Cheryl Fingleson, The Sleep Coach shares her tips for your child's sleep and routine over the Festive Season and holidays.
Cheryl says: "The much anticipated holiday season is time for fun, festivities, relaxation, visiting and travel but can become problematic when altered time-zones and disrupted sleep patterns make putting a baby or toddler to sleep extremely challenging.Potential difficulties can be mitigated by setting realistic expectations and preparing sufficiently."
Plan for travelling:
If travelling across multiple time-zones adjust the child's sleep schedule accordingly. Create a plan to navigate the travel, sleeping arrangements, increased stimuli and visiting demands. Plan meals, snacks, naps, entertainment and bedtimes.
If at all possible stay in one place as the 'new' temporary sleep routine will have a far greater chance of success:
Request that visitors come to your location. A consistent sleep space helps the child to recognise that sleep-time is immanent and also provides a reason to leave parties or activities in time for an agreeable bedtime.
When planning to have a late night, institute a calm activity or a late afternoon nap and expect that the routine may have to be adjusted:
A well-rested child will cope far better with the hustle and bustle. Children thrive on routine so allowing for some late nights, make sure that for the majority of nights the routine is kept close to normal.
Remember to include the 'lovey'. A new place or over-stimulating environment can be scary for small children:
Familiar items can help to create a safe and relaxing space. These may include a nightlight, white noise machine, blanket or favourite toy.
Check if you need to buy or borrow a black out blind:
Importantly make sure that any new accommodation has dark coverings on the windows otherwise it may be necessary to purchase a black sheet.
The whole family wants to have fun and regardless of the most conscientious planning, chances are that there will be some regression. On returning home the normal routine should immediately be adopted for a faster, smoother transition.
If staying home, scented candles, bright lights, visitors and rowdiness can all interrupt a routine.
Cheryl concludes: "Preparation and freethinking regarding festivities and activities will ensure that bedtime is not delayed, your child will not be overtired and the holiday season is enjoyed by all."