How to Keep Your Family Well Rested Over the Holidays
Traveling this holiday season? Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling to see family and friends, the holidays typically bring late nights, missed naps and general disruption of regular routines. Keeping everyone well rested (including adults!) is one of the best ways to ensure that your family will enjoy the best that the holidays have to offer.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a prisoner to bedtime and nap time. There are lots of ways to be flexible while still being mindful of your children’s sleep needs. It’s best to keep in mind that the holidays are just a short period of time, so try to enjoy them without stress.
4 Tips for Successfully Managing Holiday Sleep
As much as we want you to take full advantage of what the holidays have to offer, the season is not without its challenges when it comes to keeping kids well rested. By working to minimize how often your kids get overtired during the holiday season, you’ll be making the time you spend together less stressful and more memorable.
- Front load their sleep.
Start by looking at your holiday schedule and make note of when the busiest days and late nights may fall. For the week leading up to those big plans, make sure that nap times (or quiet time for older kids) and bedtimes are kept on track. Your goal is to fill that sleep tank as best you can. When children go into the holidays feeling well rested, they will make it through a few late nights much better than if they go into the season already feeling overtired and sleep deprived.
- Be prepared.
Throughout your celebrations, if you know that your little one will need to nap at Grandma’s house, stay late at that Christmas Eve party, or sleepover at your aunt’s place, don’t forget to pack a travel sleep bag for your child. When you have positive sleep tools like black out blinds, a sound machine, their bedding, stories and a favorite lovey ready to go, that new sleep environment while be much easier to adjust to. Be sure to use your regular bedtime or nap-time routine wherever you are and whenever you can, as it will bring comfort and security and help your child sleep well.
- Honor their limits.
It can be tempting to accept every holiday invitation you get, but when you have young kids, you need to be realistic about how many late nights or extra busy days they can handle before you’re dealing with more meltdowns than you can count. While you know your child best, understand that different children have different limits. A sensitive sleeper, for example, will most likely be able to tolerate fewer changes to their sleep routines than other children.
- Set yourself up for parenting success.
This tip is for parents! Shuttling kids between family visits and asking them to be on their best behavior in unfamiliar environments is stressful. You and your partner will be able to handle all situations much better if you’re well rested too. Even though there are so many great holiday movies to watch, turn off the technology and head to bed early when you can. Being well rested will serve you well as you navigate a very busy time.
Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She serves on the faculty of The Family Sleep Institute and is host of the ‘This Girl Loves Sleep’ Podcast. She and her husband, Mike, live in Toronto, Canada with their 3 children (1+twins!) You can follow her expert advice in national publications like Macleans, Prevention Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families (baby to adults) and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. You can find out more about Alanna McGinn and how to work with a Good Night Sleep Consultant at goodnightsleepsite.com and follow Alanna and all her sleep tips on Instagram.