With the holidays coming fast, sleep schedule disturbances are unavoidable, and it’s easy as a parent to get stressed out as a result. Whether you’re travelling out of town or staying home, there are many ways for the excitement of the season to turn your child’s sleep schedule on its head! Visits with family can run late, leaving you with the choice of putting your child to sleep in someone else’s bed or letting them stay up late. Kids can spend the night at Grandma’s while you take on the office Christmas party. Shopping trips and long lines hamper dinner plans, upsetting routines. Don’t worry! If you have to face any (or all) of these scenarios, it’s still possible for your kiddo to get a good night’s sleep!
Bring Something From Home
If you may be out late, or your child is spending the night in a strange bed, bring a couple of things from home. Familiar items help your child to feel comfortable and safe, even if they’re not used to the space they’re sleeping in. Easy things to take with you are a special stuffed animal, a favourite blanket, a sound machine, or a much-loved bedtime book.
Stick With Your Sleep Schedule
It’s really tempting to let your child nap longer, the day after a late night. However, it’s most important to keep your child as close to their usual sleep schedule as possible. If your child usually gets up from their nap at 2, plan to get them up at that time even if they’re still sleeping. Letting them sleep longer in a nap will lead to a later bedtime, and this will only get more pronounced as the season continues. Keeping their sleep schedule as normal as possible will save you the headache of a complete reset once life returns to normal.
Be Patient With Crankies
The hardest part of having sleep schedules change is the inevitable crankiness that comes after. Whether you’re waking them up from a nap and they just want to sleep, or they’re ready for bed and too tired to sleep, your child will probably feel out of sorts. It may be frustrating to deal with but remember the reason for the change in attitude. Patience is key! You can give yourself a hand by providing extra time for tasks like getting shoes on and talking to your children about why they’re feeling crabby. This is a great time to practice calm down strategies and reinforce problem solving. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to take a breath for yourself too!
Plan With Your Child In Mind
You can help avoid some sleep schedule disturbances by planning your schedule with your child in mind. Say no or reschedule if you need to. For evening parties, get a caregiver to stay with your child, instead of bringing them if you can. Keep events during your child’s regular sleep schedule to a minimum, when they need to attend. Schedule some of your visits in your own home so your child can nap or go to bed when they need to.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll make it through the holidays without at least one late night, you can make it easier for you and your child. And, when you do need to be out late, remember that sleep schedule disturbances won’t last forever. If you need help with getting your child’s sleep schedule back to normal, give me a call! If your child doesn’t sleep well regardless of the holidays, I can help with that too! Let’s talk!