Just like with any other hard earned habit that relapsed over the last few days, it can be painful getting your child back on track with sleep after the holidays.
In most cases, cold turkey is the best approach to getting your child back to sleeping independently, all night long, in their own bed.
If you did cry it out (or Ferber, or the chair method) to initially sleep train, go right back to your sleep training plan. If you were offering night feeds while staying with friends or family, it’s fine to wean off those cold turkey if your baby or toddler wasn’t eating at night prior to the holiday. Otherwise, I suggest a more gradual approach.
If you didn’t break your habits for too many nights, it should be a fairly quick reset, although not necessarily painless. If your child was in your bed for a few nights, they will certainly protest returning to their own beds. But the protests shouldn’t last more than 1-3 nights, unless you made exceptions for many nights in a row.
Likewise, try to get them back to their normal, hopefully healthy, diet as soon as possible. Offer plenty of fruits and vegetables to ward off any constipation associated with too many sweet and starchy holiday or travel snacks. Try to get them outside for fresh air and exercise every day this week. That will help get them eating more healthfully again AND sleeping better – fresh air and outdoor exposure to daylight always help sleep.
And if sleep has gotten further off track and you want to end the year with a well-rested family, schedule a free consult and consider great sleep the gift you are giving yourself for the new year.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.