The holiday season is filled with long day trips, delicious food and an overload of excitement. It’s busy and it’s FUN! But, by golly, it’s also exhausting. Especially if you’ve got little humans in the family who really need their sleep.
It’s not unusual for kids to experience a little post-holiday sleepy hangover. And when regular routines resume, it can be tough to get them back into their old bedtime habits. Suddenly, it's back-to-work/school/daycare, and no one is sleeping as well as they were. So, we asked (okay, bribed) our sleep expert, Jen, for her tips to get the whole family back on track.
1. Remember naptime? Bring it back. (For the kids.)
If you’ve been letting your baby or toddler snooze in the car, on the beach, or poolside while you read the fourth Bridgerton book, you’ll know too well that those naps are usually short-lived compared to shut-eye sessions in their usual sleep space. To help your little one start catching up on lost zzzs, aim to do at least one of their day naps at home. Kids almost always sleep better in familiar, quiet and dark surroundings.
2. Ease everyone out of those holiday sleep-ins.
The first rule of holidays: No alarm clocks! (The second rule of holidays: Cinnamon scrolls every day!) It might feel all kinds of wrong to wake up at 6am when you’re in full vacay mode, but if you know that, post-holidays, your mornings need to start at a certain time so you can all get out the door stress-free, start trying to get the day going early. In the last week of the holidays, wake your kids up at their regular time – it’ll help to reshift their body clock, and make the transition back into routine a little smoother.
3. Start saying ‘night night’ a little earlier.
All that holiday fun can really disrupt bedtime. (Terrific news for kids who hate hitting the sack!) But as much as they might beg for ‘just ten more minuuuutes!’, late nights can take their toll on little bodies, turning delightful children into cranky overtired rascals. The best way to catch up on any lost slumber is by setting an earlier bedtime, because we all get our best sleep in the hours before midnight! (Even grown-ups.)
4. Take it slowly to minimise your bedtime battles!
A tricky side effect of consistent late nights can be that your child’s circadian rhythms adjust to a new, later bedtime. Simply whipping back to your ‘old bedtime’ may not be enough! If bedtime has been pushed out by more than an hour, try bringing it back by 15-minutes every three nights, so the jump isn’t such a shock. It might take a week or two, but you’ll settle back into your sleep routine. With sweet dreams about holiday cinnamon scrolls.