Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! It is also one of the most exhausting times too. There is so much to do, many places to be, and family and friends to visit. How do we fit in our little one’s need for naps and a good night’s sleep?
A well-rested little one can handle variations in his schedule and will just ‘roll’ with little changes without disruptions to his sleep. Here are some tips to help you through the season and the bigger disruptions to his regular routine.
1) Travelling during nap time (if they will sleep in the car) will help fit in a little bit of sleep.
2) Packing light is never an option so be prepared with regular items that your child finds comforting and part of his regular routine: blankets, your sheets because of the familiar scent, a special lovey, books, night light with extra bulb, a white noise machine (or radio tuned between stations), and a playpen or even a crib. If you find you are regularly visiting the same place throughout the year and/or have family that also visits and has a little one – perhaps investing in a second crib is worthwhile. Another option for frequent travellers is to use the same playpen all of the time; it will be one more thing that is the same.
3) Having a base ‘camp’ is a great way to enable you to establish a predictable routine during your vacation. Instead of jumping place to place to fit all of the visiting in; you can pick one house to ‘camp’ at and have all of the visiting done here. You can pick one family’s home for this visit and the other family for next visit. Everyone is much happier visiting with well-rested children and the visits can be longer because you aren’t packing up to get back before bedtime. You will also be avoiding the struggle of getting him settled at a new home each time you move.
4) Staying in the same room? You can have a little family meeting with your little one(s) and explain that “at Grandma’s house we can sleep together because it is a special visit but when we go home you will be back in your room”; of course you will need to remind them of this when you return home. You would be surprised how much little ones do understand! Remember that choosing to use old sleep crutches, such as rocking or nursing to sleep, on a holiday will be OK as long as, once you are back home, you are prepared for a couple of nights of his refusal to go back to the regular routine. Consistency, as always, will be key.
5) We all want to avoid disrupting everyone else’s sleep wherever we are staying. Try very hard to establish a good bedtime and be consistent with your responses throughout the night. Predictability and consistency will help everyone (usually the first night is the test and then the remainder of the holiday will go smoother).
6) You always need to follow your little one’s sleepy cues; vacation or not. Your best chance to get him to sleep is when you follow his sleep windows. You know what happens if you don’t – that second wind hits! An over-tired, fussy child is difficult to deal with and you want to avoid adding stress to yourself. Once your little angel is sleeping it is time for you to relax and enjoy yourself too.
7) Accept help and give yourself a break. Family understands – most of the time
Written by Heather Plante – a certified Gentle Sleep Coach; mentored by Kim West, LCSW-C – The Sleep Lady®, Heather is the owner of Soothing Angels - www.SoothingAngels.ca
Photo courtesy of Heather Wagner Photography, www.heatherwagnerphotography.com
As we approach the Christmas season, it can be overwhelming to choose just the right gifts for our loved ones (especially when it comes to toys for the kids). There is so much to choose from and with all the sales and deals out there, it’s even more enticing to buy just about every toy out there!
Here are a few points to keep you on track when shopping for toys this holiday season:
Make a wish-list
Narrow down the toy options to makes it easier to focus. There are a lot of toys out there, and kids ask for everything. Your child has likely already made it known what’s on their wish-list this year and you may have scoped out suitable options yourself throughout the year.
Set a budget and stick to it
It is so easy to get carried away and spend too much. If you can stick to your budget, it will ease the stress of overspending, minimize post-purchase regrets and you’ll enter the new year without a ton of debt. But be realistic when setting your budget. It should be based on what you can afford – not what you WANT to spend.
Many of us are “last-minute” shoppers, but many stores offer amazing deals and discounts in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Take advantage of the discounts to help save money but keep to the plan. Just because we saved some money doesn’t mean that we should go on a shopping spree! Making your purchases in advance allows you to get your wanted items before they are out of stock and then you are not scrambling for last-minute ideas.
We all endeavour to make each Christmas as memorable and fun for our kids as much as we can. But be realistic in your choice of toy. Think about the age-appropriateness of the toy and how practical that toy may be in your child’s life. You may want to choose a toy option that will hold your child’s attention for a long time; one that has multiple uses and can be used at different stages in your child’s development. Remember: quality over quantity!
Don’t forget that the holidays are about creating special memories with your loved ones. Christmas shopping can be stress-free and a fun experience too. Just keep in mind the points above and think of the excitement your choices will bring to your little ones.
Written by Narissa Singh, owner of Play & Learn Toys ( www.playandlearntoys.ca ). A family operated, online specialty toy store based in Sherwood Park, Alberta, the go-to source for unique toys that inspire learning and creativity. From our family to yours, we wish you all best for a safe and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!