The holiday season is such a fun, family-filled time – no matter what holidays you celebrate. Along with the quality time spent with family and all the other special people in your life comes the worry about how all the busyness of the season will affect your little one. This is especially so when you consider the potential for routine-less days, missed naps, later bedtimes, and just an overwhelming amount of activities for your little one.

To survive the holiday season without lots of meltdowns and craziness the key is to go into it prioritizing sleep during the holiday season along with understanding how overwhelming, and exciting at the same time, the holiday season can be for a little person.

sleep during the holiday season

Firstly, it is important to go into the holiday season ensuring your little ones are well-rested.

If they are having sleep issues that are causing overtiredness, early wake-ups, and night wakings then now is the time to work on fixing them.  This is especially important if you know you will be traveling for the holiday season. Ensuring your little ones are well-rested and able to put themselves to sleep, will make your holiday season so much easier. Well-rested little ones will handle any short naps and later bedtimes more easily than those who are already struggling with their sleep.  They will also be more likely to handle falling asleep in new environments easier.

sleep during the holiday season

Have a top notch sleep environment.

If you will be traveling and staying outside your family home during the holiday season it is important to make sure that the place you are staying at has the things you need for a good night of sleep. Blackout blinds are especially important.  You can bring travel blackout blinds if you have some or you can even get creative and use trash bags and tape if need be. Children are sensitive to light and you definitely do not want them waking up super earlier because the sun is streaming in the windows!  Though waking up early out of excitement may still happen.

sleep during the holiday season

Have an 80/20 rule for sleep.

Try to enjoy the holidays without overly stressing about your kids’ sleep schedules. When you can it is great to try to schedule events around naps and bedtimes, but that won’t always be possible and that’s ok. Try to only go off schedule approximately 20% of the time.

sleep during the holiday season

Early bedtimes for the win.

When possible compensate with some early bedtimes to help with any missed/short naps and later bedtimes.  Most toddlers and kids aren’t great at sleeping in to replace lost sleep, which makes early bedtimes the best way to help them recover.  Kids also get the deepest sleep before midnight, which means early bedtimes can help them get more of that delicious deep sleep.

sleep during the holiday season

Prepare them in advance.

If you have a toddler or older child, it can be important to have a chat with them about the fact that the changes to routines and sleep environments are only for the holiday season.   This way they know that when they are back to normal environments and routines you will be expecting them to sleep independently again and have their normal sleep schedule.  My 8 and 10-year-old often share a bed with each other during trips away from home and go to sleep at the same time, and we always make sure that they are aware they go straight back to the normal routine and sleep environment when they get back home.

sleep during the holiday season

Get serious on sleep after the season is over.

When the holiday season is over, and you are back in your own home with some quiet low-key days ahead, do a sleep boot camp with your little one. Get straight back into their normal sleep routine. Offer early bedtimes to help them recover. Stay low-key with activities for the first few days after the holiday so you can really follow the sleep routines, help them rest and relax, and not be tempted to go off schedule.

Now that you have some good tips on handling sleep this holiday season we’d like to wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. Enjoy spending time with all the special people in your life. And if sleep or your child’s behavior goes off track, We here to help.  Reach out!

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holiday season child sleep