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The holidays are just around the corner, and with them is coming that brief reprieve much-anticipated by every young boy and girl: the holiday break from school. While you’re busy making fun-filled plans for your kids and preparing yourself for some noisier weekday mornings, this is also a good time to make sure your kids will still be getting healthy sleep, school night or not.
Check out our tips below for giving your kids the best sleep possible during the upcoming break.
Consistency, with a caveat
Even though the holiday break is a time for your kids to relax free from the rigmarole and restrictions of school, it’s a good idea to make sure they know it won’t be wild anarchy when it comes to their sleep schedule. You want to make sure that your kids’ bedtimes and wake-up times stay pretty close to what they are during the rest of the school year. If their sleep schedule varies too much during the two or three weeks of their vacation, it can make the transition back to the school schedule a nightmare for your kids (and, let’s be honest, you too).
There may be a caveat to this rule, however, which your kids will definitely appreciate: you should go ahead and let your kids sleep in for the first few days of their vacation. As you probably know, the current status quo of school start times is not very accommodating to the sleep schedule your kids really need, biologically speaking. This means that you can almost be certain your kids aren’t operating at full charge, due to a lack of restorative sleep.
Giving them some time to catch up during the first few days is great—and after that, make consistency your goal.
Keep nighttime sugar-free
As the song goes, “Although it’s been said many times, many ways…” sugar and sleep just don’t mix. You’ve probably heard this rule all of your life, but it really is based in fact: sugar before bed causes us to wake up throughout the night, and can even wake us from a deep sleep.
Since holiday feasts include more than the usual opportunities for eating sweets before bed, it’s important to be mindful of this tried but true rule. It’s the best way to guarantee there are no next-day cases of the grumpies.
Plan for your away game
A trip to grandma’s house is like a visit to a whole new world, full of treats, gifts, breakfast in bed, and just generally being treated like royalty. The only downside? When it comes to falling asleep easily, there’s no place like home.
If you’ve ever tried falling asleep in an unfamiliar environment, then you know that your kids might have some trouble adjusting to new sleeping situations during holiday travels. Sleep disruptions in a new environment can come from noises, lights, or other unfamiliar discomforts.
The best way to get ahead of these sleep-interrupters is by making sure your kids are packed with the right gear whenever they’re spending the night away from home. The two staples for a great night's sleep no matter the environment are an eye mask and foam ear plugs. With these two additions, your kids are protected from any sleep-stealing slivers of light, and any sudden noises that might disturb their slumber are blocked out.
Plan a pajama party
Looking for a fun family idea that will make bedtime a bit more exciting? Why not try starting a new tradition this year with a family pajama party? All it requires is a set of matching pajamas for the whole family—the cornier the better, of course.
You can save them as a Christmas Eve surprise for the kiddos, or use the pj’s as a fun way to kick off the break, or any other time you’re all together. Just remember to get pajamas that won’t lead to overheating during the night—look for light, breathable fabrics made from natural materials like cotton or linen.
The most important part? A cheesy family photo shoot once you’re all pajama-ed up.
Healthy home for the holidays
Helping your kids get the best sleep possible is the easiest way to guarantee a holly, jolly holiday break for them and for you! Cheers to a well-rested holiday, full of great memories.
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This article originally appeared in Sleep Retailer eNews on December 13, 2018
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