It’s that time of year when many of our homes come alive with bright lights, music and festivities. Routines sometimes go out of the window, but we often overlook the impact that this can have on the quality of our children’s sleep.
We can still be mindful of sleep and routine while getting out and about and enjoying festive activities with friends and family!
Here are my top tips for enjoying Christmas and keeping sleep on track:
Tip 1: Stick to your normal routine as closely as possible, but don’t panic if you have to deviate! Take their personality into account – some babies are able to stretch a little longer between naps without it affecting them too much. Others will get overtired quickly if you deviate too much from their normal routine.
Tip 2: If you have a particularly busy day which throws your usual routine out, try to plan in a more restful one the next day to play catch up
Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to stand your ground with well-meaning relatives – if you say baby needs their nap, they need their nap!
Tip 4: Whilst its lovely to spend more time with relatives and friends, it can mean you get more ‘helpful advice’ than normal. Be confident in your parenting decisions and what works for your child
Tip 5: All naps count…. napping in buggy/car/sling is absolutely fine. This can make life easier if you are away from home.
Tip 6: If your little one is sleeping away from home, take some slept-in bedding and a familiar toy/comforter. Babies love familiar smells.
Tip 7: A familiar story can also help, especially for toddlers and older children. It can be hard for all of us to sleep in an unfamiliar environment so give your little one lots of support.
Tip 8: It is very normal for smaller babies to want to feed more for comfort and reassurance in unfamiliar surroundings, or if they feel overstimulated – don’t be embarrassed or self-conscious about this.
Tip 9: Babies and children can easily become overstimulated by their environment which can turn into overtiredness or tantrums. Try to stick to your little one’s regular bedtime or nap times to avoid this.
Tip 10: However, with all the extra stimulation and excitement, you might find an earlier bedtime is needed some days, go with it!
Tip 11: It can be tempting to all stay up later than usual at Christmas but try and stick to an age appropriate bedtime and include some wind down time before hand in a low-lit room.
Tip 12: If you want to stay late at a relative’s house, you can try putting baby to bed at their normal time there and then transferring to a car for the drive home.
Tip 13: Be mindful of sugary foods, especially towards to the end of the day. Sugar is a stimulant and affects sleep.
Tip 14: Get out at some point during the day for some fresh air, natural light and exercise. It is beneficial for all of us to be exposed to natural light and to move our bodies.
Tip 15: If you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed, then take the opportunity for a relative to watch baby while you take a little time for yourself to have a lay down/cuppa or a walk around the block.
Whatever happens this Christmas you will always be able to get back on track in the New Year. I hope that you can all relax and enjoy the festive season, Merry Christmas!
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online course
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.
Early Days & Foundations of Sleep: 0-5 Months
This course will teach you how you can work towards great sleep habits, without ‘sleep training.’ It provides gentle solutions for settling and works towards the end goal of a settled night’s sleep, whilst understanding and responding to your baby’s needs.
Sleep Success: 6-9 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 10-18 Months
This course covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, a suggested daily routine, the transition from two naps to one and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan to support your baby to sleep in their own sleep space.
Sleep Success: 1.5 – 4 years
This course which covers a range of topics including the science of sleep, sleep associations, creating a great sleep environment, potential sleep disturbances in this age group, a suggested daily routine, the transition from cot to bed, dropping the daytime nap, early waking and a choice of settling methods including how to make gradual changes. The course will lead you through step by step how to create your own sleep plan.