Did the Holidays Wreck Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule? Here’s How to Deal

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are often some of the busiest of the year. While busy can be fun, it can also absolutely wreck a baby’s, toddler’s or kid’s sleep schedule. If fun late nights, travel, or the hype of the season have knocked your kids out of their regular routine and left them cranky, over-tired, and unhappy at bedtime, follow the steps below to rehab their sleep schedule ASAP!

sleep schedule
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{ MORE: Do You Sing Your Baby to Sleep? New Research Says You Probably Should }

1. Check your expectations

While it would be nice for kids to start sleeping normally as soon as the ball drops and the new year begins, if they’ve been out of their regular routine for a while it’s not likely they’ll resume their normal sleep habits right away. While long, drawn-out, unhappy bedtimes are frustrating, they become a lot less frustrating if you’re expecting them. Before you begin trying to get your kiddo back into a solid routine, check your expectations and get comfortable with the fact that it might take longer than you hope.

2. Identify the issue

Trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, and early waking are all distinct issues that require different intervention. Before you start working with your child, identify the issue and think through what needs to happen to correct it.

3. Start small

Just because your little one had a great routine before the holidays doesn't mean they’ll immediately welcome a return to that routine after the holidays. Start small, by reintroducing small parts of their routine, and remain consistent as you get them back on track with other parts. For example, if your tot has developed a habit of going to bed way later than you’d like, move their bedtime up by 15 minutes a night rather than trying to put them to bed a full two hours earlier on your first night of trying to get them back into a routine.

4. Give it time

Patience and consistency are key when you’re trying to help your little one reestablishing good sleep habits. While “sleep-training” can make parents frustrated enough to cry, it should never make little ones tear up. Check out a gentle sleep training book, like “The No Cry Sleep Solution” to give you extra pointers on meeting your child’s and your need for rest.

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Did the Holidays Wreck Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule? Here’s How to Deal

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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