The holiday season can be a fun time of visiting and traveling. But, if you are stuck with a cranky baby or toddler, FUN is not the word that comes to your mind!
Keeping your child well rested can make the holiday season more joyful for the entire family.
Your child’s sleeping environment:
Keep it as similar to their sleeping environment at home as possible. It should be a calm, not a stimulating environment. Think boring, if possible.
For your baby bring a portable crib that they have practiced sleeping in at home or at bring the crib sheets from home. You don’t have to wash the sheets because the smells will be familiar and calming to your baby and one less thing to do while packing!
For your toddler don’t forget their lovey or favorite blanket. Make sure they are in a bed that is safe for their age. Practice the walk to the bathroom before bedtime.
Portable blackout curtains or a black garbage bag can be used over the window to keep the room dark.
Don’t forget your white noise machine to block out the noises of a new environment or the loud family members in the next room.
Follow your child’s normal bedtime routine for naps and night time. That routine will be familiar and calming to your child and a clue to their body that it is time to sleep.
Try to stick to the same sleep schedule you follow at home as much of the time as possible. But, if you know it will be a late bedtime because of holiday activities, make sure your child gets a good nap that day. If your child is usually well-rested, your child will be able to handle an occasional later bedtime during the holidays.
If naps did not happen because of holiday activities, then try to compensate with an earlier bedtime that day.
Things to avoid:
You do not want to return home with some new bad habits.
If you have not been co-sleeping, don’t start while you are traveling. Make sure your child has their own bed or sleeping spot. A toddler might even think it is fun to sleep on the floor.
For your toddler make sure your child understands that the same night time rules apply that you follow at home.
Try to RELAX and enjoy your time with your child and the people you love. Making the effort to protect your child’s sleep will make everyone enjoy your child more.
If you need some help getting your child sleeping well, I am available to guide and coach you through that process: Arlene Fryling, RN and Sleep Consultant for children 0-5 years.
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