Let's talk about the Holiday chaos when it comes to changes in your normal daily lives. The Holiday season brings so many changes like later bedtimes, visits from family to include overnight stays, lots of shopping, decorations and gifts all over the house, visiting family at their houses, more church, less sleep, terrible foods, etc. etc. etc. So many changes!
If you refer back to my post from July, I talk about routine changes and getting back on track after things get a little messy. I think of myself as a stickler for routine but to be quite honest, as Johanna has gotten a little bit older I've learned to relax a bit. Enjoying yourself over the holidays and messing things up is not going to be the end of the world! I've learned that if Johanna goes to bed a little later I probably do too but what was the thing that caused her to go to bed early? Was it extra time decorating the house, going to visit a Christmas light show or that amazing visit from a family member? What's the saying? Pick your battles? You can totally do that in these situations too! If it seems like it would be worth it, then do it! If you want to stay at your parents house to enjoy holiday fun for a little bit longer, do it! These times don't come around that often so when they do, soak them up! I can almost guarantee that watching their faces light up when they see the Christmas lights will be worth the schedule change. Most importantly, do not feel guilty!!!
I'll give you an example! Recently, Johanna's Aunt and I so badly wanted to take her to a Christmas lights show that was pretty far from us. It was definitely going to be one those nights where we wouldn't be home until late! I knew she would be tired but I thought, "ya know what, this is worth it and she will be okay!" I planned for it accordingly. We schedule the light show on a night where I would be off the next day and went for it! Guess what? It worked out and I have no regrets. She really enjoyed herself!
Johanna is NOT the kid that falls asleep in her stroller or at the high chair. She is awake and ready for whatever when we are out! She needs to see everything. By the end of the night on our way home which was around 1030 she started getting restless. We were on the train (metro) on our way to our car and she was in her stroller. I did my best to keep her focused so that she wouldn't get too cranky. I sang to her, played games, laughed, etc etc. We got home around 1130 and she was asleep in the car. I had to wake her up to change her diaper and her clothes. It took a little rocking to soothe her back to sleep but that was fine with me. She slept until 930 the next day so I knew her nap time would be off. It was a little later than normal so I woke her up halfway through. Of course she was cranky but that evening I was able to get her back to sleep at her normal bedtime!
Now don't get me wrong, I know that every child is different and every family situation is different. I'm not suggesting that you allow chaos to ensue just to go hang out at the lights show. I'm not saying let your kid's eat all of the Christmas cookies late at night. What I am saying is that if it's manageable, don't skip out on memories made with you and your children. Don't skip out on potential traditions being set up for them along the years. What do you think you'll remember more?
Now, if you refer back to my July post, you'll find some things that can help you get them back on track after their routine has been all jacked up! I'll mention some in this post as well! I find that when Johanna is overly tired it can be much harder to get her to sleep and get her to stay asleep. Remember how I said that I am a stickler for routine? I like to try my best at sticking to the same thing every single night. Quite literally that includes bath, bottle, book, bed! I find that even if she is tired this is the best thing to do for her so that she is comfortable getting to sleep and staying asleep. Johanna needs a period of time before bed where she can relax and wind down even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes.
I think sometimes we expect to be able to put our kids in bed and they go straight to sleep. Like of course we so wish this was the case, right? There are some nights where we get home too late and she's already fallen asleep in the car. Then there are those nights where I bring pajamas and milk with us wherever we are going. I change her there before we head home that way if she does fall asleep in the car I can put her right to bed!
Getting back on that routine requires patience and really knowing what get's your babe in the sleep mood. Day time routines like naps, play time, quiet time, meal times may all get a little wacky too during this time of year. But think about it this way. It's only temporary. As long your babe is fed and happy then I think the Holidays can be used as an "excuse" for wacky routines! Don't you agree?
What happens when your babe is so cranky because of the changes? That's happened with us plenty of times! In these cases I try to have some quiet time with her or let her snooze for 20 minutes or so (if she will). I also use the "distraction" method where I try to focus her attention on different things so that she's not focused on the fact that she's in a bad mood! I'll play music, read a book, dance with her, or get her to help me do something around the house. Toddler's can be so unpredictable anyways, right?
Sometimes it doesn't even matter if you've stuck with the same routine for an entire month. They are like us they just can't communicate. They can still wake up in a bad mood, they can still have off days and it's okay Mama! We're all in this together! So let's enjoy these Holiday's and have an extra sip of eggnog before bedtime routines start (insert wink face here)!