Baby sleep and the festive season. Five tips to handle the most wonderful time of the year with little ones.


It’s the most wonderful time of the year for so many reasons, most of which involve family, going out and socialising. No-one wants to remember the festive season as a woeful time so consider this blog your ‘how to’ guide for little one’s sleep during the festive season.

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    You’ll learn 5 easy sleep tips to equip you with flexibility and freedom so you can enjoy the fun times and have merry and memorable moments, (After all the silly season leaves as quickly as it arrives so let’s make the most of it.

    But how do we stay on track with healthy sleep habits for our little ones without becoming the ‘party poopers’ or ‘no shows’ at all the upcoming festivities?

    This blog is a great start. You’ll realise there are stress-free ways to make this time a balance between sleep and fun and you’ll even learn that it’s possible to sometimes break the rules without losing your great sleeper long-term.

    Let’s set the scene

    You have a week of driving from here, there and everywhere. There’ll be lots of family, lots of excitement, some unfamiliar environments for your children, extended days and of course yummy food at every celebration.

    Amongst all the excitement what are you going to do about sleep for your little one? You could wing it which works for a day or too (not my recommended option here), or you could show up to the silly season prepared with ways to put your little one down anywhere.

    The aim is to get some sleep, not necessarily the normal sleep your little one would have.

    Festive Season Sleep Tips

    Plan For Sleep

    Before the day begins, think about where you need to be and at what times, then work out how you can try to accommodate sleep. This is where having a predictable nap routine can be helpful.

    You can access my suggested nap routines from 6 weeks through to 4 years here.

    Sleep opportunities look like:

    • Leaving at nap time- If you take into account your days on the road and how you can best protect day sleeps, you can try and time your day so you leave right on cue for sleep.
    • Taking a porta cot- If you’re going to your Aunty’s house take the porta cot along and let your little one have a sleep in a quiet place.
    • Go for a walk- Take the pram to achieve their regular nap timing, even if the length is much shorter. Remember the aim is to get some sleep.

    Communicate Your Expectations

    Make a plan with your co-pilot (think hubby, partner-in-crime) so you can work as a team to enable sleep to occur. You’ll likely be playing a more hands-on role with settling due to being in unfamiliar environments so the best support you can have is your partner there to reinforce your plan.

    This might mean taking older kids out for a while or be as simple as your partner helping to remember to bring the porta cot. Being on the same page will make it less stressful for everyone – especially if unwanted advice is offered about, “let them stay up late, they will sleep in tomorrow”, *facepalm*.

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    Bring Comforts From Home

    This could be your little one’s regular sleep associations ie sleeping bag, white noise machine, block out blinds, dummy, comforter. Each of these items help to continue the regular wind down routine despite being somewhere different.

    Maintain Boundaries

    This one is for toddlers especially. Often the “laid back approach” over the festive season can give rise to inconsistency which can then result in toddlers losing their sense of boundary. The flow on effect of this sees your little one begin to act out. Also consider food and screen times as these impact our kids’ temperaments throughout the silly season too.

    Use Earlier Bedtimes

    Where needed, don’t be afraid to begin bedtime routines earlier than normal. If you’ve spent the whole day out and your little one is struggling to stay awake, give them the rest they need.

    I also want to myth bust a common belief which is ‘early to bed, early to rise’. Early bedtimes don’t automatically = earlier risers.

    Early rising is most common in overtired babies who have excess adrenaline in their system. This excess adrenaline sees them wake fully in the lighter phases of sleep in the early hours of the morning.

    As you step into the festive season, I want to leave you with one final thought which is, ‘some sleep is better than no sleep’. Try to keep this in mind especially when you are out and about on a busy day.

    Enjoy your holiday period and as always be respectful of your little one’s need for sleep just as much as any other point in time. They are little and need quality, consolidated sleep for growth and development.

    Book your 15 minute discovery call  if you’re ready to work one-on-one for your little one’s sleep.


    Kelly Martin Sleep Consultant

    Helping babies get a good nights sleep

    Our mission is to empower parents with the knowledge and education about how they can help their little one develop and maintain healthy sleep habits. Are you ready to regain your sleep?

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