The holiday season is upon us and for moms we can basically translate that to “more work and less schedule”. We don’t want to miss out on all the family activities but we also don’t want to be paying for it for days/weeks after, so how do we achieve balance?
Between Christmas shopping, family dinners, visitors, Santa visits, more sugar and all the Christmas movies how is there any time left for sleep? Keep in mind that 3/3 Wisemen preferred when Baby Jesus was sleeping in the manger, and that Frosty the Snowman was a jollier, happier soul when his little snowballs were fast asleep. Here are some of my best sleep solutions for kids over the holidays:
Prioritize - Decide which family events are an absolute must and which can be let go. Family dinner is always a must for us, but family movie-night we can do without. Oh and the two year old doesn’t need to say up until midnight to see Santa, unless your mother in law is going to give mommy a day off the next day!
Plan - If you’re a type A mom, this one won’t be hard - scratch that… Isn’t this what we try to do every damn day?! - Plan things for when your kids won’t be grouchy; this might mean doing family supper at 5pm instead of 7:30pm. It could also mean putting your little down for a nap so they can stay up a bit later without being wildly overtired.
Limit - Limit changing the “rules” and routines. Don’t do late bedtimes more than 1-2 days in a row, it’ll throw your kiddo(s) off and then you’ll have to adjust them back. Same applies for breaking the “rules” - 1 to 2 days in a row and then back to normal as much as you can.
Travel - Throw all the rules out the window WHILE you're travelling, but as soon as you get there try to mimic the sleep situation you have when you're at home.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry - but mostly drink, because it will make you more relaxed and you’ll care less about your crazy kids and their now completely f*ed up sleep schedule. Then once the kids are asleep, eat your feelings… because, coping skills!
Memories - Remember that memories are important… so make them! At the end of the day we can always get back on track once the holiday craziness is over. It may take 3-5 days of being a bit more strict and enforcing the boundaries (especially with toddlers), but the memories you make during the holiday season will last much longer than that!
Remember that at the end of the day, your kids will ruin the fun of the holidays for themselves and everyone around them if they aren't well rested - so be selfish and put them to bed! Then enjoy YOUR holiday season.
Lauren Polonich is a wife, mom of two, registered nurse in labour and delivery, and sleep consultant of BB Sleep Co. As a once very sleep deprived mama, she now coaches parents to teach their children healthy and independent sleep skills in a way that works for their family. You can also follow her through Instagram @bbsleepco.