Let’s get real. After 2 long years of restrictions, Chinese New Year is finally back in full force! As a parent that has done the work and appreciates a well-rested night, the impending visiting line up with a toddler and baby in tow is probably giving you some anxiety.
So, what is the secret mix to getting it all under control during one of the best holidays of the year? Here are our top (lucky) 6 tips.
- Realign your expectations and plan for disruptions.
Set realistic goals and expect some disruptions. Naps or bedtime will not be perfect, and that is entirely ok. A few days of disruption will not derail your babies good sleep habits, but long-term associations will. Once the festivities end, tighten up that ship and recognize what could have gone better, where things should not be and adjust.
- Try to provision for that first nap to happen in crib at home.
If possible, always try to have that first nap of the day in crib. Every nap can’t be on the go, the highest quality sleep will always be in a dark, quiet room, in crib. By setting up your baby for success for the day’s activity, baby will get better quality sleep throughout the day.
- Plan out your routes in advance
The great thing about living on this beautiful island, is that home is never too far away. Plan your routes in advance to cater around your baby’s nap schedule. If you would prefer having naps back at home. Please cater for that. It’s a great way to get the whole family well rested for the long line up of visiting. Be realistic about how much time you should be spending at each home. Your relatives and friends are not going to hold you against it. Remember, your little family’s needs come first. No one likes dealing with a full-blown tantrum. Happy kids, happy Chinese New Year.
- Get equipped for on-the-go naps if it does happen.
Naps on-the-go are a learned skill. Just like everything else in life, they take some practice. So be patient with yourself and your baby. Try settling your baby around the same nap time, they may take a while to settle and that’s perfectly alright. Re-create as much of the nap-routine as you can. Sing the same song, give the same cuddle, use the same sleep phrase. Try to darken the environment, by dimming the environment you’ll be able to block off unnecessary stimulants from the surrounding. Car window shades are great tools, nursing cover over your baby carrier or stroller or you can even try requesting for a spare room in the host’s house so that you can have baby in a calm environment while baby wearing through that nap. If you have a portable white noise machine on you, carry that along. Routine is associated with safety and comfort. Without routine in a new space, baby may find it difficult to get into that relaxed zone to fall asleep. With less sleep pressure, naps on-the-go are often 30 to 45 minutes long. There is absolutely no need to fight for a long nap here.
- Make concessions for reunion dinners, start them early!
This one can be tricky, especially if you are expecting this be a huge family gathering. If you are visiting people you know, express your intentions to the host early. It’s tempting to say, “whatever is okay”, however, in this case, you need to be an advocate for your child. If they know your routine, they can plan things around this. Have “Lo-Hei” happen much earlier and before dinner. 5.30pm is a fantastic time to gather everyone around the table. If dinner takes longer than expected, you can always choose to excuse yourself and hitch the earliest ride back home with baby while a key representative from the family can stay put. You know your baby best, be mindful of their limits. There is absolutely no need to feel obliged to carry on with dinner if baby is having a meltdown. And if for whatever reason, schedules are not aligned, go ahead, squeeze in a cat nap to get baby staying up longer past their usual bedtime.
- Bring bedtime forward
Try to avoid letting your little one slip into that dreaded overtired state. When you get home, there is going to be many things calling your name but you need to do the exact opposite for your little one and their sleep.
Just like vacations, family holidays, events, Chinese New Year can be extremely exhausting for our children and especially babies. Be patient with them and yourselves as you navigate this holiday with the entire family.
Happy Chinese New Year!