Holiday Sleep Tips

Posted by in Sleep Tips on Dec 22, 2012

The holidays are in full swing and families are traveling near and far to spend time together. Here are some quick tips to make sure your child’s sleep stays on track as you celebrate the season.

Consistent Schedule

Holiday travel will break up the normal, consistent schedule your child is used to. Try to keep a regular routine, and provide opportunities to nap during their set schedule. Bedtimes will be especially important. Travel and fun with friends and family can be exhausting! Make sure to keep your eye on the clock and get your little one in bed on time.

Sleep Environment

Try to have your child sleep in the same place for naps and bedtime. Having a “base camp” for your child will help to create continuity and familiarity. If you have to share a room or bed with your child, remind them of the normal sleep rules. Let them know that this arrangement is just because you are “at Grandma’s house” and regular sleep rules will apply when you return home.

Supplies

There is no such thing as traveling light with a child. You might as well bring everything you need for a good night sleep. Make sure to pack your child’s lovey, white noise machine and nightlight. Bring a familiar sheet and blanket from home and set up the room to be as comfortable and familiar as possible.

Consistent Schedule
Be mindful of your child’s need to sleep. They will be enjoying an array of new and festive activities. Keep an eye out for their sleepy cues, such as rubbing their eyes. A nap in the stroller or car is better than no nap at all. Everyone will enjoy being together more if your child is happy and well-rested.

Time Zone Travel
When traveling over time zones, switch to the new time the next full day after your arrival. Get them up at their normal wake up time and put them to bed at their normal bedtime. Make sure they are not going down too late for their afternoon nap. You’ll want them waking up by 4:30 PM at the latest to preserve an appropriate bedtime. Upon your return home, follow the same instructions.

Upon Return
When you return home, make it a top priority to return to your normal routine as quickly as possible. Resume typical bedtime routines, nap and bedtime schedules and sleep expectations. Consistency is key. Remind your child of their sleep manners and follow through with your expectations.

Enjoy your holiday celebrations with family and friends!

Tips on navigating the holidays
  • The better a child sleeps at home, the better the odds that he will sleep well when you travel. Good sleepers are more likely to return to established sleep patterns once the vacation is over.
  • Expect some sleep regression. Try not to fall back into old habits or use old sleep crutches that have been eliminated. For example, if you recently stopped nursing during the night, don’t start again while traveling.
  • Schedule flights during typical sleep time. If it’s a redeye flight, have your child wear their pajamas. Bring an extra blanket to help block out unwanted light during their airplane slumber.
  • Exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, helps the body adjust to a new time zone.

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