The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Child’s Sleep Schedule on Track
Dec 2, 2022
Keep your child well-rested this Holiday season using the 80/20 Rule!
My favorite phrase that I use with families when working on their child’s sleep plan is to be consistent. Consistency is the key to getting sleep on track and keeping it on track. It is important to offer dedicated time with that consistent message so that your little one will have the opportunity to feel comfortable within the structure and routine that you have established.
Once you have your little one consistently getting age-appropriate sleep, then what? What happens this time of year when day outings become more frequent, and you have plans to go shopping or to holiday parties, or even plan to go on vacation? Do you have to work your life around your child’s newly regimented sleep schedule? The answer is no. You can make exceptions and still keep your child well-rested.
This is where the 80/20 Rule comes in.
What is the 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 Rule means that you stick to your healthy, consistent sleep schedule 80% of the time. You then can make exceptions to your schedule 20% of the time.
The 80/20 Rule allows you to “live life” and enjoy those special moments with your family. If your family is celebrating a birthday, a holiday, going on vacation, or has a doctor’s appointment during nap time, these are times you can use this rule. 80% of the time, you stick to the well-established healthy sleep schedule and then 20% of the time, you have the option to take naps on the go, skip naps, go off track on the timing of sleep, or have a later bedtime.
Each child is unique, and their sleep needs and temperaments are different. Some children are flexible and able to handle change and will bounce back without issue. Other children are more sensitive to change and have a harder time dealing with any deviation in timing. For these little ones, you might want to consider whether or not the 80/20 Rule is worth it for your family and be very picky about when you push the limits. If it makes more sense for your child’s needs, you might want to consider a 90/10 Rule instead.
Here are some tips when using the 80/20 Rule:
Start with a well-rested child. Fill up that sleep tank! A well-rested child will be able to handle changes better. If you are wondering what a healthy sleep foundation looks like, check out this article on healthy sleep habits.
Get right back on track as early as possible. Your child may push back a bit but be persistent. You already know that your child knows what to do. They just need a reminder and the security of their usual routine.
If possible, after a fun-filled day, offer an early bedtime so that any sleep debt is quickly replenished.
It is okay on busy days to shorten the routine a little if needed. Here is a great short holiday story to keep the spirit of the season: Holiday Countdown.
Enjoy the 20% flexible time with your family. Make memories, relax, and know that the healthy sleep habits that you have previously established will allow for more enjoyment during your special family time.
Parents, don’t forget to protect your sleep during this busy time! A well-rested family is possible when you plan ahead!
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.