As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to unwrap the gift of knowledge that will keep your little one’s sleep routine merry and bright. I’m going to share my top holiday sleep tips for babies and toddlers. Because nothing should stand between your child and a silent night.

The holidays can be a wonderland of joy, but for new parents, the worry of sleep regression might be the ghost of Christmas past creeping in. The truth is, between the festive travel escapades, the whirlwind of excitement, and the constant spotlight on your bundle of joy, maintaining that carefully crafted sleep schedule can feel as tricky as untangling a string of fairy lights.

But I’m going to put your mind at ease. With some strategy planning and a consistency on your end, you can keep your baby’s sleep on track this holiday season. 

Now, let’s unwrap the two major challenges that might be lurking like mischievous elves, threatening your little one’s sleep during the holiday season: travel and the influx of family and friends. Grab a cup of cocoa and settle in for this quick 5 minute read while I share my top holiday sleep tips for babies and toddlers. You’ll be glad you did!

Holiday Sleep Tips for Babies When Traveling

Let’s talk travel !If the idea of sleep training is swirling in your mind but a trip is looming on the horizon, my professional advice is to consider delaying the training until you’ve safely returned to the comfort of your own crib. Unless, of course, you’re tempted to use your baby’s sleep schedule as a valid reason to opt-out of the journey altogether. Hey, we’ve all been there, right?

But your baby is going to best learn the skills needed to self soothe when they’re at home and able to sleep in their own crib. So if you’ve got travel plans coming up in the next couple weeks, let’s hold off getting start on sleep training until you get home.  

And if your baby is already sleep trained, that’s great! They’re going to be able to handle travel like a pro! Let’s walk through how you’ll manage travel both on the road and in the air. 

Road Trips with Baby

If your holiday adventure involves a road trip, consider this nifty trick. Align your driving hours with your baby’s nap schedule. Yes, car naps might not be the sleep solution of your dreams. But they beat the alternative of no naps at all. Aim to hit the road 30 minutes before your baby’s usual naptime. It’s a strategic move to keep everyone in the car, both big and small, in good spirits.

Feeling extra committed to the cause? Scope out parks or attractions along your route. You can take pit stops when your little co-pilot wakes up. Fresh air and sunshine will help your baby with their next nap, turning your journey into a series of baby-friendly adventures.

Air Travel

Now, if your holiday plans involve soaring through the skies, fasten your seatbelts, because flying with babies can be a wild ride. I feel you – planes and babies don’t always see eye to eye. My heartfelt advice? During the flight, do whatever it takes to glide through the journey with minimal fuss. Snacks, phone playtime, whatever. Let them call the shots.

If you can book your flight in the mid-morning hours, that would be ideal. This way if your flight is delayed, it’s only messing with naps rather than bedtime. 

Truth be told, if your little one is fighting going down to sleep for their nap on the plane, it’s completely fine to do whatever you can to help them get to sleep. If they already know how to self soothe, it’s ok to break your own rules and rock them to sleep or feed them to sleep. It’s just this one time and it won’t unravel all the hard work you’ve put into teaching your baby to sleep well. A nap on the plane is better than a really upset baby!

So, embrace the unpredictability, go with the flow. Your baby will sleep when they’re ready. 

Free Packing List

Not sure what to pack? Grab my free packing list, schedules, sleep guides and more!

Holiday Sleep Tips for Babies With Friends & Family

Congratulations! You’ve safely arrived, sanity intact, ready to immerse yourself in the warm embrace of family festivities. The road or the plane may have been on your side, but the real test begins now.

During your journey, it felt like everyone was on the same team, secretly cheering for a calm and sleepy baby. But as you step into Grandma and Grandpa’s welcoming abode, the dynamics may change. Suddenly, the collective wish is for baby to be wide awake, ready for playtime, countless photos, and the joyous chaos of family love.

Now, you might find yourself at a crossroads. You may feel torn between your commitment to your baby’s sleep routine and the overwhelming desire of friends and family to engage with the little one. It’s a delicate balance. And the challenge lies in conveying your need for a peaceful environment without dampening the festive spirits.

If you’re feeling hesitant to play the “bad guy,” I’m here to give you the green light. This is your permission slip to stand firm. No negotiations, no exceptions. It’s time to politely communicate that your little one’s sleep is a priority. And any disruptions could throw off the carefully orchestrated routine.

Scheduling Baby Time

Consider scheduling baby time in advance, aligning it with your baby’s schedule. Politely let your loved ones know when to expect those precious moments. This proactive approach not only manages expectations but also ensures a smoother transition between festivities and baby’s much-needed naptime.

I understand it might seem strict. But the alternative can lead to a swift backslide into day one of sleep training. A missed nap, heightened excitement due to new faces and activities, overtiredness settling in—this sets off a chain reaction. Cortisol production rises. The next nap becomes a battleground. Nighttime sleep derails. And before you know it, you’re on your way home with memories overshadowed by a chorus of baby cries.

Trust me; I’m not exaggerating. It happens with surprising speed, threatening to turn your joyful holiday trip into a sleep-deprived nightmare. So, take a deep breath. Embrace the role of sleep advocate. And let the festivities unfold in harmony with your baby’s sleep needs. After all, a well-rested baby is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones during this festive season.

Where Should My Baby Sleep?

You’ve admirably stood your ground, navigating through the festive whirlwind without budging an inch from your baby’s schedule. The naps have been taken around their usual times. And now the moment has arrived for the grand finale: bedtime.

However, there is only 1 room for both you and your baby to share.

Now, one might think, “No problem, right? Bed sharing for a few nights won’t be the end of the world.” Ah, if only it were that simple. You’re aiming to keep any deviation from the norm as minimal as possible. Because, as astonishing as it may sound, babies can form a swift affinity for co-sleeping in as little as one night.

Here comes the unorthodox suggestion. Transform that one room into two without channeling your inner handyman. Put your baby’s mobile crib in the closet if it’s safe to do so.

Now, before you label me as the crazy sleep consultant, hear me out. A decent-sized closet with good airflow, when transformed into a sleep haven, can work wonders. It’s a retreat of tranquility. Dark, quiet, and free from distractions. Your little one won’t be tempted to peek at you. And the comings and goings of well-meaning guests won’t disturb their peaceful slumber.

It might sound unconventional, yet the logic is sound. Creating a cozy corner within your shared space ensures that both you and your baby get the rest you deserve amidst the holiday festivities. 

Enjoy the Holidays!

As you juggle bedtime antics, some might roll their eyes as you whisk the baby off just when the guests stroll in. Grandma might even question your closet bedtime strategy. But hey, you’re not just putting your baby to bed. You’re embarking on a noble mission – the quest for precious sleep.

You’re the guardian of bedtime serenity for your tiny dreamer. And you’re doing an amazing job!

About the Author

I’m Kaley Medina, the proud founder of Live Love Sleep®. I live in Texas with my husband and high school sweetheart, Zeke, along with our two wonderful children, Evalyn and Leo, and our furry companion, Louie.
My journey into the world of sleep consultancy began with the sleep struggles of my own daughter, Evalyn. From her early days, she proved to be a challenging sleeper, staying awake for waaaaaay too long and causing many sleepless nights. I tried everything I could think of, from feeding her to sleep to bouncing on a yoga ball until my legs ached to the delicate process of transitioning her to her crib without waking her. I even resorted to late-night vacuuming while wearing her in a baby carrier….needless to say, none of it work.

The constant sleep deprivation left me frazzled and unable to enjoy precious moments with my family. Desperate for a solution,  I ventured into the world of sleep training when Evalyn turned six months. To my 

gentler methods yielded incredible results, transforming our lives. Fueled by this success, I became a Certified Sleep Consultant and founded Live Love Sleep®. As your Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I understand that a child’s sleep is influenced by various factors, including diet, sleep environment, routines, schedules, developmental milestones, and so much more.

I craft personalized sleep plans that consider the bigger picture to solve your child’s sleep challenges comprehensively. What sets my services apart is the ongoing support I provide, ensuring your family reaches its sleep goals within weeks.

A former client described the experience as “utterly LIFE CHANGING.” I’m committed to helping parents like you and your child get the rest you need and deserve. Let’s work together to achieve better sleep and a happier, healthier family life.

Features

Kaley has been featured on numerous podcasts, on NBC, CBS, Yahoo!, Forbes, Texas Today, MindBodyGreen, WonderBaby.org, Work & Mother, Homes and Gardens, Tinybeans, House Beautiful, The Bump, Aol, and more!