Whether you are traveling across the country, traveling 5 minutes, or going to multiple houses during the holiday, it can be hard to keep a schedule. Especially when the kids have other cousins and friends they’re so excited to play with, new toys to enjoy, and sugary desserts, who wants to nap and miss all of the action? The term we love to use is FOMO… Fear Of Missing Out. Even I get it sometimes, so I can’t imagine how the kids feel!
If you aren’t traveling far and you have a good sleeper on your hands, Christmas day shouldn’t affect their long-term sleep and they should get back on track immediately. But if your child struggles with sleeping, this one day off could mean a long night of waking up or even multiple days of poor sleep. So if you find the opportunity to put them down for a nap or bed while the party continues, do it! My kids are amazing sleepers and I still find the chance to put them down for a nap no matter where we are, that way they are rested and can have a later bedtime without a major meltdown.
Here are some tips to have a happy and well-rested baby or toddler during your eventful holiday, whether it’s just one day of parties, or a week of vacation somewhere else:
- Bring a pack n play or bassinet. This allows for them to sleep comfortably so you can enjoy the party knowing they are in a safe environment.
- Put them somewhere it can be dark during naps. Sometimes just a towel over the blinds will darken the room enough. Black trash bags taped over the windows are also a great option. Or even easier, a walk-in closet or a big bathroom where there aren’t windows so it is already dark.
- Drown out the party noise. I simply downloaded a “rain machine” app on my phone, and just stick my phone halfway under the door, so that if for some reason I need my phone, or it dies, I can still grab it without bothering them.
- Pack something that is part of their normal bedtime routine. For instance, I bring one of their favorite books as well as their “musical bunny”. (Every night we go to their room, read a few books and then they have a bunny where you pull its tail, and it plays 1 minute of music while we leave the room). As I stated in my last post, do as much of their normal routine as you can to make going down in a different place easier. That also means the same stuff they sleep with like a pillow, blanket, lovey, pacifier, etc. (Please remember to still practice safe sleep habits based on their age)
- Keep a consistent schedule. Being on vacation can be hard to keep a schedule because you’re always on the go or visiting different people. But take a pack n play to the people’s homes you visit. Make sure napping happens as much as possible. If naps happen to be inconsistent, poor, or non-existent, don’t be afraid of an early bedtime to make up for that lost sleep during the day.
- Stand up for your sleep schedule. When visiting people wanting to spend as much time as possible with your kids, it can be easy to give in when they ask “oh, just 1 more hour to spend time with them”, or “they don’t need a nap now”. Be honest! For me, I tell them, if they don’t nap now, they’ll just be miserable to hang out with, or won’t sleep well through the night, and this mom likes her sleep… and happy kids! Nobody wants to hang out with an overtired, cranky child.
- Prepare for different time zones. You can get ready for the time difference before you go, or during the first few days of the trip. Review my other blog about traveling to a different time zone if this is the case for you. https://monkeyroosleep.com/2018/07/08/fun-in-the-sun-in-a-different-time-zone/
Remember that it’s okay to have some late nights or a few poor quality naps, but do your best to stay on track most days, and your trip should be filled with happy kids. Plus, you won’t have to put in extra work when you’re back home.
Hope everybody has a happy holiday and feel free to contact me with any questions about your vacation plans!