The upcoming holidays may be something you’re looking forward to—if you’re not a mom with a thousand things to do every day. When I think of the holidays coming up, I think of the thousand things I need to do every day. And, now I have the pleasure of thinking about getting the house “visitor ready” and feeding a group of 20. I’m not a maid, yet somehow the boys just don’t seem to see all the little things that need to be put away when the in-laws are coming over. I know many moms can relate to this parody. The reality is that many of us feel like burned out mothers, truth be told.
One thing you don’t want to worry about this holiday season is your baby or toddler’s sleep! So, here are 3 tips to help you get through your holidays with a sleep schedule more intact:
Ignore the in-laws (and maybe your own mom)
When your family pleads with you to “please keep the baby up a little longer. I never get to see her!” reply “Unless you want to stay for a week to deal with the aftermath, then no.” Okay, you probably need to be nicer than that, but my #1 tip is not to keep the baby, toddler, or preschooler up too late if at all humanly possible. Overtired children do several things: a) get cranky and then your family might blame your parenting, b) wake up earlier the next day, which will make you cranky, or c) wake up a lot overnight, which will interrupt the adult fun you can have after bedtime. So, please, do everyone a favor and put the children to bed, so you can have “adult” fun in peace and have your child wake up later the next day!
For the love of God, let your child nap
Whatever you do, try not to ever, ever skip the naps! Whether you have a four-month-old taking 3 or 4 naps or a two-year-old taking just one nap, try not to skip the first one or two naps of the day. If you have a long drive ahead of you and your child does not nap in the car, leave first thing in the morning or after the nap. Your child will be much better behaved over dinner. I promise. Try to stick to the schedule as much as possible during the holiday fun. Otherwise, by day two or three, sleep (and behavior) may be unraveling before your (and your family’s!) very eyes.
Ask for help
You have enough on your plate, from cleaning to cooking; now’s the time to start one of those honey-do lists. Put your partner/husband to work! Like small children, sometimes you have to give them a couple of choices to make them think they are independent. So, instead of trying to do it all yourself or hoping they magically begin to see the dining room that needs a new table setting, ask, “Do you want to put Timmy down to bed or peel these carrots for the carrot cake? Alexa can turn on some music while you peel and maybe you can pour us some wine. I’ll be down in a minute.”
Doing these three things will do wonders for your holiday season and sleep schedule. Two things are likely to happen if you do. First, you can stick to your sleep schedule a whole lot easier and you will have less sleep problems to fix after the holidays are over. And, second, your husband/partner might just live through this holiday season. And, if they’re really lucky, a third thing might happen in that you’ll actually have some energy for some “couple time.”
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems—he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs and more. She overcame her son's sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents find their child's sleep." If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at the Baby Sleep Site can help. Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today.