Maintain Sleep Routines During the Busyness of the Holidays

Help baby get enough sleep even when home for the holidays

Tips for finding the balance between normalcy and flexibility.

The holidays are filled with family, celebrations and excitement. All these things are wonderful, but they tend to disturb our daily routines.

And while you are staying home over the holidays, you still may be wondering how the merriment of the season will impact the littlest sleepers in your house. All the anticipation and busyness this time of year can disrupt even the best sleepers.

With guests in the house and a ramped up social schedule, your little ones can be left feeling out of sorts and find it difficult to get adequate sleep. All of this can mean late bed times and missed naps.

How to maintain sleep routines while staying home for the holidays

• Don’t forget the usual ways for maintaining sleep routines. Try to stick as closely as you can to the normal schedule as often as possible. On the days where nothing is going on, keep to predictable nap and bed times. Do all the things you usually do leading up to naps and bedtime to cue baby that it’s time to sleep.

• When you can’t keep a strict schedule, try to preserve part of the routine each day. If you know you are going to be out late, make sure baby gets a good nap at the same time as usual. If things are going on in the middle of the day and most likely the nap will be skipped, try to have adequate time to wind down and get to bed on time.

• Avoid over tiredness or over stimulating baby. When there is a lot of activity going on and lots of hands wanting to snuggle with baby, he may get overwhelmed and need some space. Read Overstimulated Baby and Ways to Manage It for signs of fatigue in your baby.

• Pay attention to your own tipping point and know how to calm yourself and when to say no or slow down. Babies can pick up on your mood and may feed off your stress.

• Listen to your instincts and do what is best for your family. Prioritize what you feel is most important. If baby is sensitive and easily thrown off, try to prioritize regularity. But if baby is pretty easy going, you can ease up on the schedule a bit.

• It might be helpful to have a white noise machine to muffle the merry making going on while baby sleeps. That way a much needed nap won’t get cut short by all the noise. Consider having a quiet time for other kids in the house as well. Perhaps show a holiday movie or work on an activity together like decorating cookies or gingerbread houses.

• Don’t be afraid of abbreviated naps on the go. Sometimes a nap in the car, stroller, or carrier is sufficient for re-energizing the kids (and usually better than nothing).

Finding the balance between normalcy and flexibility during the holiday season can be tricky. You may not make the right decision every time, but don’t let a tantrum now and then throw you off. While we’d like our children to be on their best behavior at the holidays, there are bound to be melt downs.

Enjoy the season and all that it brings. Time together with the special people in our lives is such a joy and worth the minor disruptions to a consistent sleep schedule for baby. After the holidays, all should be sleeping peacefully again in no time.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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