Only three weeks left until Christmas! It’s time for last minute shopping, late night wrapping and my favourite, holiday parties. While the holidays are a delightful time for children and parents alike, it can also wreak havoc on your children’s regular night time routine. From the moment my first child turned 2 months old, I have been a stickler for night time routine. When I had another child they were thrown in the mix and the routine continued. We start winding down at the same time, follow the same steps every night and I try to have my kids in bed at the same time every night. I’m not a saint. There are definitely days I stray. However, I have also never had difficulty putting my kids to sleep.
With the holidays right around the corner and festivities in full swing, its very important that parents remain on schedule. With all the additional distractions, parents must be extra diligent to manage nighttime routines and ensure their children are getting the uninterrupted sleep they require for healthy development. Nobody can enjoy the season if its full of holiday meltdowns.
A good night’s rest is very important to health of a growing child. It’s the time where their bodies regenerate and repair any damage that has occurred throughout the day, as well as assists with muscle repair, memory consolidation and the release of hormones to regulate growth and appetite. Things like bad dreams and nighttime wetting can be disruptive to a child’s sleep and can have an overall impact on their development. Late nights or loss of bedtime routine, even if just for the holidays, can further increase the chances of an interrupted sleep cycle.
GoodNites® has partnered with child and family therapist Michele Kambolis to put together some great tips to help your child rest easy every night – no matter what’s keeping your little one up! These tips have been super helpful in our home and I wanted to share them with you in hopes of them helping you get through the holiday season!
1. Limit excitement before – Although it may not be their original bed time, bringing down the excitement level roughly 30 mins before bedtime can help prepare your child for bed. Limit stimuli like TV, video games or large crowds and look for quieter activities like reading or listening to calming. This will help your child transition from the busyness of the day and get a restful sleep.
2. Create a Sleep Inducing Environment – Could you sleep at your desk surrounded by unfinished work and deadlines loom? Of course you can’t! Your mind would be racing a mile a minute trying to complete all the tasks in front of you. For kids, their ‘work’ is playing with toys. When you put them to bed in a room full of toys, their brains will want to interact with them. A stuffy or doll to cuddle with at bedtime is sufficient as they reinforce the idea of relaxation, but all other toys should be stored in bins or out of sight. They should be in comfortable clothing, on soft sheets, in a quiet area. If they are afraid of the dark, use a dim nightlight.
3. Avoid endless requests – We have all been there, you put your child to bed and two seconds later they are up requesting a glass of water, then they have a question and another and another. Half an hour to an hour goes by and your child is still not a sleep. The best way to beat the endless requests is by tackling all possible requests before saying goodnight and setting a firm deadline. Encourage a drink of water when brushing teeth, spray room with ‘monster spray’ to get rid of monsters, ask them if they have any questions, then firmly tell them it is time to go to sleep for the night.
4. Teach your child to self soothe – One of the hardest tasks to do for a Mom is teaching their kids to calm themselves down. I know that I always want to rush in there and save the day, but it is a valuable skill for them to learn. This can be done with the comfort of a stuffy toy, breathing exercises, visualization (i.e. think of our time at Disney if you get scared) and relaxation techniques. When the lights go out and the anxiety and fears begin, they will know how to cope with it!
5. Remove Sleep Disturbances! – As a parent, once your child is a sleep, you pray nothing wakes them up. Unfortunately, in our family there is a history of nighttime bed wetting. Waking up in the middle of the night to a crying child covered in pee, is not beneficial to anyone’s health. Not only are you pulled out your REM cycle, but you have to change your child and remake the bed too. This is time consuming and can result in difficulty to falling back to sleep.
GoodNites® Bedtime Pants help to ensure that you have restful night, by eliminating the disruptions of bed wetting. They are plush and super absorbent to keep your child comfortable and dry all night long no matter what position they sleep in. Confident and relaxed, hopefully they will sleep the entire night through. A good night makes for a better holiday season!
What are your tips for
managing sleep habits during the holidays?