Take the stress out of your little one’s sleep this festive season

  • Ergobaby
  • Dec 4, 2022

With the holiday season around the corner, we asked Sarah Patel, a certified baby and toddler sleep consultant and founder of Teach To Sleep, to provide us with some tips on how we can support our little one’s sleep during the festive period.

Bedtimes and Nap Routines

All babies and children thrive on routine and consistency so if you can, stick to your usual nap and bedtime routines. It doesn’t have to be the exact routine, for example if your little one usually has a bath as part of their bedtime routine and you are visiting family who don’t have a bath or you arrive too late to do the bath, this isn’t going to impact sleep.

By doing a small part of your bedtime routine your little one will still understand that bedtime is coming. This might be as simple as, drawing the curtains and saying your ‘night night phrase’, singing a lullaby, feeding or rocking your little one to sleep and perhaps putting white noise on (if you use it).

Prioritise Naps

This is really important, especially if your little one has high sleep needs. If possible, plan your travel around naps and have somewhere for your little one to sleep if you are out for the day, for example a baby carrier or stroller.

Aim for your little one to get roughly the same amount of total day time sleep that they normally have but don’t worry too much about naps happening at exactly the same time as usual or the same number of naps as usual. Don’t be afraid to insist on making plans to accommodate your child’s sleep needs. You will know best if they are going to be a total grouch without a nap or a shorter nap than they are used to.

Staying out late

If you plan to stay out past their usual bedtime, aim for an extra or longer nap than usual in the day (if possible) or try putting them to bed wherever you are. This could be in a pram or travel cot and then transfer them to the car. Don’t worry if they wake on the transfer, most little ones will happily go back to sleep with the motion of the car. If they wake up when you arrive home and seem wide awake, have a little ‘down’ time and then once you see that they are showing their tired signals, start your usual bedtime routine.

Expect To Provide Extra Support

If you are staying away from home over the holidays, don’t expect your little one to sleep exactly the same as they do at home. It can be hard for all of us to sleep in unfamiliar environments so expect that your little one will need more support to fall asleep than when they are at home.

Take sleep comforts with you such as a comforter or teddy, familiar smelling bedding, a white noise machine and, or, a familiar bedtime story, as these can all help your little one feel more safe and secure at bedtime.

Over stimulation

This is inevitable but try to plan in some down time, this might involve going into a quiet room with just you and your baby, feeding or cuddling. Your little one may also be craving some of their own space, especially if they have been held by lots of family members and friends.

If you have a baby bouncer, I would recommend taking one as this can provide that space they may well be craving.

We hope these tips have provided you with some reassurance and practical advice on how you may be able to plan and support your little one’s sleep during the holidays.

If you are after any more sleep tips or advice, check out @teachtosleep Instagram account where she runs a weekly Q&A session or check out her website to find out information about online courses and one-to-one consultations.