5 tips to stop Easter sabotaging your child’s sleep
Easter is just around the corner. For most children this means the Easter bunny is stocking his basket full of chocolate – with hopes he hops by this weekend. The thought of chocolate and Easter Egg hunts alone is exciting, but then there is the long weekend and/or NZ school holidays to navigate, and travel has also opened up. Wahoo. In all this excitement it’s easy for good sleep habits to slip away, so here are 5 tips to stop Easter sabotaging your child’s sleep.
- If you’re travelling this long weekend, remember to take along your child’s comforts from home. If you can establish a sense of familiarity your child will find it easier to sleep in an unfamiliar environment. Bring everything from their usual sleep space, including their sleep sack, blanket, comfort toy, clock or nightlight and usual pillow. And don’t forget their favourite bedtime books.
- Stick to your routines as much as possible. Babies and children LOVE the structure routines provide (this applies to anxious school children too). When they know what is coming next, they will feel more settled. Even if bedtime is a bit later this Easter, stick to your child’s usual bedtime routine. The predictable routine process will help them wind down and drift off faster than skipping it just to get them in bed quicker. In saying that…
- Watch the timing of that chocolate. OK, so Chocolate is not a very nutritious breakfast, but I’d much rather my children eat it early during Easter than right before bed and then can’t sleep. Sugar will give your child more energy, so keep the chocolate and sugary snacks away from bedtime and naps. And it’s not just the sugar, chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can contain caffeine, another substance that’s not conducive to sleep.
- Allow for rest days and quiet time. The more we do, the more quickly we become tired. Remember that if you’re away for the holidays or out doing more than usual; especially if you’re also having later nights. Young babies won’t have much tolerance for lots of stimulation (new faces and environments are stimulating) but older children can also crash and burn if they don’t get enough downtime. Of course, you can have some action-packed days during the Easter holiday, but also allow for some rest days and breaks. Quiet time after lunchtime can also be helpful for children who no longer nap.
- Respect your child’s sleep needs and ensure your family does too. Yes, you’re allowed to break some of your sleep rules during the holidays. And the odd late night and car nap won’t do much harm – but if you’re expecting too much of your child on less sleep than usual, chances are you’ll have an overtired crying child on your hands. And that’s no fun for anyone. If it’s sleep time, don’t let your family wake them for a little cuddle. They wouldn’t expect your child to skip a meal to see them, so don’t let them skip sleep either. Family can work around your child’s schedule. Hold firm in that and reap the benefits when your child wakes fully rested and happy.
Good sleep means a much better chance of having fun this long weekend. Make the most of both. Stay safe and sleep well this Easter.
Kim is a Mum and certified sleep specialist. She loves solving behavioural sleep issues and establishing healthy sleep habits for all ages. Kim works with parents of babies and toddlers, along with school children and adults. Because good sleep is important for health at every age. Check out her website (www.cherishedsleep.co.nz) or social media pages for more.