December 15, 2017
As the days wind down toward winter vacation, you might see your family’s schedule piling up and getting busier and busier. Once the kids are out of school, you’ll have to keep them entertained when their spirits are flying higher than eight tiny reindeer. With these tips, you can help your kids stick to a sleep schedule, and buy some great shut-eye for yourself.
It can be really easy to slip into an entirely different bedtime routine during the holiday break, but doing just that could break you come early January. Sleep schedules take weeks to develop consistently, and getting out of routine can have some serious consequences. Sure, it is a lot easier to let the kids go to bed an hour or two later when you are out visiting friends or attending the school holiday program. But when they wake up at the same time the next morning, all the benefits evaporate. If you have to adjust younger children’s early bedtimes to accommodate your plans, try to do it as little as possible. The closer you can keep to the original bedtime, the easier it will be to shift back to schedule when school’s back in session.
Just as being out of school (and work) can encourage a later bedtime, it can also make it far simpler to just sleep in an extra hour. If you have older children or teenagers, you might actually get that sleep. As much as you would love the ability to wake leisurely in the morning, by pouring a cup of coffee and browsing your phone while the house is still quiet, you may create problems for the rest of your day. Rising later in the morning does not always correspond to better sleep. Try to engage your kids to wake up at close to the same time they would on a weekend day. This way, you can keep to a fairly normal daily routine, and not run late to a holiday breakfast or brunch.
Whether you are entertaining or just trying to put the finishing touches on that ugly Christmas sweater for the office party, the holidays can be a time when you really just want to toss the kids into bed, kiss them goodnight and head right back downstairs. If you need your kids to sleep well during this time (and who doesn’t?), you will do your best to follow their bedtime routines as planned. A book, a story and a song that your children are accustomed to experiencing before bed each night will set them up for sleep success, no matter what else is happening in the house.
Of course, much of your sleeping plans may get thrown out the window if you are trying to accomplish a holiday school vacation while actually on vacation. In this case, you should try to build a sleep station for the family that is as restful as possible. Give your kids, especially toddlers and young children, the opportunity to scope out their sleeping space. Make sure it is dry, comfortable and adequately dark. If you are sharing a room, plan to tuck in a little early yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
The best thing about the holidays is sleep, if you can get it. By maintaining your kids’ regular sleep routines, you will all grab better rest and head into the new year with good health.