Helping Your Little One Avoid the Holiday Fatigue....

Oh, the holidays.  I hate to be cliche but I really just love them.  October through December make the rest of the year tolerable.  Feel-good movies, comfort food, holiday music, decorations, sitting by the fire, and best of all...the anticipation!  My triplets started their Halloween countdown about 45 days beforehand.  A bit early in my opinion but again, it's the anticipation that adds a level of excitement to this time of year.

With all the planning, traveling, shopping, organizing, and anticipating events to comes, we often overlook one of the most important aspects that can make or break your holiday experience...


There's nothing worse than being at a home that isn't yours, sharing a room with your child(ren), and dealing with a crying baby in the night.  A night like that could ruin your Christmas morning because seriously, who wants to get out of bed at 5am when you've been up since midnight rocking your baby so his/her crying won't wake all the other family members?  After a few nights like that, you just want the holidays to be over so you can get back home and try to catch up on sleep.  Often times, however, the sleep habits that were started with your little one on vacation follow you home so all those hopes of a good night sleep, never come to fruition.  The vicious cycle of sleeplessness, ALL STARTED DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON, continues.

This holiday season shouldn't be one of dread, worry, anxiousness, and fatigue just because you have an infant or a toddler.   Whether traveling, hosting, or just keeping it simple, I will outline some tips to help you anticipate any sleep issues that might occur.  This will ensure that everyone will be well-rested and enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

1).  You are going to hate me when I say this but when traveling, stick to your normal schedule as best as you can!  Obviously long car rides or flights times may interfere with your 'normal' nap and bedtimes.  Again, the key phrase is 'as best as you can.'  That doesn't mean you have to turn into the Grinch of Christmas in order to stay on schedule.  Be flexible but also keep the clock in mind amidst the holiday chaos.

2).  Recreate the home sleeping environment as much as possible.  If your baby usually doesn't sleep in your bed at home, she shouldn't sleep in your bed on vacation.  Bring along a pack-n-play, if possible, so your baby has a separate sleeping space (even if it has to be in your room).  Bring along the same blankies, lovies, soothers, sound machines, etc... that will help in the bedtime process while away from home.  I can't tell you how many sound machines we've left in hotel rooms or family's houses while on vacation.  So check carefully before you leave!

3).  Have your child practice sleeping in their pack-n-play (or whatever sleeping space you choose).  Set it up in their bedroom and use it for a few nights prior to leaving.  This will acclimate them to the new space and make you more comfortable knowing that if they can have a good night sleep at home in the pack-n-play, it's also possible when you are on vacation!  When we traveled with the triplets, we bought them sleeping tents since those were smaller to pack.  We did several run-throughs (which actually went horrible) but when Thanksgiving came, they slept perfectly in the tents.  So I can definitely testify that practice helps!

4).  Always have some pajamas and a bedtime bottle on hand.  Sometimes we can get caught up in lines or activities and when we realize what time it is, bedtime has passed.  Just slip your little one into the pajamas, put on a fresh diaper, fill his/her belly, and don't feel bad letting him fall asleep in the car on the way home.  Then you can quietly transfer him into the house without all the stimulation of a bedtime routine.

5).  Often times when we travel for the holidays, it is to a different time zone.  My biggest suggestion is to change over to your new time zone cold turkey.  It'll take a couple nights to really adjust but it helps mentally to just go with what the clock says.

6).  I don't think anyone ever complained about having 4-5 hours in the evening with just the adults.  Don't be afraid of the early bedtime!  Kids can be exhausted from all the hustle and bustle and I think it's just torture to keep them up late.  If family members ask why you are putting your baby to bed so early when your baby seems perfectly happy, you reply, "I'd like to put a happy baby to bed rather than a screaming, overly tired baby!"  Right??  Furthermore, if you child does any protesting at bedtime, it will be early enough that no one else will be trying to sleep so they won't mind a bit of crying.  Step away from the group for an hour to get your child to sleep and then enjoy the rest of your evening.

7).  Opt out of certain activities so your child can take a nap.  Attending the Festival of Trees with a toddler who is throwing one fit after another will never be as much fun as sitting back at the house, resting your legs while your toddler takes an afternoon nap.  Obviously there will be some activities you'd rather not miss so for this one, I say choose your battles wisely!

8).  Lastly, try not to start habits such as rocking or feeding to sleep just to get quick results.  Take the time to let them fall asleep independently because they will wake less frequently during the night.  Also, you won't have bad habits coming home with you that will need to be broken.

A well-rested baby and/or toddler means a more enjoyable holiday season for your whole family.  If you would like more tips for traveling or would even like to get some good habits established before leaving on vacation, reach out to me and I'd be happy to offer my services.

Happy holidays!!

Anxious to get your child sleeping through the night?

Unsure how to get a good nap schedule in place?

Nervous about transitioning your toddler to a big kid bed?

Wondering where your perfect sleep went?

There is so much discussion and SO many questions when it comes to your child's sleep.  Parents and caregivers are often looking for solutions to get their babies sleeping soundly through the night.  Surprisingly, most Prenatal or Prepared Parenting classes don't discuss infant sleep beyond crib safety so all the sudden you find yourself sifting through hundreds of books at the library or spending hours on the internet just to figure out questions such as how many naps your child(ren) should take or how long your child(ren) should be awake! 

Furthermore, we've all said that so much changes in the first year and amidst all that development and growth, sleep changes too.  For example, from birth to one year, naps can go from six to one, awake time can go from 45 minutes to three hours, overnight feedings can go from four to zero.  That's a lot of change within a short amount of time!  That doesn't include swaddling, binky issues, standing, crawling, etc...  So just when you think you've got it down and your Journey to Dreamland has been successful, things change and you're at the library or on the internet again!  It can be exhausting and infuriating.  In my time working as a certified infant/child sleep consultant, I have found that no two families can work off of the same sleep plan!  Each family has it's own unique set of circumstances regarding their children's sleep struggles, sleep arrangements, family dynamics, work schedules, and medical considerations.  

As a Certified Infant/Child Sleep Consultant, I can answer those questions, show you how to implement an age-appropriate sleep plan catered to your unique circumstance, and be your personal cheerleader as you work toward a better night sleep.  A recent study suggested that 25% of children experience type of sleep issue during childhood, the most common being bedtime difficulties and night wakings.

  No matter what the sleep issue, my personalized sleep plans and email consultations will provide you with the solutions to get your family the sleep you deserve!

 Start your JOURNEY TO DREAMLAND tonight!

 Check my 'How I Got Started' page to learn more about me or go directly to my Email Consultations or Personalized Sleep Plans pages to see what I offer. I conduct in-person consultations in the Midland, Michigan area.  I can conduct sleep consultations for out-of-area clients over the phone or by email. I also conduct group presentations at schools, businesses and Mom’s clubs.