12 Days of Sleep Tips for the Holidays

The holidays can put your usual sleep routine to the test. Family dinners, Christmas pageants, house guests, and travel can do a number on your child’s sleep habits. While it’s okay to make an exception every once in a while, you don’t want your child to turn into the Grinch because they aren’t getting the sleep they need.

Holiday Sleep Tip 1:

The chaos of the holidays is not a good time to start sleep training your baby or begin establishing a new routine. Try to stick with what you have been doing. When it comes to developing new sleep skills, consistency is the key, so it would be best to wait until January when you’re back to your regular daily habits.

Holiday Sleep Tip 2:

Speaking of routine, you’ll avoid becoming Krampus by ensuring you maintain the habits your child is used to. If bedtime usually consists of bath time and a story, keep it up!

Holiday Sleep Tip 3:

You don’t have to attend every event or stay until the very end. You’ll be glad you went home early or said no to that late-night event when everyone wakes up happy the next day.

Holiday Sleep Tip 4:

If you’re going to be traveling for the holidays, try to schedule flights and driving time around your regular sleep schedule. If you need to travel around bedtime, have your kids wear their pajamas and bring any comfort items, if they have them.

Holiday Sleep Tip 5:

When packing your bags to stay at Grandma and Grandpas (or wherever you’re traveling to), don’t forget to pack your sleep tools. Bring your white noise machine, toddler clock, blackout shades, and any other necessities for creating that ideal sleep environment. In a pinch, you can cover windows with black trash bags, to create a pitch-black sleep space.

Holiday Sleep Tip 6: 

Don’t skip naps during the holidays. Stay strict about your nap routine and considering taking a few naps yourself. All the travel, shopping, and entertaining can take a toll on you, also.

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Holiday Sleep Tip 7:

Aim to give your child extra time to wind down. It can be beneficial to find a quiet place to do some calm activities about 30 minutes before you would typically begin the bedtime routine. The holidays can be very overstimulating, and this will help your child settle in a little easier.

Holiday Sleep Tip 8:

When in doubt, go back to basics! If your child has become an overtired miniature Mr. Scrooge, remember to go back to consistency and early bedtimes. Remember, you want to get them to bed before they start showing signs of being sleepy to avoid overtiredness.

Holiday Sleep Tip 9:

Keep a positive attitude about your child’s sleep schedule. Our children are like little barometers for our moods so if you’re feeling frustrated about staying on routine, they’ll likely pick up on it and have a harder time getting settled.

Holiday Sleep Tip 10:

Follow the 80/20 rule. This means that if you already have well-established sleep routines, you can make exceptions 20% of the time, but you need to stay on track the other 80% of the time. It’s best only to make exceptions if absolutely necessary and be sure to get back to your regular schedule as quickly as possible.

Holiday Sleep Tip 11:

Keep an eye on all those treats and Christmas cookies your kids are eating. The extra sugar intake can lead to moodiness and those dreaded sugar rushes. Limit treats and keep them confined to earlier in the day to prevent poor sleep from ruining the holiday fun!

Holiday Sleep Tip 12:

This time of year is all about celebration, gratitude, and family. My number one tip for this time of year is to enjoy your loved ones. Do your best to get those naps in and build healthy sleep habits as a family but don’t sweat it if you get off track, just get back on routine as soon as you can.

I hope all of you have a fantastic holiday season, whatever you celebrate! For custom sleep tips based on your family’s needs and holiday plans, book a consultation! Happy Holidays!