It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of October and Halloween is right around the corner! Where has this year gone?! Late nights like Halloween can bring a bit of anxiety and worry for some parents as they anticipate cranky, tired kids that is sure to follow after their night of candy collecting. I am here to tell you sleep is still possible! I always encourage parents to get out and enjoy special celebrations, even if sleep gets slightly off for a day or two. It's worth it to experience the joy of these special moments through the eyes of your little one.
If you are planning to be out late trick or treating this year, follow these tips on how to handle your child's sleep with confidence this year!
Newborns (0-4 months):
If you have a newborn, you do not need to change a thing! Newborns are not able to handle awake time more than 45-60 minutes. Your goal will be to keep awake windows to 45-60 minutes throughout the day and for the evening of Halloween, plan for contact sleep or stroller sleep while you are out and about. Once you are home, do a quick bedtime routine and work on getting your little one down for the night (or until their next feeding).
Since you know you will have a late night, whether your child is on 1, 2, or 3 naps, you will want to protect the naps the day of Halloween. Getting in that day sleep will be important! Stick to your normal nap time schedule and maybe even let your child sleep 20-30 minutes longer than usual for one or all naps. The night following Halloween, plan to do an early dinner and have your child in bed at least 30-60 minutes earlier to help make up for lost sleep from the night before.
For older kids, no longer napping, you will want to offer at least 30 – 60 minutes of quiet time in the afternoon. Keep it low stimulating and avoid electronics or screen time. The goal is low-stimulating, quiet activities to allow your child some rest to help power them through an eventful evening. The night following Halloween, plan to do an early dinner and have your child in bed at least 30-60 minutes earlier to help make up for lost sleep from the night before.
Other ways to help:
Keep your daytime activities low-key.
Try not to plan too many over stimulating day activities. Save the super exciting stuff for the evening, so they'll have more energy to enjoy it!
Shorten your bedtime routine.
Bedtime routines are a huge cue for sleep, so we don’t want to skip it completely. Instead, do a quick bedtime routine when you get home. Skip the bath or do a quick wipe down, put on pj's and get them into bed.
Move bedtime earlier for 1-2 days after (or longer).
An early bedtime will be the best way to help your child recover from overtiredness after a night of fun. Plan to shift bedtime 30 to 60 minutes earlier on Tuesday night. If your child seems especially tired, you may need to do an early bedtime for 2-3 days until they come down off that Halloween sugar high.
Remember, an already independent sleeper will not be as affected by one night of schedule changes. Follow these tips and go straight back into your normal routine on Tuesday (with the exception of an early bedtime).
If you are currently struggling with your child’s sleep and getting into a healthy sleep routine, I would love to chat! Click here to schedule a free 15-minute Introductory Call. Let’s get your family sleeping well, so you can tackle schedule changes, like Halloween, with confidence!