The holidays are such an exciting time for little ones.
From the lights to the visits from relatives and all of the gifts. Add to that, many families travel over the holidays whether it is to visit loved ones or get away from the cold. Though all of this excitement is great, it is also overwhelming for infants and toddlers. They are out of their routine and all of the stimulation is hard to process. That’s why these baby and toddler sleep tips are invaluable for the Holiday season.
How to get baby to sleep over the holidays – sleep tips that can be applied to toddlers too.
Bring Comfort from Home: If your child is attached to a special stuffed animal or blanket, make sure to pack it along with you!
I advise bringing your child’s sheets so that their bed smells like home. If your child sleeps with a sound machine make sure to pack it as well. You want their sleeping environment to feel as familiar as possible to them. If your child normally has black-out blinds in their room, pack a dark sheet to drape over the window. This will help to avoid an unusually early morning!
Keep a Consistent Bedtime: This can be difficult when you are doing a lot of visiting.
Your child will adapt to a later bedtime occasionally, but a couple late nights in a row will result in an overtired child who isn’t able to enjoy themselves the next day.
Don’t over-schedule: The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves.
Try to plan your visiting around your children’s usual nap times. Sometimes you can’t avoid missing a nap. However, don’t skip a nap too many days in a row as you will have an overtired child!
Keep the sleeping arrangement as close to normal as possible: A big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while travelling when they don’t normally co-sleep.
Even it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself in a very tricky situation getting them back to sleeping alone when you return home. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack and play along and use that as a crib.
If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep.
Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby is good. This way if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she doesn’t end up stimulated by your presence and think, “There are my favourite people. It must be playtime!” Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great, if that’s an option for you.
Tips for Time Changes and Jet Lag
When it comes to surviving the plane ride, the best piece of advice I ever got about travelling with kids is just to ACCEPT the fact that you’re travelling with kids! So plan ahead and bring as many things that you can think of to keep your baby occupied and comfortable. If you have to resort to “old ways” to get your child to settle down, then do so. Just know that as soon as you land, it’s back to their normal routine!
Well-rested children handle jet lag much better than sleep-deprived ones.
If your baby has been on a good sleeping routine leading up to the trip, he should slide into the new time zone without too much trouble. It is best to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as you can.
If you really feel like your baby needs an extra nap to catch up a bit, try to limit it to 45 minutes.
Try not to let him or her nap too close to bedtime. If it’s a choice between a strangely timed dinner, hour nap or an earlier bedtime, I suggest you go with the slightly earlier bedtime.
Sunlight is a useful tool in helping both you and your baby adjust to the new time zone since light is the most powerful time cue our bodies have.
Try to plan meals and socializing around the new time zone as well, and get an hour or two of fresh air in the early afternoon.
Make sure you do just the opposite when evening rolls around.
Use the blackout blinds, and keep light to a minimum a couple of hours before you want your baby to go to bed. This will help stimulate natural melatonin production, making your child sleepier. If your baby is sleeping in a room that doesn’t darken, bring your own black sheet to drape over the window!
If you are interested in more information about infant and child sleep tips, contact Chelsea LePage, Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant:
[email protected] www.snugasabugsleeping.com or +1.604.657.1050
If you have any questions for Chelsea, our sleep consultant, please post them below and they could be answered in my upcoming interview with her <3
Additional reading you may find useful
When should a toddler stop napping – An expert weighs in
Why sleep training may not work and what to do instead
10+ Tips to Mitigate Difficult Toddler Behaviour
Front-Loading, Redirection and Connection: 3 Powerful Strategies for Parenting a Strong-Willed Toddler
These are great tips! Some I’ve had to learn the hard way, but I never thought to bring my kids sheets with us! Makes sense! Thank you!!
Neither had I! Some of them I knew, but needed the reminder 🙂