The holiday season is a wonderful time for family, friends and good cheer, but all the visiting can leave us feeling a bit frazzled by the time it’s over. It can also play havoc on our children’s sleep schedules and turn a once-sleeping baby into an overtired zombie!
Here are a few tips to help you keep things on track for the holidays:
* The biggest pitfall people run into when they travel is over-scheduling themselves. There are so many people and places to visit that after a few days your baby has missed most of their naps and bedtime has been hours earlier or later than your little one is used to. Some children handle this upset to their schedule pretty well and make due with “car naps” and late bedtimes, but others can have a compete meltdown within just a couple of days! I travel with my children all the time, but there is one “golden rule” that I never break — and that is I keep to their sleep schedules no matter what. If Aunt Betty wants to see the kids, then she needs to come at a time when they are not napping or in bed. It’s as simple as that. Now of course, the odd family member might snicker at my inflexibility, but I know that my children’s sleep needs have to be a top priority — and I protect it everywhere we go.
* Time changes can be a bit of a problem when traveling. If you are going away for more than 3 days, then it’s better to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time as quickly as possible. They may need an extra nap here and there to compensate, but adjusting quickly is better than trying to stick to your home time.
* You can do is to bring infant travel bed with you for non-interrupting sleep of your junior. If it is a long journey, bear in mind that the baby/child will more than likely fall asleep in the car, the problem there is that if the car seat is uncomfortable, they may wake up feeling groggy and in pain, creating a not so great start to the holiday! Some advice in this possible scenario is to research car seats, every car seat is different, just like every child is different, so planning ahead and seeing what types are out there, can stand you in way better stead for the journey. Even if your child can’t talk yet they will certainly let you know when they are uncomfortable.
* Try to keep things as close to home as you can. So if your child has their own room at home, then they may need their own room when they travel as well. (Our boys have spent the odd night in a laundry room here and there!) At the very least they should have their own bed and not be sharing one with you IF that is not what they are use to. A few nights in bed with you and you could find yourself “bed sharing” with your child for weeks or even months to come.
* Make sure you bring all the comforts of home such as your child’s favorite blankets, pillows, and stuffed sleep toys. This will make your child comfortable and keep the bedtime environment as close to home as possible.
* Some children test the boundaries when they are somewhere new. “Maybe the rules are not the same at Grandma’s house,” they think to themselves. This may mean that there is some crying or protesting at bedtime, which may be unusual for your child. Don’t panic, it’s just a test! Go ahead and check on them a few times to reassure them that everything is fine and it’s just time to sleep, but DON’T start bending your sleep rules too much! A night or two of “testing the waters” and finding that the rules haven’t changed should reassure your little one, and the result should be a pleasant’s night sleep for everyone. Happy trails, bon voyage, and sleep well!