Between the travel, excitement, late nights, constant attention from family members and LOTS of sugar, the holidays are the single easiest way to throw your family out of a normal routine and into meltdown mode.
Let’s be honest, there are a few major struggles to overcome. We’ve packed up the holiday decorations and found ourselves on operating from a place of chaos rather than a controlled schedule.
But I’m happy to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way for much longer! With some strategic planning and these four simple tips, you can resume your routine. Let’s get back to that well-oiled machine that it was before the month of December hit us in the face like a freezing cold snowball!
Tip 1: Give some time and space to get back on track
Now that you have returned home and are back to “normal”, be patient with getting back on track. If you can take an extra day off of work to adjust routines and schedules, that is great.
If not, be sure to avoid slamming a whole bunch of extra responsibilities into this “recovery” week. Vacations can be tough to recover from. The holidays can be tough too, so give yourself, and your kiddo(s), plenty of grace when adjusting.
Remember that independent sleep is a skill. Allowing your child the chance to recall the skill by supporting and comforting them may be necessary.
At the end of the day, if the holidays caused them to jingle their way out of sleep, you can certainly help them to jingle their way back in as we enter 2019!
Tip 2: Be predictable
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it was hard to know exactly what the entire month had in store. There were so many class parties. From cookie exchanges, neighborhood get-togethers (plus all those trips to see Santa), it was REALLY easy for naps to be forgotten and bedtime to be pushed back.
We are setting 2019 resolutions and ready to get back on track with sleep. It’s time to resume the predictability that our little ones crave. You see, babies and toddlers (and big kids, too) are creatures of habit who thrive off knowing what comes next. They love structure and routine (even if they push the boundaries day after day), so change is tough for them.
Now that we are done doing #allthethings that we stacked on our plate this holiday season, it’s time to be upfront and reasonable with our little ones.
For your evening routine and bedtime itself, keep things as “normal” as possible. Even if bedtime is suddenly going to be a bit earlier than it had been, keep the steps of the process the same so they feel familiar.
Tip 3: Use a timer
If you are having a tough time getting naps and bedtime back to their usual time, try the use of an alarm or timer. Setting a timer is a great way of deflecting the blame away from parents for when bedtime (or naptime) is approaching. After all, it’s not you hustling them to get to bed… It’s the timer!
It can be a fun challenge for kiddos to try to get their bedtime routine completed before the alarm or timer goes off. Put a sticker on the calendar for every night they beat the clock, and offer a reward for a perfect week.
Tip 4: Step away from the devices
If your little ones got any sort of device/game/phone/tablet over the holidays, I am pretty positive they are addicted to it by now. Sure, it might be a nice way to keep them quiet and get the ornaments put away, but this screen time may be contributing to the sleep struggles of your family.
Computer, TV, and phone screens all emit blue light, which tricks our internal clocks into thinking that it’s still daytime. My advice as we get things back on track… Power down the electronics at dinnertime and keep them off until the next morning.
To minimize the temptation of them at night, don’t charge devices near beds! One way to do this is to set up a family “charging station”. This reduces the temptation and allow some screen-free time as a family in the evening.
Let’s make 2019 the year of sleep
We all know the benefits of sleep (for ourselves and our littles), so let’s make it a priority as we enter the new year. Use these four tips to get back on track now that the holidays are behind us.
And remember, good sleep is a SKILL. Not only that, but it is most definitely one that you can focus on teaching your family in 2019!
Brittney Stefanic is a certified sleep consultant. She gets that the holidays are completely exhausting seasons, especially as a parent! If your little ones are struggling with sleep, this time of year can be particularly challenging. But the new year is upon us, and help is on the way! As an educator, Brittney believes in the power of teaching. She loves supporting families in meeting their sleep goals through her customized sleep plans. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook @brittneystefanicsleep for access to her free sleep tips and tricks and opportunities for sleep virtual Q&A sessions.