Tips On Enjoying & Surviving The Holidays with your Baby
You’ve dodged the crowds at the mall, frozen your fingers while putting out the lights (darn it, you knew you should have done it that weekend when the weather was warmer!) the gifts are wrapped and the tree is trimmed. You sit down in front of the tree with your glass of Baileys and survey the Christmas scene, perfect! Surviving the holidays has been an important part of your planning for weeks. Why then is there still a nagging doubt in your mind that all will run as smoothly as possible?
If you have young children you may recognize this feeling. Especially if you have spent the last few weeks or months trying to get your baby or toddler into a predictable sleep routine. The holidays are a wonderful but sometimes exhausting time of year even for grown ups. Add into the mix late nights, traveling from friends to family and the sheer excitement of Christmas and even the most consistent sleepers schedule can be sent into a tailspin.
Some children are more adaptable than others and get back into their routines without missing a beat. Parents also handle change in different ways. Some will stick rigidly to the routine so they can avoid over tired children while others will throw caution to the wind and decide to deal with the consequences later.
Whichever camp you fall into, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
- If your child is good sleeper at home the odds are he will sleep well when you travel. If your child has recently started sleeping through the night I would recommend delaying any unnecessary trips or over night stays. Maybe consider having the holidays at your house this year! If this isn’t possible then try not to backslide while you are away. If your child’s previous sleep crutch was nursing to sleep then try other ways of soothing your little one while you are away.
- I would recommend you try to keep your child in their own sleep space as recommended by Health Canada rather than co sleeping but if this isn’t possible or you have made an informed choice to bed share then remind them of your sleep rules. Let them know the situation is temporary and that as soon as you are home they will go back to sleeping in their own bed and/or room.
- Always bring along your child’s lovey (for children over 12 months of age) and pack a night-light. You want this new space to be as similar as possible to home. I always recommend bringing something to black out the windows as this will really help with naps. Even garbage bags stuck to the window will work at a pinch.
- If possible, try to have your child sleep in the same place every night while you are away. Pick one base camp and visit other family members from there. Better still have them come to you!
- Try to ensure your child gets enough rest. We have all had to deal with the reality of an over tired baby or toddler. A toddler can manage for a few days without a nap but a baby cannot. If necessary try an emergency nap in the car or stroller. Motion sleep isn’t as restorative but its better than no sleep!
- If you are traveling through time zones, switch to the local time the first full day you are there. If your child gets up at 7.30am in Oakville get him up at 7.30am in your new time zone. If you let your child sleep in or nap later it will have a knock on effect with the rest of day. Don’t worry it can take a couple of days to adjust.
- When you get home make it a priority to get back to normal as soon as possible. If your child is old enough let them know what they should expect when they get home.
Most importantly relax and have a wonderful time with family and friends.
If you are interested in talking to me personally about your child’s sleep concerns call me for a FREE 15 minute consultation, 905 599 0040
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