In my festive sleep series this week, I thought I would talk about the importance of making sleep a priority for your little one (and yourself, of course) in the run-up to Christmas and over the holiday season.
An Exciting Time of Year!
It’s such a busy time of the year with so many exciting things to do, lots of parties and events. I won’t be a Scrooge and say that you shouldn’t be doing any of these things! But it is a good idea to keep an eye on how tired everyone is getting and make or change plans accordingly. It’s perfectly fine for some routines to go a bit astray at this time of year and to have the odd late night, but it’s good also to be mindful of your little one’s sleep needs and try to accommodate these as much as possible.
Some babies and children cope well with a change in routine. They can stay up later and naturally catch up on their sleep by sleeping later on the next day or having a longer nap. How your little one handles the change is all down to their temperament, though. Some children won’t adjust well to changes in routine and less sleep.
The Second Wind!
Many toddlers get a “second wind,” appearing alert and hyperactive, especially if you’ve kept them up later than usual. This is a sign that they’re overtired due to releasing the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, into their system. Being overtired makes it more difficult for your little ones to fall asleep. As a result, they will likely sleep more restlessly, wake more frequently, and wake for the day earlier than usual. This effect can last up to 24 hours, meaning sleep becomes disrupted.
Temperament Makes a Difference!
So, be aware of your little one’s temperament and their ability to deal with change and plan your days around them. For example, if they struggle with sleep, it’s good to try and keep them in their sleep pattern for much of the time if possible and avoid too many late nights or missed naps.
Often, the run-up to Christmas is so busy everyone is completely exhausted on the actual day. Go easy on yourself! It’s okay to cancel a couple of events and have a more leisurely day or earlier night to let everyone recharge.
With 101 events and activities for the children, remember that it’s okay to give yourself permission to miss the odd one and have some quiet family time to recharge.
Make Sleep a Priority
By making sleep a priority in the lead up to Christmas, I hope your whole family will be well-rested and able to enjoy the festivities all the more. December can be such a hectic month, so it’s best to watch your little one’s sleep needs and ensure that they are getting enough rest.
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Caro is a Senior Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant® based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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