It’s that time of year. The holidays are upon us. That means many of us are going to be traveling to spend time with family, or you will be having family come to stay with you. Either way, things are probably going to be a little chaotic over the next couple of months. What does this mean for your child’s sleep? Well, it means things may get tough and be a little challenging. Here are 3 tips to help you get through the holidays while still supporting your child’s sleep the best way possible.
#1 SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR FAMILY OR PARTNER AHEAD OF TIME
This is where I personally have the hardest time. Our family doesn’t see our daughter all that much so when we do spend time with them, I have a hard time drawing the boundary of when to set aside time for her naps and bedtime. This is also where I see most parents having the hardest time. It’s tough when it comes to being around family. I get it. You want to make the most of the time you have with them, but at the same time, you have to think about your baby and how it’s going to affect them and you.
I suggest talking with your partner or even your family beforehand and drawing those boundaries. If your little one is still taking multiple naps during the day, make sure to get one good nap each day. If your little one is taking one nap, I’d definitely try to get in at least an hour nap so that your baby doesn’t get too overtired in the evening.
Some good boundaries look like this. “Hey mom, I’m okay with doing whatever you guys want to do, but Susie has to get one nap each day. I’d prefer it to be her nap around 1pm. Let me know what the plans are so I can plan our schedule to coincide with yours.”
#2 SET SOME TIME ASIDE IN THE DAY TO TAKE A BREATHER
I don’t know if you are like my family, but we are severe introverts. Being around a bunch of people really drains our energy quickly. Babies are the same way. Even if your family is loud and rambunctious, there’s a different vibe when you’re with a lot of family. Somewhere between all the people trying to interact with the baby to all the new experiences, our kids get overwhelmed extremely quickly.
You can see this in how they act. This can look like misbehavior or tantrums. With family around, this can be super frustrating because we get embarrassed when our kids don’t act like we want them to. An easy way to combat this is to just take some time and breathe. Go outside and take a quiet walk or go have some alone time in a separate room. Spend 30 minutes decompressing and see the difference in how your child acts and feels.
#3 TRY TO KEEP THINGS CONSISTENT WITH HOME
When traveling it can be hard to keep a consistent routine or sleep environment. Children thrive on routine, so any little thing you can do to help keep things the same the better. I suggest bringing sheets and blankets from home when possible. This will make the place where your child is sleeping smell like home and bring some comfort. Be sure to pack any loveys or stuffed animals. Keep the bedtime and nap routine as similar to home as possible.
When in a different environment, safety is a huge concern to children, so consistency will reassure them that everything is okay and that they are safe.
Okay so you did it. The holidays are over. You survived. What now?
Sometimes babies will get “off track” over the holidays or after a vacation. This is totally normal. Typically I’d suggest just going back to your original plan and do what you did before when getting your baby to sleep. Once you have a good sleep foundation built and as your child gets older, trips and schedule disruptions shouldn’t bother your baby as much. Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, stick to your schedule and routine, but 20% of the time, have fun. Make those memories and live your life!
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