As your holidays are coming to an end, are you ready to get your baby’s sleep back on schedule? Maybe the 7 o’clock bedtime went out the window, some naps were skipped, your little one ate a bit of junk food (okay, maybe a lot of junk food—I don’t judge!), or maybe there were a couple movie nights in your bed that turned into sleepovers. Spending quality time together, breaking the daily routines, and going with the flow is exactly what holidays are for.
Now that reality is creeping back, you might be wondering where to start to get back into your routine. If your little one’s sleep needs some TLC to get back on schedule, here are some ways to help!
1. Bring back the routines
Start with mornings! Wake your little one up at the same time every morning so that their body can start to adjust. When you get them out of bed, start with a diaper change, have some breakfast, then playtime, or whatever your typical morning routine looks like. Whether you follow age-appropriate wake windows, have a set schedule, or a bit of both, keep an eye on the time and your little one’s sleepy cues to find the sweet spot for putting them down for nap(s). Children thrive off of routine and predictability, so following your little one’s routines and schedules will help everyone get back into the swing of things.
2. Re-introduce sleep habits
Whatever approach to sleep you were following before, re-introduce it now that the holidays are over. For example, if your little one was snuggling in with you or naps were always on the go throughout the holidays, have them sleep in their own space again just like before. This can be easier said than done, so if your little one is having a hard time adjusting, offer some reassurance, comfort, and support, but stick to what was working before the holidays and you’ll have your sleepy bee back in no time!
3. Make changes gradually
If bedtime was late throughout the holidays and your little one is having a hard time falling asleep at their usual time, make the change gradually. Start by putting them to bed 15-30 minutes earlier over the course of a few days. If you continuously wake your little one up around the same time in the mornings and they’re having good naps throughout the day, bedtime will be much easier.
4. Be mindful of total sleep
To help your little one’s body clock adjust, it can be helpful to pay attention to their total sleep needs. You’ll want to make sure they aren’t napping too long during the day, or sleeping in too late, so that both day and night sleep can balance. This will be important to helping get your baby’s sleep back on schedule.
Here is a guide to help you!
5. Limit screen time
Light plays an important role when it comes to our circadian rhythm. Blue light in particular was disrupt sleep patterns if we’re exposed to it before bed. This is because our body is in the process of producing melatonin that helps us fall asleep. When we expose ourselves to light during this time, it suppresses the production of melatonin which makes it harder for us to fall asleep. To avoid this, try to limit screen time 1-2 hours before your little one goes to bed.
6. Follow the 3 C’s
Don’t be scared to get all that energy out before the bedtime routine starts! The routine is the part that is supposed to be calm, connected, and cozy. Setting up their sleep environment can really help bedtime go smoothly. This is a chance to cuddle up together, read some books, sing songs, talk about your day, and get comfortable for a great night’s sleep.
Here are some tips!
- dim the lights: try using red light to help melatonin production
- turn on a lullaby: play their favourite, calming song to play in the background while you do your bedtime routine.
- put on comfortable and cozy pyjamas: ensure their jammies aren’t too big or too tight
- introduce a stuffed animal and/or blanket: the crib should be empty until your little one is 12 months
- check the temperature of the room: aim for about 20-22 degrees celsius
Getting your baby’s sleep back on schedule will take some time and patience, so remember to be kind to yourself and consider all the fun things your family experienced over the holidays.
If sleep has always been a challenge and you’re looking for a solution, along with support, I’m ready to help! Click here to send me an email or book a call to learn about how we can navigate your little one’s sleep together. I can’t wait to chat with you!