The Biggest Sleep Issues during the Holidays & How to Fix Them!
By WeeSleep HQ
The holidays are almost here! That means (possible COVID friendly) visits to and from friends and family, sugary goodies, late nights, and ... very tired babies and toddlers!
Often, we get so caught up in the whirlwind of the holiday season that we take our little ones’ sleep for granted. More than almost any other time, it is crucial to honour our children’s sleep during the holidays, which are a time of extra stimulation and excitement. And while this year will feel very different from previous years, sleep can still go sideways if we are not careful.
Here are some of the biggest sleep issues for children during the holidays, and how to fix (or avoid!) them!
Sleeping in unfamiliar places – Your child sees their room at home as a familiar, safe space. During the holiday season, you may be spending time at a family member or friends’ house with whom you have bubbled with. You may need to put your little one to bed in an unfamiliar environment. Do what you can to make your child’s sleep space familiar and comfortable in every situation: bring along a favourite sleep sack and snuggly buddy; ensure you have a pack & play, travel crib, or portable bed (depending on your child’s age) so that your little one has an appropriate sleep surface; make the room dark and peaceful with a portable blackout blind and – if it's going to be noisy – a white noise machine to drown out loud sounds.
Getting off track with naps and bedtimes – Of course, it will be unavoidable that your child will need to have the occasional car or stroller nap even during these times. You may be driving around looking at lights or picking out your holiday tree. But, these should be a rarity and not the norm, if you can help it. Ensuring your child has as many proper naps as possible (in an appropriate sleep space), and always getting your child to bed within 30 minutes of their normal bedtime, will help your little one remain well-rested and content during your travels.
Losing consistency – It can be easy to fall out of habit with your usual great, consistent routines during the rush of the holidays. But, babies and toddlers LOVE consistency and predictability – it is always best to help them understand what is coming next. So, resist the urge to skip over your regular bedtime routine and just pull your toddler out of the festivities and plunk them into bed. Your child will respond much better if you are consistent with your usual routines – even if you are going out to do a holiday light drive, do your full bedtime routine (bath, PJs, books, etc.) to help your child wind down for the night and possibly fall asleep in the car while you are out.
Sugary Goodies – Getting your child to bed during the excitement and giddiness of the holidays can be difficult enough, without the added sugar factor! Limit sugary goodies as much as possible, particularly within a couple of hours of bedtime, to give your child the best chance for winding down quickly and slipping into a nice, peaceful, restful sleep.
Over-scheduling – While this is not as difficult as in previous years, our calendar can still fill up very quickly during the holidays. It feels like everyone is trying to put on light shows or some type of socially distanced event. Try to avoid over-scheduling your calendar with too many holiday events. If you attempt to, it could lead to missed naps and late bedtimes, which generally lead to temper tantrums and meltdowns from your otherwise content and happy child!