Holidays With a Toddler


The holidays bring lots of changes to the life of your toddler.

Grumpy during the holidays

feeling grumpy


1) Change of their schedule.
If your toddler normally goes to daycare or has a babysitter, it is a change to be at home with mom/dad. The routine of their day will be different. There is no rushing off to work for mom/dad in the morning.
The days will bring the uncertainty of not knowing what is happening next. Meals and play activities will be at different times. Toddlers love knowing that things happen in a routine or order. During the holidays there might not be a routine.

2) Change of diet.
The holidays tend to bring more sugar and treats in your toddler’s diet. Many families have traditional holiday food which is only eaten at this time of the year. Cookies and candy are available at parties or other events. The increased sugar can make some children very active or hyper. The spike and then drop of their blood sugar affects their behavior. The toddler  might have a more difficult time managing their emotions or impulses.

3) Change of environment.
Many families travel or have visitors over the holidays. This might mean an unfamiliar bed or room for sleep. The sights and sounds might all be different.

4) Change from receiving gifts.
Your toddler may receive a lot of new toys. That is exciting but it can also be overstimulating for a toddler. The toddler may feel overwhelmed with the number of them.  There might be the disappointment of not receiving a toy the child really wanted or the challenge of having to share their toys with another child.

5) Change of meeting new family and friends.
Your toddler might see family members that you usually only see once per year. They will feel like strangers to your toddler. It can be overwhelming to a small child when these unfamiliar people want to hold, touch or talk with them.

How can you help your toddler deal with all these changes during the holiday season?

My number one tip is to keep your toddler well rested during the holidays. Make sleep a priority. If you have to skip their nap, make sure your child is able to get an early bedtime.
It is much easier for your toddler to manage all the holiday changes if they have had enough sleep.

A tired child tends to be a grumpy child. Lack of sleep leads to temper tantrums and melt downs. No parent wants to impress the relatives with their child having a temper tantrum in the middle of the family gathering.

Prevent problems by giving your child a nap before the party or family gathering. It will be much more enjoyable for everyone.
If your child is getting tired or overwhelmed, it is good to remove the toddler from the situation before the melt down happens. Watch your child for the early signs of tiredness or needing a break from the situation. Some children are more sensitive to over stimulation than others.

If you are traveling, try to bring familiar bedtime items: their pj’s and their lovey item like a blanket or stuffed animal. Don’t forget to bring their familiar white noise from home.
Make their room dark to promote sleep in an unfamiliar place.

Encourage unfamiliar people to approach your child slowly to let the child adjust. Your toddler will look at your face for information on how to handle a new person. Make sure you are presenting a happy face when introducing your toddler to a new person. If you show fear or concern about how your toddler is going to handle this; your toddler will react with fear also.

Remember the holidays are a new and challenging experience for your toddler. But, it is also a fun and exciting time. Share the awe of seeing the bright lights, gifts and activities for the first time with your toddler.

awe of the holidays with a toddler

holiday awe

Helping Babies Sleep

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

Infant Tummy Massage to Relieve Gas

To see the complete massage instructional video:


Alix Kron
Alix Kron
4 months ago
We cannot say enough positive things about our experience working with Arlene!! We were desperate for sleep, going almost 5.5 months with frequent wake ups, nursing back to sleep, nonstop crying during the day, screaming in the car and becoming more and more hopeless as time went on without having success … Arlene changed all of that within no time. She listened to exactly what was going on for us, developed a sleep plan specific to our daughter’s needs/our goals and was so supportive and answered all of our questions along the way. It was very easy to follow the plan that she developed and it included naps and weaning off of night feedings. We saw a difference in our daughter almost immediately! Arlene has absolutely transformed our lives and given us the ability to enjoy each other and feel so much better getting the sleep we all want and NEED! Our daughter is now sleeping 11-12 hours per night, eating only once overnight as opposed to every 1-2 hours, is on a great nap schedule and is so much happier!!! It’s the best money we’ve spent.
Adrienne G.
Adrienne G.
2 years ago
We worked with Arlene to sleep train our 22 month old son who had been bed sharing and nursing to sleep. She helped us develop a sleep plan that was specific to our son's needs. It addressed both his nighttime sleep and his naps. It really took the guess work out of the endeavor, because as a parent, even if you read all the sleep books, there are many different opinions and it is hard to know what is right. Arlene was attentive, flexible and available to answer all of our questions and concerns. I would highly recommend working with her! Our son now sleeps 11-12 hours a night and put himself to sleep on his own. Sleep training him has been a game changer for me (I sleep now too!) and for him. He seems well rested and his development seems to be progressing faster now too. His language skills are flourishing since he is getting better rest.
Amanda C
Amanda C
4 years ago
We just wrapped up our second time working with Arlene, and had another great experience! Arlene helped us sleep train our first baby a few years ago when she was 4 months old at the time. She was a terrible sleeper, waking up once every hour and needing to be rocked to sleep for what felt like hours and hours each day. I was a stressed, exhausted, and worried first time mom, and I was drawn to Arlene’s calm and experienced approach. She gave us an option for a gentler strategy that worked for us at the time, and was detailed and responsive in her sleep plan and attentiveness. Our daughter just turned 2.5 years old and is still a great sleeper. So once our second baby turned 4 months recently, we did not hesitate to work with Arlene again. We now have two rockstar sleepers in our household, thanks to Arlene! It means the world to us that she was there to help guide us, instill confidence, and most importantly, help teach our children such a valuable skill they will undoubtedly benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Begoña Cirera
Begoña Cirera
2 years ago
Arlene helped me first with my first son who was 2.5 year old when I hired her. He slept with me during breastfeeding. He never wanted to sleep in his crib. I was due with my second, and I needed better rest, and had no clue how to get him to sleep away from my bed. I even had to sleep w him during naps, or he wouldn’t sleep. I had to walk him for hours to fall asleep every night. It was awful. Two weeks after Arlene helped us create a program for him, he was done!!! He was sleeping in his own room, all night (12+ hours) and he was SO HAPPY during the day. We learned so much, and all made so much sense. After trying methods and books, nothing worked. My son is almost 6, and he falls asleep at 7:30pm every evening, until 7:00am. As a parent, you know how precious those hours are. With my second one, I didn’t make the mistake of waiting until he was two to train him to sleep. By 3 months, we slowly started, with Arlene’s help. I never had to walk him or be there for him to fall asleep. He’s now 3, and he is a great sleeper, much better than his big brother ever was, still takes 90-min naps, and sleeps 11 hours a night. Every penny I spent to hire Arlene’s expertise is worth it. My only regret was not to look for her sooner. Lifesaver, 100%.
Abbey Stidam
Abbey Stidam
6 years ago
Arlene Fryling at Gentle Touch Sleep Time helped our son sleep, which helped us sleep! We were having trouble transitioning our son (4 months at the time) from his rock-n-play to the crib and our amazing sleeper since birth was all of a sudden not sleeping very much. Arlene talked with us about what was going on with his sleep and why the change in his sleep pattern. She answered all our questions and calmed our worries and frustrations. She came up with a sleep plan that worked for our family. She guided us every step of the way. He is now an amazing sleeper again! He is 18 months old and sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap. He loves to sleep and never fights sleeping. I am so thankful we had Arlene Fryling help us and we were able to teach our son to sleep.