How to help you and your children sleep well over Christmas.
It’s the count down to Christmas and while your children maybe excited by Santa and what gifts he will bring, as a parent you know that Christmas can mean a lot less sleep for all.
It can be hard to avoid your little ones getting over excited and over tired, but the good news is there are simple steps you can take to limit the tears and tantrums.
Mandy Gurney lets you into her bedtime secrets for a sleep filled Christmas!
If you are going to be staying in ‘strange quarters’, it will help to bring as many items from home as possible such as a favourite soft toy, cushion or blanket. The familiar smell and bedding from home will offer comfort and reassurance.
As soon as you can, spend time in your child’s “new” bedroom; you don’t want the first time he enters that room to be bedtime. Put his things away together, have some stories and cuddle in that room and show him the layout of the house such as where you and the rest of the family be sleeping.
Keeping naps on track….
If you have a little one who has day time naps it can be hard to keep these on track when there are lots of demands on your time.
So your baby doesn’t become over tired and fractious, keep an eye on the clock and take her away from the “action”, to a quiet space about 15 minutes before her usual nap time. After some peaceful cuddle and story time with you settle her to sleep.
If you are concerned background noise may wake her, try settling up some white noise near by to help dull sudden sounds.
You may wish to schedule some of her naps out and about with a much needed walk in the fresh air. This has the added bonus of helping you all burn off those extra calories and the fresh air means you will all sleep better.
Foods to help you sleep….
Limit sugar and caffeine at least 2 hours before bedtime and if your child is still hungry in the evening offer him a turkey snack. Turkey is a high source of tryptophan, an amino acid we convert into serotonin which is a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin.
Whether you are at home or away, aim to keep to your usual bedtime routine. Even if you start bedtime slightly later on Christmas night, it’s important to follow the same series of simple steps that your child associates with sleep. Children love the familiarity and security that a routine brings which is especially important if they are away from home.
Regular sleep times….
Apart from the main event, it is best to keep to regular bedtimes and just as importantly waking up times, for the remainder of the Christmas season. Having a well regulated body clock will help your child sleep better and be well rested for the excitement of the days.
Ready for bed….
To help calm your child’s busy and excited mind , quieten her well before it’s time for bed. Say goodnight to everyone and take her with you to a quiet room. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes in quiet activity such as reading or doing puzzles before starting her bedtime routine.
I can’t fall asleep….
If you have concerns that your child will struggle to go to sleep on the first few nights away from home or with guests in your house, aim to do the bathing and bed time story reading by yourself for the first couple of nights until your child is used to the changes. Rather than helping out at bedtime, you could ask grandparents to get your little ones ready for the day in the morning…then you can have a well needed lie-in.
I don’t want to go to bed yet….
Crucially, make sure that your boundaries remain the same.
Say goodnight and settle your child as you would do normally. The first two nights will set the precedent for the holiday time so focus your energies on these.
But if it does all go pear shaped, make sure that as soon as either you or your family and friends return home, normal routines are reinstated immediately. It might take about 3 or 4 nights to get back on track but most of all try not to worry and have fun and look after yourself!
Hopefully, you’ll find Christmas bed times as straightforward as they would be at any other time.