How to recover from the Christmas craziness
While taking the family away on a Christmas holiday is something that everyone looks forward to, the disruption to routines and sleeping patterns can cause problems when you get back home.
Children who were soundly through the night before your took your trip may not be able to settle when you return home, waking in the middle of the night, or early in the morning.
Research shows about 70 per cent of children experience sleep related problems at least one night a week, and up to 30 per cent have more significant and frequent troubles.
As a basic rule, children aged 4-12 months should aim for 12-16 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, 1-2 years old should have 11-14 hours and 3-5-year-olds should have 10-13 hours.
Even when you’re on holidays, a regular schedule with consistent bedtimes and naptimes will help with your child’s sleep patterns, boosting a child’s well-being, sense of identity and security. If you need to re-set, follow the tips below.
When you’re preparing for bedtime, make sure you have a structured routine to follow. For smaller children this may be a warm bath before they are tucked into bed, for older children a 10-minute read before you turn the lights off.
3. The sleep zone
Rooms that are cool and dark are the best places for sleep. Ensure the room is dim, has low noise levels and comfortable furniture including cushions.
4. Bed sharing
Sometimes when you’re on holidays you can’t avoid letting your children share a bedroom or tent with other family members but it’s important that when you get home, they go back to their own bed. Parents or siblings in the same bed will be disruptive for you and them!
5. Get active
Keeping children active during the day has been shown to help them have a better sleep. It is a good idea to avoid physical activity too close the end of the day though.
6. Switch off
Electronic devices such as iPads, phones and computers should be turned off for about an hour before bed. Lots of colours and lights can stimulate children’s brains making it more difficult for them to switch off.
7. Stay calm
If your children are having trouble getting off to sleep, it’s important to stay calm. Use an authoritative but loving parenting style so they know you are serious about bedtime, but also that they are loved. It’s easy to get frustrated and upset if a child won’t go to sleep but remaining calm will help in the long run.