Holiday season is upon us! For so many of us, it means all the amazing things – friends, family, fun, celebration and traditions.
I, personally, LOVE this time of year. But, I also know that amidst all of the fun, there also comes a lot of stress. And this is especially true when you have little ones. Stress about getting sick, traveling, keeping them on a schedule, being somewhere new or having a house full of people whilst parenting little children.
I felt moved to write about this upcoming holiday season mostly to encourage you to give yourself some grace. I always get panicked parents reaching out this time of year about schedule, upcoming travels, time zones and sleeping arrangements when they get to their destination.
Yes, there are tips ans tricks (which, of course, I am going to mention too), but my real take-home message is to ENJOY the season.
So, what if your perfect schedule gets messed up because everyone wants to stay up making s’mores outside? If you have to have a sleeping baby in a car seat to make this happen, do it! You will far more remember that night of laughing with loved ones than sitting alone in your room sticking to a schedule.
I always want to encourage doing the best you can to stay on schedule, to keep the sleep consistent and to use your sleep training methods. Still, as parents, we need to remind ourselves that a few days of going with the flow will not “ruin” the hard work we have put into our sweet sleepers!
Make sure you bring all the necessary sleeping items from home. A sleeping space (travel crib/bed of some sort) and a sound machine are SO important! They are even more vital and life-saving if you’re room sharing or in a house full of potentially loud family!
If there is a special lovey or blanket, double check you have this before you leave! Pacifiers, favorite stories, special parts of your routine. We want to mimic at-home bedtime as best as we can when we are away.
I love to bring travel blackout curtains if I’m not staying in a hotel. If you are unfamiliar with the room you’re going to be staying in, ask! The best you can do is be prepared.
Bring the right things, follow the schedule as best you can, but also follow the cues. If you missed a nap because you were on a plane, try and get them to bed earlier that night. Don’t have too high of expectations and celebrate when your little one goes down and sleeps for 11 hours in a strange house. Even if it is not 7-7, but 9:30-8:30. Amazing! Take it!
Enjoy the Season
So, parents, enjoy your holiday season. Remember what it’s truly all about. Don’t be so nailed down by a schedule and strict rules that you forget to spend time with loved ones and make memories for you and your child(ren)! Give yourself grace and be thankful when you get that great nap and full night of sleep on these trips! Trust your gut and instincts. Remember that what YOU know works when you start to get the inevitably unsolicited opinions of family members about what is best for your little one.
YOU GOT THIS!
Make this time of the year joyful in every way possible! Create memories, traditions, and happy homes full of love and laughter. These are the things that will make you smile when you look back on this special time.
You won’t remember if there was a night your child went down two hours later or fell asleep in the car on the way to grandma’s. After all, maybe you’ll get the sweetest picture of that child sleeping in grandma’s lap. THAT is a pretty priceless moment that is worth a skipped nap!