Evelyn Bonney, Certified Sleep Sense Consultant
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The festive period is over. Lots of time spent with friends and family. Lots of fun and socialising. But not much routine and lots of time spent travelling around to fit all the relatives in! Sound familiar???? Getting children back on tract can be tricky, especially if there is an added element of jet lag. Some babies are simply more flexible than others. Some will do fine with a completely interrupted schedule and some are more sensitive to overtiredness and a change in routine. You will quickly find out where your baby falls on the “adaptability” spectrum.

General tips for when you return home:

Be patient. Give your child a couple days (sometimes a week!) to get back into a routine and/or back to your time zone. With babies, use their age specific awake window as a guide for their sleep until you are back on schedule. Even without jet lag, the festive period can be over stimulating for children and it may take a few days for them to transition back into their normal routine.

With toddlers they may resist the transition back into a routine more fiercely, but stay strong. Reinstating boundaries and schedules will ultimately make them feel safe secure and help them get a good night’s sleep.

If you notice any sleep regression when your back home, address it immediately. The longer you wait to do something, the worse it will become.

Follow the steps below based on the level of regression your child is experiencing.

When you put your child down for bed, implement a “leave and check” response. Lay them down and leave the room. If they start to protest, wait 10 minutes and then go in and offer some comfort. Leave the room and repeat if necessary until they fall asleep.

Use a more rapid sleep training approach. If you want to be in the room with them as they learn to fall asleep on their own again, stay by their bed1-2 nights, then ease out of their room. If you want to do regular check ins, jump right into 10 minutes between checks.

In this case, your child has developed significant attachment to outside support in falling asleep. You will want to start from scratch and re-sleep train. As always, please reach out for support through this process.

The festive period can be hard with children, but remember that this is a short season of life. Soon your child will be old enough to have the stamina to enjoy the magic of Christmas and all the joy it brings.

Happy new year!