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Keeping on track with sleep during the Holiday

thanksgiving dinner and kids

I'm sure many of you have already been running around all day trying to get all the things done in order to provide yet another memorable holiday. If you have worked with me before, I wouldn't be surprised to hear many of you say that you are also worried about how to maintain great sleep even though you are driving across the state, or sleeping with your baby in your parents guest room, or your mother in law wants dinner right at 3:00 which is in the middle of your child's nap.

First of all, take a deep breath. One off day probably won't derail any hard work that you have already put in. But, just because I know you like a plan, let's go through some scenarios.

  1. You have to drive a ways away during your child's nap time. While it is true that movement naps are not as restorative as crib/ bed sleep, but it is better than no sleep. So if it is unavoidable but to be in the car during your child's nap... let them sleep on the way. Just remember, an early bedtime may be in order to make up for it.

  2. Your scheduled meal is right when your child is supposed to nap. My suggestion here would be... let your child nap during the meal and save them a plate for when they wake up. Hey, you may even enjoy a meal without someone sitting on your lap. If you are the guests, I suggest bringing a pack and play or basinet for them to sleep in. Don't forget any lovies or comfort items and a portable sound machine to drown out all the laughter you will be engaged in.

  3. Your child fell asleep in the car on that way but it wasn't their scheduled nap. On this one, you may just have to accept that the naps may be a little funky for the day. If your child falls asleep in the car, wake them up as soon as you get to your destination. You will then want to keep them up for an hour or so (even if it pushes into their normal nap time) before attempting to put them down in a crib for sleep. Again, you may need an early bedtime if naps were off.

  4. You have to share a room at a family members house. I suggest setting up the room as soon as you arrive so that it isn't left until bedtime to sort out. If you have no option but to share a room, try to arrange the room so your child is in their own space. Again, I would suggest bringing a pack and play, bassinet, blow up mattress or cot with you if your child doesn't normally sleep in bed with you. Bring a sound machine to drown out each other's normal sleep noises and bring any comfort items your child may need.

Regardless of what your plans are for the holiday, remember that while being surround by loved ones can be a fun and exciting time for your child, it may also be very stimulating and overwhelming. If your child is showing signs of being overstimulated or overwhelmed, provide them with small breaks away from others. One of the best ways to wind down from an exciting day is a calm and predictable bedtime. No matter where you are sleeping, attempt to complete bedtime in the same way you do every night at home to cue your child's brain and body that it is time to relax for sleep.

I hope this helps to take one worry off your plate for the day. Happy Thanksgiving.

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