Oh, the Holiday season. Filled with so much joy and cheer. But, when traveling or hosting family it can cause disruptions in your families schedules. The good news is there is so much grace for us all. I’ve put together 7 tips for baby and toddler sleep during the holidays to help you truly enjoy your visitors while keeping space for your well-rested little ones.
Flash back 5 years ago… I had our son in early November and we communicated to our families that we would be staying home for Thanksgiving because we didn’t want the added pressure of traveling with a newborn while we were all trying to settle in. Thanksgiving came, and by 10am I was so sad that I wouldn’t be with any of our family. We packed up the car and drove the hour to see our family. Was it worth it? Absolutely! However, because of the rushed decision I forgot diapers and a swaddle. Yay me! But, it also disrupted naps and bed time causing a week or so of getting back on schedule after we had just started to adjust. Looking back, I wish I would have planned a bit better, but didn’t regret being with our family for our baby’s first thanksgiving. Here’s the thing… babies don’t keep and the memories made together over the Holiday will be so special. Don’t cancel your Holiday plans, you can get through this with some guidance!
If you plan to host during the Holidays….
- Communicate your needs with your partner and visitors. Before your guests arrive, let them know what they can expect from your little ones schedules. If your guests are not used to a baby in the home, they may not know (or have forgotten) how an overtired baby impacts the entire household. (Meltdown city!) Is there a nap time you would like to keep? Tell them. Is there a specific bedtime you would like to have for your little one? Tell them. How often does your baby typically cry out at night? Is there a chance the visitors will hear the baby? If so, just discuss this. Your visitors will likely say: “No problem! We can go back to sleep.” This will greatly reduce your stress and allow you to maintain your normal approach.
2. Trust your gut. Your friends and family may question your methods, you know your little one best! “Are you really going to wake a sleeping baby to feed him? That’s crazy! If he were hungry, he’d wake up. My babies were great sleepers. You should let him sleep.” Have confidence in the skills and techniques you have learned. You know your baby best!
3. Keep your baby in their normal sleep environment. Don’t we all sleep best in our own beds? Babies are no exception! If it’s possible for your baby to stay in her normal sleeping environment, do that. Whenever we can stay consistent, that’s what we want to do.
4. If you have to move your baby or child out of their bedroom, move your baby. I learned this lesson when my 3 year old decided he likes sleeping on the floor, in mom and dads bedroom and decided thats where he wanted to sleep from now on…. yikes. In my opinion, babies can adapt more easily than toddlers. Also, young children will likely be thrown off more by staying in a new room, especially in your own home. We don’t want your child to decide he wants to permanently camp out on your floor like mine did! This could make for weeks of difficult nights.
5. Keep your bedtime routine consistent. When you have visitors, so many things shift and change. This can mean that your baby is in a different room or going to bed at a different time than normal. Keeping your everyday bedtime routine will help your baby to understand that he/she is getting ready for sleep, just like any other day! This will require a little planning… You’ll want to move his bedtime book, pajamas, diapers, or any other routine tools to the room where he will be sleeping. (You don’t want to get ready to lay your baby down, only to realize that baby’s pacifier is in grandma’s room!)
6. Get at least one good nap in. Morning naps are typically the best naps for little ones. LEAN INTO THAT. Plan to protect that first nap and let it be a good one. If possible, plan outings and fun things for later in the day!
7. The most important one! Give yourself and your little one a lot of grace. Here is the thing… babies don’t keep and the memories made together over the Holiday will be so special. Don’t cancel your Holiday plans, you can get through this with some guidance!