Managing Babies’ and Children’s Sleep During the Festive Season: Tips for Keeping Routines Amidst Holiday Cheer

This time of the year, in the run up to Christmas, is so busy for most of us, especially when you have babies and young children. It’s such a lovely time when families often get together – grandparents travelling to stay with their grown up children and their family, or young families going to stay with parents. It’s a time when babies and young children can very quickly get out of their routines and sleeping patterns. Children often have later bedtimes, they may have cousins around too and the excitement and noise levels can reach fever pitch! Also baby may have been sleeping in his own room at home, but now has to share a room with mummy and daddy too! That can mean he wakes when parents go to bed, however quiet they are.

I often find after Christmas that many parents get in touch with me as they return home with overtired babies and children who are completely out of routines and waking lots in the night. Managing babies’ and children’s sleep during the festive season can be difficult, but not impossible!

So, if you’re going away this Christmas to stay with your family and you’re concerned about how its all going to go – I say don’t worry too much about it and make sure you all have a wonderful time! If you’re travelling by car, leave at a good time so that baby can have a nap on the way. Either a day time nap or in the evening so that when you arrive he can have a feed and go straight in his cot. If your children are over a year then it can be good to give them their supper, put them in their night things, and travel in the evening, then straight into cot or bed when you arrive. Our grandchildren would often arrive in the Pyjamas and want a bowl of cereal before they went to bed!

Many families fly overseas for Christmas and go into new time zones. I always say to put baby straight into the new time zone, be flexible with feeds and sleep so that he settles in quickly. With older children you can be more flexible. Often babies settle well when you’re away, but you may find they struggle a bit when you return home.

If you have a baby under a year old then try as much as possible to keep to your feeding/eating routines. Also try and keep to your normal bedtimes as much as possible.

If you have older children, from about two years in age upwards, you can certainly be more flexible with meal times and bedtimes. But, remember when you return home you may find it tricky to get them back into their normal bedtime routines again. It may take a few days. However, if they are normally good settlers, and good sleepers, it shouldn’t take long for them to settle down again.

So be flexible, enjoy Christmas and your time with your family and friends, as it’s such a special time. If you are looking for ways on managing babies’ and children’s sleep during or after the festive season, do get in touch with me when you return home.

Have a wonderful Christmas!