How to Reset Your Kids' Sleep Schedule After the Holidays

School-aged child sleeping peacefully on her side

Nothing indicates a successful holiday season like a messy house, empty fridge, cranky children and tired parents. That’s right, the holidays have come and gone again in a magical blur. Hopefully you have some photos and memories to hold onto!

Once everyone goes back to school and work, you may realize just how much the busy holidays threw off track your kiddos’ sleep schedules. With so much excitement, it’s easy to let that happen. But, it’s important (for everyone’s sake!) to figure out how to get your kids to sleep well again.

While Naturepedic can’t help with taking down the holiday decorations and picking up the scattered toys, we can offer helpful tips for resetting your kids’ sleep schedule and getting the whole family back on track after the holidays. Consider it our belated holiday gift to you!

Why Do the Holidays Disrupt Kids’ Sleep So Much? 

Parents tucking their excited kids into bed over the holidaysParents tucking their excited kids into bed over the holidays

For starters, the holidays are a special season where parents tend to be more lenient. Rigid schedules loosen up. We start attending all the holiday community and school events. We gather more with loved ones, sometimes traveling or hosting house guests.

This all leads to later bedtimes and little ones filled with excess excitement and anticipation – not to mention sugar! During the holidays, sweet treats and snacks abound at every corner and every gathering. Children tend to have way more access to sugar during the holidays, which can significantly disrupt their sleep.

Another important factor is that school’s out! While on holiday break from school, children are likely to sleep in later (and stay up later), which can throw off their usual cycles and disrupt their natural slumber.

5 Kid-focused Tips: How to Reset the Sleep Schedule 

Understanding why your little ones are fighting sleep at bedtime and feeling grumpy all day helps … but it definitely doesn’t make the sleep battle any easier. Fortunately, we have some tangible tips to help them – and you – recover.

1. Re-establish Regular Sleep and Wake Times

Get back on track by aligning your kids’ sleep and wake cycles with the sun. Re-establishing these set times will recreate healthy circadian rhythms in your children. If your children have been oversleeping during the holidays, try going into their rooms in the early morning to let natural sunlight in.

Conversely, making sure they begin to wind down and prepare for bed once the sun sets will further establish routine and healthy sleep cycles.

2. Eat Well and as a Family

Encourage your children to relax and reset by slowing down and eating together as a family. Studies have shown that nourishing, regular meals are a profound bonding and balancing tool for children. It’s also been shown that an adequate diet supports sleep. This includes foods like:

  • Lean proteins
  • Healthy fats
  • Whole grains
  • Organic fruits and vegetables

Learn more about the connection between your children’s diet and sleep here.

3. Limit Screen Time and Blue Light Exposure

Young girl watching cartoons on television, absorbing blue lightYoung girl watching cartoons on television, absorbing blue light

It’s only natural for rules to become a little hazy during the holidays. Especially with all the Christmas movies, screen limits become all too easy to ignore. But, it’s important now to reinforce your regular screen time rules in order to help children get back on track.

Limiting screen time and blue light exposure from electronics at least two hours before bed will support your kids’ circadian rhythm and help their brains and bodies naturally produce melatonin. This is because blue light can actually deplete melatonin – an essential hormone for sleep!

4. Go Outside and Get Active

While the holidays and colder temperatures make for the perfect conditions to lay around and be cozy, resting too much or napping during the day can disrupt sleep at night. Encourage your children to get outside by planning a fun activity for them to do. Exercise and exposure to natural sunlight and fresh air can all result in better quality sleep for kiddos.

5. Refresh the Bedtime Routine

Kids tend to thrive on routine and may even look forward to their bedtime routine if there’s one they enjoy put in place. Creating a bedtime routine breeds stability and consistency. Try incorporating their favorite bedtime storybooks, cozy pajamas, deep breaths, stretches, essential oil diffusers and more to induce relaxation and help them wind down.

Father helping his daughter brush her teeth at bedtimeFather helping his daughter brush her teeth at bedtime

New Year’s Sleep Resolutions for the Whole Family 

It wouldn’t be a true post-holiday reset without setting some intentional New Year’s resolutions and goals. Here are a few healthy sleep habits the whole family can benefit from and even practice together:

Go Organic as a Family

Swap out toxic bedding and mattresses in your home with certified organic, non-toxic alternatives. Naturepedic uses only GOTS approved materials like organic cotton to create luxurious and comfortable sleep products for your home that won’t harm your health. Can’t afford all new mattresses after the holiday spending? Start with organic protector pads for the kids and you!

Wind Down Together

Setting designated time as a family to wind down will create peace within your home. This can look like reading, bathing, listening to music or scheduling technology-free time as a family to connect with one another in the evening.

Organic Protector Pads for KidsOrganic Protector Pads for Kids

Protector Pads

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Organic Sheets and Pillowcases for KidsOrganic Sheets and Pillowcases for Kids

Sheets

Choose cozy, organic sheets and pillowcases to match your child's new mattress. 

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Pillows

Lay your child's little head to rest on a healthy, organic pillow they'll love.

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Enjoy a Bedtime Beverage or Snack 

While it’s not recommended to eat large meals before bed, certain foods and drinks can actually promote more restorative sleep. Enjoying some herbal tea, warm milk, fresh cherries or organic walnuts as a family before bed can promote restful sleep for everyone.

Create a Healthy Sleep Environment

Implementing simple changes like setting the thermostat below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, investing in an air purifier and incorporating warm red light in the evening to mitigate blue light exposure are all healthy changes that can be made.

School-aged girl climbing into bed in a healthy organic sleep environmentSchool-aged girl climbing into bed in a healthy organic sleep environment

Healthy sleep is the result of a healthy sleep environment. At Naturepedic, we know the biggest change you can make really is healthier mattresses, pillows and bedding. Transforming people’s lives with safer, healthier sleep has been our mission for 20 years now. From breathable crib mattresses to non-toxic potty-training mattresses to fully customable adult mattresses, we have certified organic options for everyone.

We hope these helpful reset tips have given you tired parents a much-needed exhale. Here’s to hanging onto those sweet holiday memories while looking ahead to the New Year and fostering healthy sleep for the whole family.