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8 Sleep tips for the Christmas holidays

 
Even babies and kids who are usually good sleepers may find it difficult to get enough sleep or settle during the busy Christmas period. So here are some useful sleep tips for the Christmas holidays to help ensure your baby & kids sleep is not disrupted during this hectic time of year.
Even babies and kids who are usually good sleepers may find it difficult to get enough sleep or settle during the busy Christmas period.

It’s a crazy time for the whole family with lots happening and trips away, and often your kids sleep can be the last thing on your mind.

So here are some useful sleep tips for your kids over the Christmas holidays to help ensure their sleep is not disrupted during this hectic time of year.
 

8 Sleep tips for kids over the Christmas holidays

 

1. Don’t skip bedtime routines


Children, especially toddlers, feel more secure with routines. Routines let them know where they’re up to in the day and what’s expected of them.

Unfortnately when you’re busy and getting home later than normal or you’re away on holiday, it’s very tempting to skip the bedtime routine. However this could lead to more trouble than it’s worth!

If you’re pressured for time you can shorten the routine. Perhaps skip a step or two, or only read one book, but try not to forgo the routine all together.



2. Avoid over-stimulation before bed


If you’ve been rushing around during the day, you’ll want to give your child as much time as possible to wind down in the evening, not hype them up more.

Try to limit sugary foods and drinks before bed. If they’re hungry, a banana makes a good pre-sleep snack.

Also have a no-screen rule for at least an hour before bed. Screen time will stimulate their wake cycle and make it more difficult for them to sleep.

The silly season is a great time to start some quiet family Christmas traditions that don’t require late nights.

Perhaps read a Christmas book together, draw a picture for family (or Santa) or play some of those old fashioned (age-appropriate) board games. Any form of quiet play is good.



3. Consider a babysitter


It’s no fun taking a young child along to a social occasion if you don’t think they’re going to settle well.

Instead, consider booking a babysitter who can stay home and continue their usual routine. We all sleep better in our own beds.

You’ll get to enjoy some child-free time, and you won’t have to worry about them missing out on sleep!



4. Travel during sleep times


If you’re travelling with young kids during the Christmas holidays, try to do so during nap time or at night to help preserve your little one’s sleep.

Make sure you take along any comfort item your child uses to sleep with.

Having their own blanket or favourite soft toy will help them settle more easily.



5. Recreate their sleep environment


If there are changes to your usual sleeping arrangements, either because you have people staying or you’re away from home, try and recreate your child’s sleep environment as much as possible.

Make sure they have their own pillow, favourite sleep toy or blanket (and don’t forget the brolly sheet if you use one).

If your child is sharing a room with you (when they normally wouldn’t), try and create a separate zone for them.

Use a portacot, toddler bed or separate mattress behind a screen or chair, or in an alcove (be creative). This helps you and your child have some separate space if you need it.

White noise and black-out blinds can help shield unfamiliar sounds and unwelcome light too.



6. Pack healthy snacks


If bedtime or nap time is going to be delayed, have some healthy snacks with you.

Fruit sugars (fruit, dried fruit or fruit purees) are great to help keep energy levels up (yours and theirs).

Alternatively have some easy healthy finger foods on hand to eat on the go.

Be prepared before you need them; this will save you a lot of stress later on.

 

7. Create calm


Young babies in particular can get over stimulated very quickly, but so can any child at their limit.

When you’re out and about in busy places like shopping malls, try and shield your baby. If they are young enough use a safe cover or light blanket over their pram so they can play with a few safe toys in this zone.

But do limit your time out with a young child if at all possible.



8. Lower your expectations


If you have a new baby, or your child is now at an age to get excited about Christmas, consider which activities are really suitable for their age.

If your child is normally asleep by 7pm, keeping them up late to see the Christmas lights (at least without an extra nap) is possibly not the right Christmas activity for this year.

Try and find some activities that fit around naps and bedtimes. This will also leave something new and special for when they’re old enough to enjoy it without missing out on too much sleep.
 

More sleep articles to enjoy


Source: This article was written by Kim Corley, a certified sleep sense consultant at Cherished Sleep www.cherishedsleep.co.nz.
Image source: bowerpower
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