Christmas is right around the corner, dear readers! Of course, you probably already knew that I’ll bet your local big-box stores have had their Christmas displays out for a few weeks now, right? Mine have. It seems like the Christmas season is getting earlier and earlier these days; before we know it, we’ll be seeing Christmas ads in September!
Anyway, speaking of the Christmas season, while all of us no doubt have plenty of work to do between now and Christmas (what with the baking and the decorating and the shopping), we know some of you want to utilize the next few weeks to add another task to your holiday to-do-list: sleep training! Every year, we have a number of families contact our Sleep Helpdesk in early December, eager to get started on sleep training now so that they can have sleeping babies by Christmas. (Because the holidays are so much nicer when you aren’t an exhausted, bleary-eyed, zombie, aren’t they? )
And that’s what we’re talking about in today’s article. Is sleep training between now and Christmas break right idea for your family? And, if so – how should you go about doing it? Read on for details!
Should You Sleep Train Your Baby or Toddler Before the Holidays?
Before we get into the ‘hows’ of sleep training, let’s first take a look at whether or not this is a good plan for your family or not, given the realities of what your particular December will look like.
Sleep training before the holidays may be a good idea if…
- …you can fit it into your schedule. Sleep training does require some work (on your part and on your baby’s), so if the next few weeks are jam-packed for you, consider waiting until your schedule is lighter
- …you will be home for the next few weeks, and will not be doing any traveling. Sleep training goes best when you can do it during a time when you have at least a week (preferably 2) of consistent, normal days at home.
- …you don’t have out-of-town visitors coming to stay between now and Christmas (or, if you do have overnight visitors, they are visitors who will accept your sleep training plans and will not criticize, hinder, or discourage you.)
Sleep training before the holidays may not be a good idea if…
- …you know you will be too busy to devote your full energy and attention to it.
- …you will be traveling (especially overnight traveling), or you have lots of holiday plans that will keep you away from home and will mean lots of ‘unusual’, inconsistent days.
- …you have friends or family visiting who will not be supportive of your decision to sleep train.
How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before the Holidays
Now, as for how to work on sleep training your baby or toddler over the break: here are two options for you to explore.
If you want help with sleep training, then contact us!
We offer a fast turn-around on all of our sleep consultation packages – clients usually receive their Personalized Sleep Plan™ within 4 days of sending us their family sleep history forms. That means that if you were to purchase a consultation package within the next week, you would have your Personalized Sleep Plan™ in plenty of time to start sleep training now, and possibly have a well-rested, sleeping baby by Christmas. Just don’t wait too long to contact us; our HelpDesk will be closed for a few days during the week of Christmas (see our holiday hours here).
If you want to handle sleep training on your own, then you may want to do the following…
- Work to establish a consistent daytime routine. This means a consistent morning wake-up time and a consistent bedtime. It also means fairly consistent nap and feeding times. Need help figuring out your ideal schedule? Check out our sample sleep and feeding schedules.
- Decide whether you’re going to work on sleep training for naps first, or sleep training for nights, or both. You can separate out nights and naps, and just pick one to tackle at the start. That can make the process easier on everyone (particularly if you feel anxious about sleep training, or if you have a slow-to-adapt baby who is resistant to change). For more info about nap training vs. night training, read this article. For info about how nap sleep differs from night sleep, read through this article.
- Decide on how you’re going to approach sleep training. There are lots of ways to sleep train your baby or toddler. And that’s a good thing – it allows you to choose a method that’s suited to your baby and your unique family situation and parenting preferences. Need helping selecting the best method for your family? To see a cheat sheet with 5 of the most common methods explained, click here. For a more thorough explanation of how to sleep train, check out our free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, or our even more comprehensive e-book The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5 Step System To Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers).
“In my experience, the most important step is often the hardest and that’s taking the first step in the first place. We have two weeks before Christmas and many babies will be sleeping MUCH better by then, if you start today!”
A Few Reminders For Families Who Will Sleep Train Before Christmas
A few parting words, before we wrap up this article. First, if you’ll be sleep training in the next few weeks, remember that consistency is key. Stick with your sleep training plan for at least a week before making any changes to it. It may take a week or more for some babies to show any improvement, and toddlers may take even longer (2 or 3 weeks, perhaps). With this in mind, don’t expect lightning-fast results. You may be able to solve all your child’s sleep issues in the course of the next few weeks, but that will not be the case for every family. What you can definitely do, though, is to get a good start on sleep training, and then carry your efforts over into the new year.
So, will you be sleep training before the holiday break? If so — what’s your plan?
If sleep training is part of your holiday plans, browse these resources that are sure to help:
- Want to work on your newborn’s sleep over the holidays? Download our free guide on newborn sleep, 15 Baby Sleep Facts New Parents Need To Know, or purchase a copy of our comprehensive e-Book on newborn sleep, 4 Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep.
- Want to focus on naps over the break? Be sure to check out our free guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes and/or check out Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-to” of good baby sleep. With over 40 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
- Want Unlimited Product Access? Join our Members Area packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and teleseminars. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately!
- Need Personalized Help? For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.