By Janine Rudwick – Good Night Consultant
The festive season can be a busy and stressful time for parents, especially those with young children. Often, the festive schedule also includes travelling and sleeping elsewhere with family or on holiday, complexities that can flood a parent with anxiety about what this may mean for their little ones’ sleep. Here are some tips for surviving the festive season with a baby or toddler.
- Take some time in the lead-up to the festive season to sit down with your partner and create a schedule.
- Make a list of all the things you need to do during the festive season and prioritise them. This will help you to stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Consider your upcoming social commitments that are not kid friendly and make sure you have babysitting arranged in advance to cover them.
- If possible, try to schedule your outings with baby for the morning or afternoon. This will give your baby a chance to nap at their usual time.
- Have your child’s usual comfort items for sleep, such as their dummy or taglet, available when out during nap- or bedtime.
- Ensure you have all your baby’s food, snacks and milk packed for your outings.
- Have a comfortable and safe space available for them to sleep, if possible, such as a bassinet for naptime and a cot for nighttime sleep.
- Take some entertainment with when travelling or visiting friends and family or going to a restaurant, especially for your toddler.
- When out during their bedtime, do your bath- and bedtime routine before the outing.
- Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared to be flexible with your little one’s schedule.
- Go with the flow. When you are out during nap- or bedtime, your little one is likely to nap shorter than usual or, if they don’t want to miss any action, even skip a nap or have a late bedtime. This is not something you have much control over. However, these situations are usually the exception. Adjust their schedule as needed.
- Be prepared to adjust your plans. For example, you might need to stay home with your child or bring them with you to social events if a babysitter has cancelled. Or, if your child is really unhappy and you have tried everything, you may need to leave early.
- Let go of perfectionism. It’s okay if things don’t go perfectly.
Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the festive season with your child. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect. Just relax and enjoy this special time of year.