While holidays hold some of the fondest memories of quality time spent with my children, they also hold a plethora of times when our children were less than cooperative. Whiny, crabby, or just overtired kids can quickly turn a time of celebration into one where you’re running towards the closest exit.
As Easter approaches, let’s take a look at three common sleep problems holidays bring and some solutions for proactively setting our little ones up for sleeping success.
Problem #1: Overtired Kids
If you typically head to church on Easter, you know it can be an early morning for kids. Likely by mid-morning, you’ve started having some meltdown and you may wonder how your children will last for Easter dinner, visiting with relatives, and Easter activities.
Here are some tips to avoid your children becoming overtired on Easter:
- If your child typically takes a nap, arrange your schedule so he still has an opportunity to nap, even if just a nap in the car or some quiet time to slow down and rest in the afternoon.
- If your baby is too overtired for a typical nap, consider swaddling, rocking, and holding her for a quick rest.
- Plan ahead for Easter activities. If you anticipate trying to do it all on Easter is too much, plan to do some of the Easter activities during the days before Easter.
- Remember, it’s okay to say no to invitations from family and friends if it’s just going to be too tiring for your baby. Set your priorities for Easter and graciously decline invitations that won’t work this year.
Problem #2: Overstimulated Kids
Easter is a holiday that can involve many activities for children. Coloring Easter eggs, searching for the very last Easter egg, and exploring new toys in an Easter basket can keep children busy for hours.
If kids have had fun activities keeping them entertained throughout the day, it can be difficult to slow their bodies down enough to think about sleeping.
Here are some tips for slowing down your overstimulated kids:
- Arrive home and begin your nighttime routines right on time (or even a bit earlier).
- Consider giving your little one a bath; this is a great chance to get out a bit more energy while being a cue that nighttime is approaching.
- Skip the screen time before bed as it rarely helps to curb overstimulation.
- Snuggle up with a few good books. Instead of rushing through a bedtime story, take your time and really explore the pictures together.
Problem #3: Under-Scheduled Kids
Most kids thrive on some sort of routine, yet keeping a schedule on a holiday can be difficult. Meal times, snack times, and independent play times vary widely from a typical day.
Here are some tips for giving a bit of structure to an otherwise unstructured day:
- Talk with your child about the day and a general idea of what is happening when. Older kids love being a part of the discussion and making a list with you.
- Give your child snacks if mealtimes will be later than normal. Conversely, don’t let your child munch all day. Eat a snack and then move on to playtime or an activity.
- Plan some simple activities to break up long car trips.
- Play with your children. Use the change in schedule to sit down and really interact with your kids. Break out some toys, set up a board game, or build something together.
Whatever your plans for Easter, planning ahead can help your children avoid these common holiday sleep problems.
Jess Wartinger resides in rural New York with her husband and five children. Formerly an early elementary teacher, Jess currently spends her time loving her kids and holding down the fort at home.