It’s not long now until Christmas! Here at Little Dreams we are very excited to be spending some quality time with our little ones over the festive period. There is so much excitement at this time of year; travelling to see family and friends, different activities, later nights and of course the inevitable extra sugar that Father Christmas brings! All these things can impact children (and adults!) sleep – and their moods. So, here are our top tips for coping this Christmas:
- An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your little one spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, they may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on the second day they will be so tired they forget how to settle themselves and cry…a lot. It is very important to stick to your routine; being away (or having a little one who is not settling) will make it all too easy to revert to your own familiar ways and you will be back to square one. At the very least, stick to the bits of the routine which work for you and your little one.
- Try not to have too many things going on at once during the festive period. There is so much stimuli at Christmas, the presents, the lights, films, sweets, relatives…the list goes on. The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves, and their children. Try to stick to your child’s routine during Christmas and let them have some ‘down time’ to recover from all the excitement. This should mean they will get good sleep to allow them to enjoy the fun, without having a meltdown when it all becomes too much!
- If you are staying away or at relatives’ houses over Christmas, it’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at grandma’s house, especially over Christmas when everybody is a little more relaxed. The best way to handle this is to not do too much different than you would if it happened at home. You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you stick to your routine and maintain consistency, within the first night or two, your little one will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.
- Whatever you do, don’t forget your little one’s favourite sleeping toy and/or blanket if you are going away. They are probably going to need the comfort and familiarity, especially with all the new toys around!
- Christmas eve will probably be when the excitement levels peak! So in the run up to bedtime, try to implement the following:
- Ensure your little one has plenty of exercise and outside time during the day to burn off all that extra, excited, energy. Don’t do this too close to bedtime, though as that won’t help them settle.
- Ensure you limit sugar during the day, especially during the evening. Too much sugar will give your children an energy boost, just before they are going to bed!
- Ensure they have some calm and quiet time before bedtime which can include a quiet game and ensure there’s no screen time at least one hour, ideally two before bed. Make sure that putting the mince pies and carrots out (if you do this) is not the last thing they do so they are not too excited going up the stairs.
- Stick to your usual bedtime and bedtime routine so that there’s not a lot of change on an exciting night, to ensure they are not overtired!
Remember, an overtired child will usually look exactly the same as an active and excited child would on Christmas Eve. That’s why It’s important for you to stay calm and consistent at bedtime during the festive period in order for your little one to have enough sleep to enjoy the magic!
If, however, it all goes wrong or you find yourself with a child who can’t sleep or wont sleep the rest of the year, we can help. We are now booking appointments for the new year so please do get in touch so we can help you to have a restful 2020! We wish you a very merry (and sleep filled) Christmas!