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How to Manage Sleep and Routine during the Festive Season: Top Tips

Baby wearing a Santa hat in front of a Christmas tree

Imagine that Christmas, with all the lights, decorations, presents, family & friends, music, tv etc is like being at a sensory class all day! It can overload anyone, let alone your little one.

So what can you do to help them and you, enjoy this special time of year? Here are some of my top tips…

· Try and keep them to their normal sequence of a day, the times maybe slightly different but skipping a nap or bath time is likely to have an impact.

· Have a slightly longer wind down time before naps & bedtime. It may take them longer to settle for sleep with all the stimulation.

· Watch what they are eating – extra chocolate or sweets will spike their sugar levels and can then affect their behaviour.

· Stagger their gifts – maybe a few everyday rather than all at once.

· Fresh air – going for a walk for one of their naps or letting them have a run around outside, well wrapped up of course. This can be fun even in the dark with torches.

· Be aware of the tv being on maybe more than normal, this can affect their behaviour generally and also their wind down time before sleeping.

· Avoid letting them get overtired for naps & bedtime.

· Watch their sleep cues, they may get tired earlier than normal.

If you are away for Christmas…

· Get them used to their travel cot before you go. You could start using it for naps at home a few days beforehand.

· Use white noise – it’s great anytime but when away, if used to it at home too, it can help with that feeling of familiarity in a strange place. Helps to block out strange noises – including noisy adults, enjoying a party 😉

· Take a sheet from their cot from home, that feels and smells familiar.

· Travel during nap times, if they can sleep in the car this can make long journeys easier. If they are awake, take a new toy or book to keep them busy.

· Give them their bath and last feed of the day and then leave on your journey, transferring them into their cot on arrival.

It is such a magical time of year for little ones so enjoy it. Adapt their routine as best you can so it works alongside the festivities. Don’t panic if:

They don’t nap or short naps – just make sure they have an extra early bedtime of 6.15pm.

They will not settle without having cuddles or feeds – you can get back on track after all the celebrations.

There are night wake ups or extra wake ups when away. Don’t make the holidays hard on yourself and them. If you need to feed / cuddle or co sleep, then get back on track when home. It may take a little sleep coaching when home but a couple of nights and your be back to normal.

Sam aka The Baby Guru

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