Surviving the summer silly season and getting sleep!
How to survive the silly season and not have your children’s sleep fall apart!
As the silly season approaches we tend to have more and more events, functions and outings to fit in. This often results in skipped naps and late nights for out babies and toddlers. How can you survive the silly season without having your child’s sleep completely fall apart?
The main reason your child’s sleep is going to fall apart is over tiredness. When your baby or toddler is over tired their body goes into survival mode. They produce excess cortisol and adrenaline, and these two hormones alone cause havoc on sleep. They contribute to more wake ups, and you will notice your baby fighting sleep even more than usual when they are over tired like this.
To counter over tiredness, try to mix up your routine so you don’t have 2-3 days in a row with late nights. The day after a late night, don’t plan to skip naps, or the day after you skip naps, don’t plan on being out late. Generally speaking the younger the baby the longer they take to recover from being over tired. I usually recommend 48 hours’ recovery days for a very young baby who has had their routine completely thrown with travel or parties.If you are not going to be home at bed time or nap time, can your child nap on the go, or at the event? This is where you get your money’s worth from front packs, porter cots, and strollers!
As a mother of 3 I actually found it a relief to be able to put my babies down for at least a nap when out at BBQ’s in the evening. At least I would get 45 minutes to eat my dinner! Even if they only nap around their regular bed time rather than going to sleep for the night, you will be helping prevent that over tiredness from creeping up.
Give them a quick top up feed when you get home and back to bed.
You can offer your baby longer naps if you usually have to wake them up from their naps. This will help them cope better with a late-night function.
Heat and Sleep
As the temperatures heat up, we get asked every year how to cope with babies sleep. As we fall asleep our core temperature drops, so if your room is too hot for sleep, you are making the fall asleep process more difficult than it needs to be.
I recommend you have a fan for your child’s room, and osellate it near their beds so they have cool fresh air. You can have a window open and the fan going during the day to circulate fresh air during the day, before they go down for the night.
Many parents are using black out blinds which I 100% recommend. Interesting, a lot of these blinds also keep heat out! If you keep the blinds down in the day you will often have a nice cool room for your baby to sleep in.
Switch to a light weight summer sleeping bag, and it might get so hot in January your baby only sleeps in a nappy.
For toddlers who fuss and fret that its hot, and they get themselves worked up and hotter and more uncomfortable, I like to keep a wet face cloth in the fridge, tell them it’s their special bed time face cloth, and help them fold it up and place it over their forehead at bed time. It will cool them down, as well as being a positive placebo stopping them from fussing so much they cause themselves to overheat! Toddlers also need fans, but away from their small fingers!
Watch that your toddlers diet doesn’t completely turn to custard with Christmas treats over flowing. Poor diet is linked to poor sleep.
If your toddler doesn’t usually nap, you might be able to give them a late afternoon nap on days you know you will be out late that evening.
Christmas is about family and friends getting together, and we don’t want you to stop seeing yours this Xmas. But no one enjoys socializing after they have been up 6 times in the night to an unsettled baby. So be mindful of over stimulating your newborn with lots of people and faces and hours of pass the baby. Give your baby a nice quiet wind down ritual before each sleep, and try to avoid letting friends and family keep your newborn awake when they are showing strong tired signs. They are more than welcome to come and rock the bassinet for you!
Enjoy your silly season, but be mindful of the lack of sleep and the impact that has on all of us! Allow some down time, and try to accommodate naps into your outings and events if possible. Remember recovery days and quiet days at home are good for everyone when we are an over tired mess. The main signs your children are heading into over tired melt down zone, are …..
- Early morning wake ups
- Short naps
- Nap refusal
- Waking 45 minutes into night sleep.
- Waking between 9-10pm
- Unsettled bed time behavior
- Hyperactive toddlers