T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, Not a creature was sleeping not even a mouse…

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many parents worry about the disruption all that Christmas cheer will cause to their little one’s sleep.  Travel, visitors and late nights can turn your child from nice to naughty in a hurry.  So how can you help your little one rest easy through the holidays and stay on Santa’s Nice List during a busy season filled with travel and visiting?

For starters, if you’re not already following a consistent bedtime and nap time routine, now is a great time to establish one.  Following a regular routine at home will make travel easier because your child will know what to expect, even though you’re away.  A calming bedtime routine that includes a bath, lotion, jammies, sleep sack, book and a song is a signal that sleep is just around the corner.  When we follow the same routine every night it makes it easier to get back into that routine once the season is over.

So trim the tree, deck the halls and follow these tips to keep sleep merry this holiday season:

  1. Pack a comfort item. Sleep with your baby’s receiving blanket before you leave for your trip. The blanket will carry your scent and help her feel comforted by you even if you are in a different room. If your child is older, introduce a lovey or soft stuffed animal before you travel to help him feel the security of home in a new environment. Sleep sacks are also a great item to take along because they provide a sleep association, smell like home and are easy to pack.
  2. Stick to the Schedule. Try to get back onto your schedule of naps and bedtime as quickly as possible after travelling between time zones or during early or late hours. If you do have a long day of travel, allow one day of off-schedule sleeping but try to resume your usual sleep routine the following day. Make an effort to get back to your normal sleep times as soon as you get home for a smoother and faster post-holiday transition.
  3. Bring baby a bed. Make sure your home for the holidays has a comfortable place for your baby or toddler to sleep. There are several good travel cribs available for infants. If your child is too big for a portable crib, consider purchasing a portable bed rail so that you won’t need to worry about your toddler’s safety through the night.
  4. Don’t be afraid to be a Scrooge. Some children can handle staying up past their bedtime and skipping a nap without a negative impact on their behaviour, while others cannot. Though a highlight for many relatives will be spending time with your children, you will need to decide how far you are willing to stray from your schedule. Explain to your visitors that your child’s sleep needs to be a priority because it affects his behaviour, happiness, and well-being. Schedule visitors around your child’s nap times when possible.
  5. The more the merrier. Involve visitors like grandma and grandpa in your nap or bedtime routines. Use this time to create special holiday memories of reading with grandma or being tucked in by grandpa all while prioritizing the importance of your child’s sleep.


Happy Holidays from all of us at SleepWell Baby!

Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby.  She works with families to help them get the sleep they need.  Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations.  She can be contacted at alysa@sleepwellbaby.ca .
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