Summer 2018 has been the busiest for our family to date, at least it seems that way!. My girls were in camp for 6 weeks from 10 A.M to 5 P.M, (long day right?). They had a couple of sleepovers at the Grandparents house. Two days after camp ended we were on a plane to London for just over 2 weeks. We also visited Paris for 3 days and 2 nights. The last leg of our trip was a sleepover for the girls with their cousins whilst mom and dad had a weekend in London attending a friends wedding. (Parents getting a weekend away is highly recommended). It doesn’t end there, we came back to New York and attended another wedding which meant staying in a hotel for two nights. And then we had family visiting and school starting. I am tired just typing this up!!
This is a lot of activity to squish into the space of three weeks AND a lot of changes in sleep environment and consistency.
So when I set off for our trip I made sure to pack our white noise machine. I set up sleep expectations with my daughters, reminding them that where we sleep is going to be different as we are on vacation. I continued to stick to bedtime routines and getting them to bed at a reasonable time so that they did not become overtired. There were a couple of late nights, lots of activity and fun had and sugar consumed.
My youngest daughter who is 5 also started Kindergarten once we returned. A big change, getting the bus to and from school, new friends and a new environment. She has been a Superstar sleeper from a very young age. She made the switch from a crib to a bed without any issues, has room/bed shared on vacation and transitioned back to her own bed with no problem.
I noticed a big change in her behavior since coming back and starting school. She seemed anxious about my whereabouts, following me around the house. Telling me she misses daddy when he is at work. The biggest change in her behavior I noticed was at bedtime…there were tears. The busy Summer and changes in sleep environment have thrown things off kilter.
So I wanted to share some tips on how what I have been doing to get things back on track. And they are getting back on track!
1. Listen, Acknowledge and Reassure: I have found that giving my daughter some time to express how she is feeling has been important and letting her know that I hear her and acknowledging her fears. I have also upped my reassurance by telling her where I am when I put her to bed and what I am doing “Whilst you sleep mommy will be downstairs reading a book/ watching a show, packing lunches and then I will go to bed”
2. Spend one on one time: Making sure I carve out time with just my youngest, reading books, cuddling, talking about her day. Filling her attention cup so that she doesn’t feel like she missed out at bedtime.
3. Talk about the importance of getting a good nights sleep: Reminding my daughter that she needs sleep to feel good in the morning, to have more energy and to learn at school.
4. Compromise without giving up control: So my daughters new fear around bedtime was that her bedroom was too dark and could I leave the door open. I made sure to leave her door open a crack and I put on an extra light in the hallway. I also covered her pillow with one of my t-shirts.
5. Stick to routines: So despite the tears and stalling I ensured I stuck with the bedtime routine. I made sure not to lay with my daughter and to create new strategies that she would get used to and come to expect.
6. Give it time: I made sure to be patient with the process and 2 weeks in, there have been great improvements.
I hope you find this helpful when getting things back on track after vacations. Children do well with consistency. Yes, this gets disrupted when creating memories and getting in fun-filled quality time, even for kiddos of Sleep Consultants.
This was a great reminder for me as to what the families I work with go through and how tired they must feel not getting sleep for months day in day out.
About Seema, Founder of Sleep, Rest & Play, Ltd.
Hi there – I’m Seema Bhambri, a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant and founder of Sleep, Rest & Play, LTD. I was born and raised in London, England and in 2007, I moved to New York. I have two adorable children, Avani and Anaya. Parenthood is one of the most amazing and challenging roles I’ve taken on. My role as a mom is one of the reasons I became a sleep consultant. I want to show the importance of sleep for their little ones and parents. With good sleep habits, the entire family can be healthier, happier, and more energetic.
I’d like to offer you a FREE 15-minute call with me to discuss your child and learn how with my private consultations could help you and your little one. You can also call me directly at (516) 506-0456 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.