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Holiday Sleep Schedules

December 20th, 2018 | By: Nancy Ripton
How to fit in holiday fun without your child becoming overtired and cranky.

In This Article

Holiday Sleep Schedules

Tis the season for fun and festivities. But too many late-night soirées can make for a grumpy, tired child. Here’s how to find the balance between holiday fun and sleep, so you can enjoy the season with a happy, well-rested child.

Holiday Sleep Schedules

A 12- to 18-month-old still needs one to two daily naps (for a total of 2 to 3 hours) and 11.5 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep. A two-year-old needs one nap (for 1.5 to 3 hours) and 11 to 12 hours of nighttime sleep. Consistency is essential for young children so bedtimes should be at the same time each day, even throughout the holidays. “Toddlers won’t sleep in to adjust for late bedtimes,” says Dr. Shelley Weiss. If your child goes to bed late, he’s missing out on valuable sleep.

“Some children are more affected by changes in sleep schedules than others,” says Dr. Nicky Cohen. “Parents need to use their best judgment in terms of juggling holiday events.” As a parent you know whether your child will be able to handle the occasional late night or missed nap. Likewise, some children can nap in the car and arrive rested, while others have trouble getting sleep outside of their bed.

“If your child goes to sleep easily, sleeps all night, and wakes up happy, then a night or two of late bedtimes shouldn’t hurt,” says Elizabeth Pantley. “However, if you have a finicky sleeper who has several night wakings and doesn’t always nap well it’s in everyone’s best interest to protect his sleep schedule as much as possible.”