Getting baby’s sleep back on schedule…after a family night out!

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A sweet one month old newborn baby girl is sleeping on her back in her crib, swaddled in a pink blanket.
A sweet one month old newborn baby girl is sleeping on her back in her crib, swaddled in a pink blanket.

To go out or not to go out? It’s the question many mothers face once their child is finally in a (sometimes) predictable nap pattern. Cheryl Fingelson explains how to cope with a ‘family’ late night out.

Were you ever one who claimed ‘Having children won’t change my life?’ Did you ever say the words, ‘I’ll continue go out and have a social life after I have the baby”? If so, it never happened once the wee ones arrived, right?! Having kids changes your life – FACT.

There are times, however, when your social life must continue. So how do you manage attending an event with child/children in tow? Do you allow them to stay up late, or do you scrap the whole idea altogether and commit to a life of ‘staying in’ and perhaps missing milestone events? And there will be occasions that cannot be avoided and you will have no choice but to take offspring along. You will have to make some adjustments, both on the day and night of the event, and, yes I’m afraid the next day may also be “payback day!”

When it comes to your child’s temperament, you might have a child that is adaptable and fairly content when routine is disrupted, or, you may have a child that simply cannot be ‘settled’ after a change in routine and who is hugely irritable. In any case, following a change to regular sleep patterns, the key is to try and get back to the usual routine as quickly as possible. There are many ways in which to do this:

  • After a late night for children and toddlers, you may be tempted to give the kids a sleep in the next day to make up for it. But in most cases, if your child has a good pattern of sleeping and waking, their natural body clock will wake them at the normal time. If this occurs, stick to your normal schedule, but extend sleep times slightly.
  • For babies, the morning sleep should take place slightly earlier as baby will be more tired from not having had enough of their usual sleep throughout the night before. You could also extend sleep slightly to allow close-to-normal sleep times for the afternoon into the night. If the morning nap doesn’t pan out too well then implement this for the afternoon nap; a little earlier and longer.
  • For a toddler who has woken sprightly at their usual morning time, encouraging a solid day-time nap is wise. But if they are overtired this may prove to be a difficult feat. Use usual sleep time cues and limit stimuli, i.e. ensure the room is quiet and dark, may help. If your toddler refuses a daytime nap then try a ‘rest time’ instead, again with no stimuli; make the environment boring and fuss-free.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have been blessed with a lie in thanks to your kids sleeping in, go back to normal sleep times as much as possible, remembering to limit nap-times in the day.

All of this is to ensure that the night after the night before is resumed back to a good nights sleep for all!

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