Is this your first holiday season with your little one? Or perhaps your second or third go around. Help your child view this holiday season through restful eyes.
During the holidays, we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.
A holiday party with your friends. Pictures with Santa Clause. Dinner with your spouse's relatives for Christmas. Brunch with old friends who are in town. A play date with another parent to catch up while making cookies. Gift exchanging with your family. The list could go on and on.
The holidays are often a time when sleep gets thrown off track or when sleep-struggles that existed prior to the holidays get exacerbated. All of this go-go-go can add up for your little one. An occasional day thrown off here or there isn't a big deal for a child who sleeps well. However, several days within a month's time where the routine is thrown off can cause over-tiredness that contributes to difficulty falling asleep for naps and bedtime time, frequent wakings at night, and early risings AKA a fussy and hyperactive child who is more likely to catch any sicknesses going around.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the holidays. However, you might need to set some limits for the holidays until your child is a little bit older. I have provided a list of tips to consider during the month of December.
1. Preserve your child's naps.
Do your best not to stray from your child's daily routine. Plan your outings with friends and family at times when your child isn't normally sleeping. If someone wants to meet during a typical time for your child to be sleeping, invite them over to your house during nap time or ask them to consider another time.
2. Keep the early bedtime.
Some families often gather together past a child's typical bedtime. If this is the case with your family, ask if they would be willing to move dinner up so that you can have your child home and in bed on time. If they find this silly and are unwilling to change, let them know that they can expect you and your family to leave earlier than usual and do your best to ignore any judgement that might come from those who don't understand.
3. Be aware of overstimulation.
The holidays are often an exciting time for us adults, but they can be very stimulating for newborns, infants, and toddlers. Make sure to give your child some time to decompress with independent play and quiet time. Perhaps go for a walk or take him into a quiet bedroom.
I know Grandma has the best of intentions with all her kisses and conversation. However, she might have a hard time noticing when she needs to back off from her adorable grandchild. Who can blame her?! Sometimes it happens to be at a time when your child is looking for a break.
If you notice your child becoming fussy or zoning out while people are trying interact, this is a good sign that he has been overstimulated and needs a break. Don't expect others to pick up on this.
4. If things get thrown off, get your child back on track ASAP.
Like I mentioned above, an occasional day thrown off won't effect your child too much if she is already has great sleeping habits. Perhaps you decide that you want to enjoy time with your family for that one night that would be later than your child's bedtime.
If you do this, expect a rough night or two and day. However, don't fret. You can help get your child back on track by immediately getting her back into her typical daily routine. Start by waking her at her usual wake time.
However, keep in mind that if this happens several times, you will most likely start to see a negative effect on your child's sleep and temperament.
Enjoy this holiday season! Keep in mind that regulating your child's daily routine will be key to getting through this holiday season with well-rested individuals.
Do you have tips that you have learned over time that have helped your child and family during this exciting time of year?! Share below in the comments!