December 7th, 2020

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Five Sleep Tips for Infants and Toddlers During the Holiday Season

Five sleep tips for infants and toddlers during the holiday season

The holiday season is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the year for all of us! It gives us an opportunity to connect with family and friends to celebrate and make memories!

While we must indulge and have fun, we should also ensure that our babies get the required rest (sleep) per their age requirements so they are not overtired and in turn cranky during the fun season. Holidays, traveling, shopping may over stimulate babies and can affect their behavior, moods, and even their health.

A structured routine, even on holidays, weekends, or busy times helps to keep babies/children regulate the mental and physical functions normal. We can follow these simple sleep tips for infants and toddlers to help them and the family sail through the holiday season smoothly.

1. Follow your baby’s sleep schedule

Try and follow the same schedule/routine for your baby even during the holiday season to ensure they are getting the required hours of sleep. It is totally understandable that the schedule may require flexibility on a few days and therefore, as a compromise in the holidays, you can adopt the 80/20 rule. Try to stick to your baby's sleeping routine 80% of the time, only in 20% of conditions it can miss. If you missed the schedule on one day, make sure to stick to the baby’s schedule the day before and the next day.

2. Take care of nutritional requirements: 

Nutrition is one of the most important pillars of good sleep for babies. Therefore, it is also very important to adhere to a consistent eating schedule for infants and toddlers. While it may become a little challenging and tricky during holidays, it can be easily ensured with a little planning.

  • Feed your baby at the set time if you are calling guests home or feed them something before their usual time so they don’t get over-hungry
  • Carry small snacks when you are going somewhere to take care of those hunger pangs
  • Set limits on sweets and junk food as they overstimulate babies and must generally be avoided
  • It is important to be mindful of the food and the form in which it is served - offer it in “finger foods” form so it's easy to pick and eat instead of requiring elaborate seating.

3. Avoid introducing new things which may become a crutch later:

Try not to introduce too many (or any) new things to settle your baby during sleep time, including new people if possible. Babies thrive on consistency and many (or any) change can unsettle them quickly and it is, therefore, important to stick to people and ways as per their regular sleep routine.

4. Maintain the baby’s sleep environment

Another important thing to ensure is to maintain a conducive sleep environment -

  • Keep the room dark - carry your own darkening covers if you are going out
  • Maintain appropriate room temperature
  • Put your baby in comfortable clothing - always change before nap and night time to signal time to sleep
  • Remember to carry a couple of your baby’s soothing items - lovies etc.

5. Put your baby and family’s requirements first:

Holidays and events also mean tackling a lot of social pressure (read comments ;) ) regarding you and your baby’s schedule. Try to communicate clearly what is your family’s schedule and how it helps you keep things on track. Make sure to excuse yourself a little early for some time (if you are hosting) to take care of a quick sleep time routine and if you are out, you may consider leaving a little earlier to ensure sticking to bedtime schedule as much as possible. We all know missing a baby's bedtime always ends up with a lot of tantrums and it will make it more difficult to handle them. Having said that go with an open mind and do what works on a particular day and in a particular situation.

BONUS TIP - Enjoy the moment:

While enjoying your holiday or any function with a small baby may seem a bit challenging, it does not have to. As mentioned, with a little planning in ensuring your baby's food and bedtime, you can have a good time with your family and friends and make wonderful memories. Loosen up a bit, be confident, and remember to have loads of fun.

Happy Holidays!!

Sweet Dreams,


Your Pediatric Sleep Consultant

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