It’s almost February in Louisiana. That can only mean one thing. It’s Mardi Gras season, y’all! Let the good times roll and let them eat king cake, am i right?! What if you have small kids though? Small kids who need sleep and you know are going to be a terror when they are out all day at the parades. Let’s talk about 3 things you can do to help make your Mardi Gras a good one and not full of sleepy tantrums.
#1 TRY TO PLAN YOUR PARADES AROUND NAPS
Now I know this one is tricky because not only do you have to plan the parade start time, but you have to factor in the time you’ll spend getting there early to get a spot and the time to get back to the car after the parade. If you can manage it, try to plan your parade schedule around your baby’s naps so that they can get as much sleep in as possible.
Another option is to try to go to mostly parades that aren’t going to be so overly crowded. I’m looking at you Endymion and Bacchus. Going to less crowded parades means that you might be able to send someone to secure a good viewing spot for your family and be able to get a nap in before the parade starts. Sometimes you can still get small naps in place of their regular naps.
At the very least, try to get in one good, solid nap each day that you’ll be out. Optimally this would be in a sleep space as close to home as possible. My daughter takes great naps in the car though. If she would ever be fighting a nap, we’d just put her in the car and drive around, and she’d be out.
#2 IF GOING TO A NIGHT PARADE, TRY TO SNEAK A CAT NAP IN BEFORE
Some of the most fun parades, in my opinion, are in the evenings. If you know you’re going to be out late at a parade, try to get a cat nap later in the afternoon. This is probably going to be easier for younger babies than it will be for toddlers or preschool age.
Just a 20-30 minute nap can give them the extra boost of energy they need to carry them through the rest of the evening. Don’t worry about how you get them to nap whether it be contact napping, riding in the car, etc. It just matters that they get it in if they can.
#3 EARLY BEDTIME WHEN YOU GET HOME AND THE NEXT NIGHT
Obviously if you’re doing a night parade, you can’t do an early bedtime, but you can do it the next night. Early bedtimes are almost like the magic wand of sleep. We’ve all had an overtired baby who fought bedtime and went to sleep late. What happened the next morning? They woke up at the same exact time. Heaven forbid, even earlier than normal. Early bedtimes allow for your baby to get a little more sleep in and “catch up” on sleep.
When you get home from your busy day of parades, plan to put your baby down about an hour earlier than you normally would. This might be a little difficult depending on your baby’s age and how overtired they are. They will probably need some extra support falling asleep, and that is totally fine! Try to help them wind down as best as you can and let them get that extra sleep in.
Gauge how they are acting the next day when things are back to normal. If they seem more fussy or crankier than usual, opt for an early bedtime again. After this time, they should be feeling pretty rested and back to normal.
At the end of the day, though, Mardi Gras only comes around once a year, and if you’ve ever experienced it, you know that each year is a totally different experience. Don’t stress too much over your baby’s sleep. Do what you can when you can. It will all go back to normal quickly.
Above all, be sure to have a great time and laissez les bons temps rouler! Take lots of pictures of your babies in their Mardi Gras outfits. Tag me on social media so I can see, too!