The holiday season is filled with small wonders, big joys and lots of festivities. All of this often adds up to missed naps, late bedtimes and early mornings. How can you help your little one survive the holidays without constant meltdowns and keep your own sanity? Here a some tips…
1) Start with a well rested child. A child who has healthy sleep to start will be able to adapt much more easily to changes in schedule or routine. If you know you have an action packed couple of days ahead focus on your schedule pre-game to ensure your child gets lots of sleep in the days leading up to your festivities.
2) Stick to your routine as much as possible. This can be challenging but it will help ease the transition for your child and let him know what to expect. Shoot to have at least 2 meals at their normal time and maybe one nap for those kiddos still napping twice a day. Try to especially stick with your bedtime routine to ensure a restful night sleep. You may need to soothe your child a bit longer than usual as they get used to their new sleeping environment or an off schedule.
3) But be flexible too! Don’t forget the holidays are a special time and things likely won’t be perfect so just do the best you can do with what you have. Remember you are making memories!
4) Bring along the comforts of home- be sure to pack your child’s lovey, noise machine, bedtime story, special blanket, favorite pj’s, etc. This will help nap time and bedtime go more smoothly. You may even bring along a used crib sheet so that it also smells like home.
5) Choose their sleeping space wisely- babies and younger children can often sleep in their crib in a closet or bathroom to ensure a dark, quiet space. Older children may be a bit more difficult to accommodate but do your best to recreate the environment they have at home.
6) Traveling first thing in the morning tends to be easier with small children for various reasons- lighter traffic, fewer delays, they are rested and in a good mood. Be sure to take breaks to allow them to get some fresh air and/or exercise. Road trips especially offer lots of opportunity to have picnics and play time. Additionally, try to avoid travel during nap time if possible. Getting a good nap will not only keep your child in a good mood but it will also help with nighttime sleep.
7) Be prepared for early risings the first few days- just like you, it may take your child a few days to adapt to the new surroundings. It helps to get some time outside in the mornings to support their internal clocks.
8) The more you travel, the more used to it your child will get and the easier it will become.
9) For the older child prepare them ahead of time for what will happen and what to expect, this will ease any anxiety they may have once you get to where you are going.
10) Upon arriving home jump right back into your routine without hesitation it may take a few days to get back on track so be prepared and be patient.
11) Manage your expectations as the saying goes you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Your child may experience more tantrums than usual or have other difficulties. Try to keep your sense of humor and know it is not forever.
12) HAVE FUN!!!! and take lots of photos