“Near and Dear to My Heart”
Sleep is on my mind a lot lately. With two young children and a six month-old baby, it has been many moons since I have had good sleep. Baby sleep is one thing, but helping to ensure our children get enough sleep is another topic. The National Sleep Foundation suggests that young children 3-5 need 11-13 hours sleeps, while older school children up to age 12 need 10- 11 hours sleep. With the excitement of the holidays and all its extra events, this can become even more of a challenge.
There are a few things I have found that can help. Remember to set your own pace for your family. While it is tempting to take it all in, little kids (parents too) just can’t keep up with it all. Pick and choose what works best for you and your family. I know that often there are several events scheduled for the same day. While it is also tempting to try to go to go from one place to another, it can be very difficult for your child to make the transition from one place to another rapidly. This can increase tiredness and bad behavior, both theirs and yours. Perhaps settling in on one event is the better way to go. There are many years to take in all the extravaganzas. Also, prioritize those naps. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be hard to stick to the routine. But you are short changing your child’s rest and well-being by skimping on their nap. Certainly, there are a myriad of things we all can do from home while the little ones sleep. -Last minute wrapping and card writing, anyone?
Additionally, try to work in wind down time before bed time. Extra excitement, sweet treats, and later hours can make even the best sleeper have trouble sleeping. By giving them time to wind down from the night’s activities, your young child’s body is more able to relax into better and deeper sleep. Lastly, don’t be afraid to cut out of an event for bedtime. While it can be hard to leave early while everyone is having fun, it may prove worth it tomorrow. Sleep deprived children and adults make for unhappy children and adults. Saving your sanity and protecting your children’s sleep and health is more important than maxing out on the holidays.