mom I love experiencing this time of year through the lens of my child. All the lights, the Christmas tree decorating, cooking baking, seeing family and dancing to Christmas songs – It’s such a joy to see the excitement in her eyes! Along with all the excitement also comes late nights, schedule changes and missed sleep… this is the not so fun part, BUT I am here to tell you, sleep is still possible even through all the craziness. Use these 4 tips to confidently manage sleep for your family this holiday season!
1. Maintain a consistent schedule leading up to the holidays
A well -rested child is able to adapt much easier to schedule changes than a child experiencing frequent interruptions in their sleep. In the week or 2 leading up to all the fun holiday festivities, do your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Keeping naps and bedtimes on track will ensure your child is well-rested and capable of handling the craziness coming up ahead!
2. Plan ahead for holiday gatherings
If you are going to be spending much of your day at the home of a friend or family call the host ahead of time to ask if they have an extra space where your child can sleep. I have found that most hosts are very accommodating and are more than willing to find a space. This is a great option if your child is still napping during the day or even for putting your little one down for bedtime!
Once you get the go-ahead, make sure to pack all the things your child will need for sleep – a pack-n-play (unless your host has one already), a comfort item, white noise, a baby monitor, and a sleep sack. Bringing these familiar items will help your child sleep more comfortably in an unfamiliar environment.
Side note: On special occasions like this, if your child needs more help getting to sleep than normal – that’s okay! Help your child to sleep as needed to ensure they are able to get the sleep they need.
3. Prioritize sleep when needed
Some children are more sensitive to missed sleep than others. Prioritizing sleep when needed will ensure your child is getting the sleep they need, while still enjoying all of the holiday fun! This can look different for every child:
If your child is still on multiple naps a day, prioritize as least one of those naps
If you have afternoon activities planned, then aim for a morning nap at home in their own sleep space
If you have a lot going on during the day, prioritize bedtime that night
If your child is no longer napping, prioritize a low-key morning with quiet time OR opt for an early bedtime
Your child is going to get the best quality sleep in their own space, so allowing at least one sleep period at home will help them get through the day! If you are not able to offer sleep at home, refer back to #2 by bringing sleep gear with you.
4. Have realistic expectations.
No matter how you swing it, managing sleep during the holidays is hard on everyone. There is so much going on – schedule changes, late nights, family fun, special events and activities, lots of socializing, excitement of presents and soo many sweet treats! Together, all of these things are going to inevitably disrupt sleep and that is okay! Remind yourself that this is only temporary. Do you your best to prepare ahead and adjust when needed. Once the holidays are over, prioritize getting back to your normal schedule and routines.
The memories you make with your family will far out way a few days of missed sleep. Enjoy the little moments and experience this season through the eyes of your little one :)