The Christmas season is here! Many of us already have a full calendar between parties, activities, shopping, travel and endless to-do lists. All of this can bring a lot of mixed emotions of excitement, joy, as well as overwhelm, busyness and exhaustion with trying to fit it all in – a tall order for most of us. As I write this, we have exactly one month before Christmas Day, so I want to share my best tips so that you take in the special moments, feel more relaxed, and of course rested when the new year arrives!
Learn to say “no thank you” to some celebrations
While we look forward to attending holiday parties and spending time with family and friends, it can be exhausting to attend every single one. Especially when there is a Christmas party (or two!) planned for your work, perhaps your spouse’s work, and, if you are a parent, this often means a party for daycare, school, and every activity that your child is involved in
Instead, decide which holiday celebrations are most important for you and your family. If you politely decline, people always understand. Schedule a time to meet with friends after the holidays and plan a date ahead so that you don’t miss out on spending time with those that matter the most in your life.
Brain dump & prioritize
Planning will save you from the crazy hamster wheel of rushing this time of year. Create a master list of everything that is on your mind, in your calendar, and perhaps floating in your inbox – this will save you time and eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. Take a hard look at the list and decide what is really important.
There are some commitments that you want to do, meaning it won’t be Christmas without them – volunteering at my children’s school for Christmas shopping day is a must do event for me because I enjoy seeing the children’s excitement when they have picked out something special for their loved ones.
There are, of course some activities that are commitments that still must happen, like wrapping presents (usually fun at the beginning of the season but not at 2 a.m. the day before Christmas Eve).
Then there are events that you can easily eliminate – like attending a cookie trading party, going to three Santa Claus Parades, or booking yourself Friday through Sunday each weekend. Some people might enjoy this type of pace while others do not. Be honest with yourself and choose those that are most important.
Honour your own bedtime most nights
Indulging is fun and we all look forward to doing it bit more often than usual. This often results in poor quality sleep throughout the month. Ensure that you are achieving proper rest by being mindful of the following five out of seven days of the week:
- Create a bedtime most nights of the week: Aim for an achievable bedtime most nights. If it is 10:30 p.m. create a short 30-minute routine at 10:00 p.m. to allow your body some time to wind down with a bath, reading, or sipping a chamomile tea.
- Create daily pauses: Take a walk, eat your lunch away from your desk, read a good book for 10-15 minutes midday or sit for a few minutes and inhale and exhale silence. These daily pauses will allow your body some time during the day to calm down, resulting in better quality sleep in the evening.
- Turn off electronics 1-2 hours before bedtime: Blue light is produced by electronic devices and wrecks havoc on the quality of our sleep by reducing melatonin production that our body naturally produces throughout the night. Scrolling on our electronic devices, online shopping and watching Christmas Vacation again 😉 are places that we can limit our exposure to blue light.
Being rested during the holidays, means that we have the opportunity to truly enjoy the special moments that come with this time of year. Wishing you a wonderful and blessed Christmas celebrating each and every one of them!
Many moms would agree that life with a toddler and a baby can feel challenging. It can often be a non-stop roller coaster ride between breakfast and bedtime. Here are my tips for making the jugging act easier for everyone!
Ask for help
Many moms have a challenging time doing this. Recognize that it is okay and normal to ask for help – it truly takes a village! If family lives far away, there is always a neighbour, a friend, a babysitter (the money spent is worth it!). Think of one person and ask, as they will often say yes. So many people will love to snuggle a baby or play with your toddler. Even one hour of entertaining your toddler and/or baby can be just the time that you need to rest, take a break, or spend some time with your spouse.
This may be a challenge to do everyday but having a plan most of the time will help to manage your day better and offers your toddler predictability which he will love. Children love to know what is happening next as it offers them a safe and secure environment to thrive in.
- Go to the park in the morning or afternoon.
- Plan a play date with a friend who also has children of a similar age.
- Do a craft. Pinterest has some excellent and simple ideas.
- Check something off of your to-do list. Grocery shopping is a fun outing for many toddlers!
Plan some time outdoors
Even if the temperature is cool, everyone benefits from a bit of fresh air during the day. This will allow your toddler the chance to play and run while your baby can experience nature. Bundle them up and get outside – the change of pace will benefit everyone!
- If there are leaves, snow or green grass this is a great chance for your baby and your toddler to explore.
- Wearing a baby carrier or placing her in a stroller is also a wonderful way to get outside and take a nature walk.
Honour sleep & rest needs
Honour your child’s need for sleep at least 90 % of the time. THIS is huge.You may choose to have your baby nap on the go a couple of times a week but ensure that it does not happen everyday. If it does, a sleep regression could be the result. Your baby needs sleep, as well as your toddler! We know and have experienced an overtired child and the results are not pretty – melt downs, lots of hard crying and then difficulty settling for the next sleep time. Also ensure that you honour your own sleep needs by resting your eyes for 10-15 minutes, taking a nap or getting to bed early.
I always love to hear comments from parents and would love to know your tips for balancing your day with a baby and toddler! Email [email protected], comment below. For anyone looking for help with honouring their sleep needs for their children or themselves you can schedule a FREE 15-minute call here!
Do you ever feel like your home circulates between one virus after the other? Having young children can leave parents and little ones battling any combination of sore throats, stomach bugs and the sniffles. Sleep is such a powerful tool with amazing immune boosting benefits which is why it is important to optimize sleep as much as possible during illness. Following these tips will ensure that children are feeling better as quickly as possible.
Get more sleep.
When children are run down and sick, their sleep needs increase. Earlier bedtimes are necessary – even five or six o’clock is not too early, especially if they are running a fever – their body needs it and they will wake-up at their usual morning time or perhaps sleep in to fight off the illness. The body is incredibly smart and signals what it needs to recover.
Providing older children with a daytime nap is also helpful. As a mom to an active five year old, understand how there can sometimes be a struggle with encouraging children who no longer nap, to take one. Make sure children understand the importance of sleep and how it helps them recover more quickly. They will be able to participate in fun activities, feel more energetic and get rid of the sick symptoms more quickly if they listen to how their body – it is telling them to sleep in order to get better. Explaining it to them in simple terms, and always educating children on why sleep is important is key!
Keep them comfortable.
Being sick includes a number of ways that contribute to children feeling uncomfortable – a stuffy nose, bad cough, chest congestion or a stomach ache are just a few. Not to mention how these symptoms only worsen at night, it is important to provide reassurance and support and to make the environment as comfortable as possible.
If children have a fever, a bath is extremely helpful to bring the temperature down and to help them feel more relaxed for sleep.
Make sure that babies have comfortable pajamas and a sleep sack that isn’t going to become too warm during the night. For older children in a bed, provide them with blankets that they can easily pull on or off during the night.
If you do not have one, invest in a dehumidifier for each child (it is likely that they will be sick at the same time). I recommend a cool mist one, as they are safer. This helps with the flow of air in the room, and helps alleviate a bad cough, sore throat or stuffy nose.
If you are comfortable with doing so, providing age appropriate medicine is extremely helpful temporarily when children are feeling at their worst. There are some excellent homeopathic options on the market as well. It is always important to consult your pediatrician or family doctor to find out what they recommend.
Keep sleep in a familiar environment.
If children normally sleep independently in a crib or bed, this is not the time to have them sleep in a new space, such as the parent’s bed. It is always best to move to the sleep environment where they are going to have the best quality sleep. For example, place a mattress on the floor and be with them so that they can sleep where they will receive the best rest – this will speed up their recovery process and parents are still available should they need them during the night.
Trust your intuition.
Sometimes children need a bit of help on the road to getting well. It was not long ago that we had to make a trip to the hospital for our two and a half year old son who had a severe case of croup. Never question your intuition. Sickness can sometimes be more serious and if that is the case, a visit to the family doctor or using one of these resources to help get little ones get better more quickly may be necessary.