Are you and your toddler ready for traveling, late nights with family and friends, sweets and treats, and everything else that comes along with the holiday season? Today on the blog we have Nicole Canon helping us navigate this holiday season with our childrens sleep schedule. She is a certified sleep expert and here are her tips on how to survive the holidays with a toddler.
Although the holidays can be difficult with a young baby, one positive is that when they get older, it gets a little easier! However, sleeping during the holiday rush can be a little more challenging with your toddler. Here are a few ways to keep your active toddler sleeping well during this active season!
Toddlers rarely want to stop what they are doing to go sit in a dark room and sleep, so you have to be a little more creative in your ways of getting them to sleep. My biggest recommendation is to try and travel during a nap period. This might mean waiting to leave for your destination until midday. Or if you have a long ride ahead of you, start early, make a mid-morning stop somewhere your child can eat and run around, and then get back in for the afternoon nap time and drive the rest of the way. If you are flying, it is often helpful to plan a flight around your travel times as well.
Keep an eye on what your child is eating especially prior to bedtime. While there is no definitive link between sugar and hyperactivity, you wouldn’t be able to tell that with my kids after they’ve had a cookie! The bigger culprits are caffeine-containing treats such as chocolate or soda. So keep an eye on what your child is eating surrounding their sleep times.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a parent that uses screen-time to her benefit. When we travel in the car or on a plane, my children watch their iPads. And sometimes before bed they watch TV. But studies have found (here’s one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30311830), that the blue light from electronics can delay melatonin. So if you are in a house with the music turned up and screens on and holiday lights everywhere, you may find it a little challenging to get your toddler to wind down for sleep. Keep this in mind and try and cut off these stimulating lights about an hour or two before you want your toddler asleep.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our toddler will refuse to nap with all of the fun activities during the holidays. In those cases, always err on the side of an earlier bedtime. I look at it this way: often a toddler is awake about 5-6 hours between nap and bedtime when they are on a 1-nap schedule. However, if your child skips a nap, they may be awake 12-13 hours!!!! So, rather than worrying that bedtime is earlier than normal and therefore they will wake too early in the morning, opt for an earlier bedtime on those skipped nap days. Bedtime may be even 1-2 hours earlier than normal but your toddler may surprise you and end up sleeping all night through to their normal morning wake-up.
And I’ll say this time and time again! Be flexible. When you are running from place to place and constantly away from home, things don’t always go according to plan. But when you are back home, get right back on track and you’ll have the greatest chance of success!
For more expert tips from our resident sleep expert Nicole visit here here: https://www.sleepy-mama.com/