Keeping your baby on a sleep routine during the holidays this year may seem like an uphill battle: Between stressing out over the pandemic, foregoing the supportive presence of family and friends, and trying to create new family traditions, a good night’s sleep is more important than ever. How can you stay consistent, upbeat and ensure a joyful, restful holiday for all?
As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Chief Education Officer at Restfully, I may be able to provide you with some tips to help you navigate these unusual holidays.
Meet our expert
Arielle is the Chief Education Officer at Restfully, a certified pediatric and adult sleep consultant, certified life coach, and holds a certificate in maternal mental health. She holds a BS in Journalism from Boston University and spent the first decade of her career in various roles in educational administration. Prior to Restfully, she was the owner of Expect to Sleep Again Sleep Consulting and Dream School Sleep Consultant Program.
Host holiday gatherings at home
Experts agree: The safest way to celebrate the season this year is with your immediate household. And here’s the silver lining: It’s easier to manage wake windows and sleep train your baby in her own environment. You can:
- Prevent overstimulation and distraction, so you baby can continue to go to bed and nap on time
- Prevent accidental car naps that throw your baby off schedule
- Prevent winter colds due to exposure to others, which can interfere with sleep
Make adjustments based on your baby
First, assess how adaptable your baby is. Does she bounce back easily after an “off” day? If so, congratulations! You may be able to maintain a loose schedule to avoid hitting the dreadful overtired zone, knowing that it’s ok for your baby to at a slightly different time.
Schedule activities around naps and bedtimes
If your baby tends to be disrupted by changes in routine, try scheduling holiday activities around naps and bedtimes. If planning to drive to a holiday gathering, plan ahead to have your baby take her nap in the car. (If you’re traveling, be sure you’ve taken proper safety precautions—for you, your hosts, and your baby).
Create restful environments on the move
Although traveling for the holidays is less likely this year, you may choose to spend a few nights away within your close group. At your destination, be sure to set up the room as best you can to promote restful sleep: Keep it dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable for your baby. You can find details on a how to set up a full bedtime routine here.
Keep sleepwear consistent
Whether you’re at home or on the go, I recommend that parents stay consistent with sleepwear to reinforce ‘bedtime’. Nested Bean’s Zen Sack™, Zen One™ and all Zen Sleepwear™ products are gently weighted to help babies fall asleep faster and sleep longer. (The secret is the Nested Bean Cuddle Pads™, which mimic a parent’s soothing touch). This sleepwear is so comforting, it actually helps babies look forward to sleep—an important factor when trying to establish predictable sleep routines.
The bottom line
Try not to be too anxious: Remember, this too shall pass. I’ve discovered that not all babies are adaptable to wildly different schedules or sleep environments—so take advantage of these unusual holidays at home to get a leg up on sleep training. Laying a foundation for good sleeping habits now will improve the health and well-being of your baby—and your family—for years to come. Happy Holidays!