The Holidays are now over, meaning, you’re likely trying to get back into your daily routine. Did your hectic Holiday schedule interfere with your family’s sleep? If so, you’re not alone! Let’s talk about how to get sleep back on track after all the holiday fun.
Holiday travel, missed naps, and late bedtimes can take a toll on your child. Now that the Holidays are over, you may be dealing with an overtired and cranky child. Now is the perfect time to make sleep a priority again.
Here are some tips on how to get sleep back on track for everyone in the family!
Review and Reset
The New Year is a great time to review and reset sleep environments, sleep routines, bedtimes, naps, and sleep habits. Check out our blog post about healthy sleep habits to learn some best practices you can introduce into your routine in 2023!
Clean up the Bedroom
After the holiday fun, did your child’s room become a bit disorganized, full of fun new toys and gadgets scattered all over the floor? If so, this could be acting as a distraction from sleep, and it might be time to get rid of some old toys that haven’t been played with in a while. An organized and comfy sleep environment will help the mind and body relax before going to bed. You could also try putting excess toys in a closet or another room to avoid their bedroom feeling cluttered.
When a child goes to bed, a dark and quiet sleep environment will help the mind and body relax and settle quicker and easier. A sound machine is also a great way to keep outside noises outside and acts as a cue that it’s time for sleep.
Freshen up the Sleep Routine
Having a consistent sleep routine before going into bed is essential for your child to make the transition from having fun and going to sleep. It’s hard to leave your favorite people, the sleep routine is a perfect transitional bridge to bedtime. It also allows for one-on-one time with your child after busy days. If your child is old enough, put together a chart with each step of the bedtime routine so they can follow along and stay on track. It’s lots of fun to make sleep charts together! Did your child get some new books during the holidays? If so, be sure to include them in the sleep routine. Or start new habits such as mindfulness.
Early Bedtime is Key
If bedtimes got off track, now is the time to reset! When a child’s bedtime is too late, it causes lots of disturbances, including night wakings and early morning rising. Logically, it might seem that the later I put my child to bed, the later they will sleep, but this will quickly backfire. Early bedtime is based on biology and not what our logical minds might be telling us. If a child goes to bed late, their bodies will produce a hormone called cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and it will tell the body to stay awake. A child that is producing this hormone will have a hard time settling in when being put to bed and throughout the night.
Let’s Talk Naps
Naps sometimes take the biggest hit during the holidays. They can get off schedule, and instead of being healthy restorative naps, they turn out to be junk naps. A junk nap is a nap that happens outside of the boundaries of the healthy biological sleep times or happens while in motion such as in a car seat. The key to getting naps back on schedule is to offer a consistent schedule and a consistent response to protests.
Review Sleep Habits
How is sleep going in your house? Is your child fighting bedtime? Are you dealing with bedtime battles? Does your child wake up during the night? If so, now might be the time to set up sleep rules and expectations. Children are amazing at their ability to learn new skills. If your child struggles with going to sleep and staying asleep, giving them the opportunity and tools to learn to settle themselves will go a long way in getting sleep on track and staying on track.
Do It Again and Again and Again
You may find that it takes a little bit of time to get things back on track for the sleep debt to be paid back, but your consistent and patient message will pay off as your family gets back to being a happy and well-rested unit.
About the Author
Lynn Matuszewski is a Certified Sleep Consultant with Good Night Sleep Site. Lynn has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education with a background in healthcare. Good Night Sleep Site has plans to help set up healthy sleep foundations for newborns, babies, kids to teens, and adults. If you would like to know more about any of the programs she offers, click here to set up a free 15-minute discovery call.