How are you feeling about the upcoming holidays? How is your stress level? Do you feel the added pressure as a new parent to do “all the things?” I just received my first Christmas card in the mail and it’s December 1st! I know some people who have gifts wrapped and their houses decorated the day after Thanksgiving. And we all know those people who are ready for the holidays right after they take their kids out of their Halloween costumes. Hey, if that’s you, awesome! If you are anything like me, I seem to blink and it’s December and time to get going into the busy season. However, I want to encourage you to stop comparing yourself to what other families are doing and do what works for you and your family. I give you permission to relax and enjoy the holidays and make them your own.

Are you anxious about how the holidays will look with a baby or toddler? Whether you are a first-time parent or have been doing this for a while, I want to share with you from personal experience my 5 tips for a peaceful holiday.


Of course, I am going to discuss sleep since it’s in my wheelhouse. Ideally, you will want to try your best to keep your baby or toddler on a sleep schedule/routine so that they will be ready for all the fun things you have planned during the holidays. If your baby is younger than 6 months, you should be following Awake Windows. Click on the link to get your Awake Window PDF for Newborn through Toddler Awake Window PDF

Commit to getting your little ones to bed on time and keep naps in place. If you need to plan around a special dinner, lunch, or activity, for your baby or toddler to get a nap, do it! Everyone will be happier in the end. I would rather have a later lunch or earlier dinner than a tired and cranky baby. Speak up if you need to ask everyone if they could work around your child’s nap or bedtime…within reason.

If you are traveling for the holidays, just remember to bring along everything that your child might need for the most successful sleeping situation:

  • SlumberPod
  • Pack-n-play
  • Swaddle or sleepsack
  • Sound machine
  • Lovey (one year and older)

You can also plan to travel when your child is supposed to take a nap to ensure that they get some rest during the day.

A caveat for keeping your baby on a schedule or routine…be flexible. If you have a sleep-trained child, you have a lot more flexibility. One or two late nights here and there during the holidays will not mess up what you have worked so hard to achieve. While you do have to accommodate your little ones at times, it is important to know that you can deviate from a nap or extend a bedtime until later if you have a fun activity going on.

If you have to modify the bedtime routine, that is ok too. Maybe you don’t bath your child that night because you are visiting grandma. Instead, you can give them a quick wipe-down and put them in their pajamas before hitting the road. Hopefully, they can transfer easily when you arrive home.


This particular tip is for parents of newborns. There is nothing wrong with being overprotective of your sweet newborn. It is up to parents to keep their baby safe and healthy. Keeping your baby in the car seat or stroller covered with a blanket when you are out is perfectly okay. You can even consider wearing them for people not to touch them. I’ve even seen signs that people put on their baby’s car seat that say “STOP. Look but please DON’T TOUCH. Thank you very much.” Let’s be honest, people are dirty…lol.

People also don’t always have boundaries and don’t think about germs. This is especially true if they don’t have a newborn or they have older children and have forgotten. Although it is a sweet harmless gesture to want to touch your baby, it is acceptable to ask them not to without apologies. If you are with friends and family, make sure you carry hand sanitizer and ask them to use it before touching your baby.

Don’t feel obligated to allow people to hold your baby. Some babies or toddlers can get overwhelmed and overstimulated with many people wanting to hold or touch them so it is okay to act on their behalf to decline kindly. The last thing you want is a sick child during the holidays. After all, you will be the one caring for them.


Sometimes less is more especially when it might be overstimulating for a baby or a toddler. There are so many fun things to do during the holiday season. It is easy to over-schedule yourself and your family. However, this can oftentimes lead to unnecessary meltdowns (possibly for your child and for you too…wink!) Sometimes babies and toddlers can get overstimulated by all the activities. It can quickly turn into more of a stressful situation rather than a fun one. Focus on a few things that are meaningful to you and your family and do them. Take a drive or walk and look at Christmas lights, make a simple craft, or bake cookies. If you set your expectations high to do everything that your friends are doing on social media, you might be disappointed with overstimulated babies or toddlers (and let’s be honest…yourself!) Speaking of expectations…


I know the feeling of wanting to recreate your childhood traditions or to even start new ones. Oftentimes, I feel like with Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, we struggle with trying to keep up with everything that everyone is doing. Playing the comparison game can often steal the joy of the season. Comparing ourselves to that “perfect” family can be exhausting.

I’m so glad that Elf on the Shelf wasn’t a big deal when my kids were little (our poor elf got burned by the lightbulb… oopsie). Trying to be creative with 24 days of Elf on the Shelf can be quite stressful. Making miniature spa day scenes for your elf, or recreating your elf wrapping presents. Wrapping miniature packages and filling them with small trinkets for your child to open are just a few of many that you can get ideas for when planning your time with your elf.

Anyway, I mention these examples to remind you to give yourself some grace and maybe pick a few traditions that you want to start for your own family without feeling like you have to go overboard! And more power to you to those that are Elf on the Shelf enthusiasts. Thankfully they have kits that you can buy to take the guesswork out of it.

Personally, my favorite traditions when my kids were litter were getting our family matching PJs and opening them up on Christmas Eve, walking to look at Christmas lights, and picking out a Christmas tree. However, as my kids got older, with this particular activity of picking out trees, I became very frustrated with everyone because I cared about picking out a tree more than they did. I would get upset and then our fun tradition became not so fun for anyone. So now, my husband goes with me and I can take all the time in the world and he is very patient as I try to find the perfect tree (which is usually the first one we picked out about 30 minutes prior). HA! To be honest, it makes me a tiny bit sad but I am way less frustrated and I’m glad that isn’t a tradition anymore.

It is ok to switch things up if a tradition isn’t working for the family. Remember, these are YOUR traditions. Speaking of trees, just because your family grew up picking out Douglas Firs and your spouse’s family grew up picking out Noble Firs or real vs fake trees, YOU get to do whatever you want with your family! Can anyone relate? I told my husband that I think it’s time to purchase a fake tree this year…and we did!


What?!?! You heard me right. I know some of you love to host parties at your house and you can still do that without having all the stress of doing everything that goes along with hosting. Offer to have a holiday celebration at your house without feeling like you have to do everything (especially if you have a newborn). Ask people to bring all the food and you provide the home. This can be stressful for some people, but having to lug all that baby gear, special toys, pack-n-play, etc somewhere else can be even more stressful. That way, when it is time for a nap or bed, you have everything already in place. If you are a nursing mama, you can excuse yourself and take an extra long session to relax and regroup if needed. Get on the same page with your spouse/partner and if needed, he can wrap up the party if it is going on too long.

Side note on relatives or even friends. Awhile back I saw an amazing Instagram post from @transformingtoddlerhood. They write about respecting body boundaries (Holiday Edition). They state to avoid making your child physically greet a family member. “Give Uncle Larry a hug and a kiss. He came all this way to see you.” Instead, try allowing your child to be in control of how they greet people. “Uncle Larry is here! How do you want to say hello?” Here’s why: forcing a child to greet a family member in a specific way doesn’t leave room for the child to be in charge of their body. Children need to be able to choose how they physically interact with others based on their emotions, needs, and intuition. We tend to cross a child’s body boundaries when we are attached to a specific outcome or trying to uphold social norms over attuning to the child and their needs in the moment. If they don’t know what to do we can ask if they would like to say hi or give high five. While I do think it is okay for them not to give a hug, it is important to teach them to be polite and acknowledge that person with a “hello.”

Back to HOSTING…a final tip. Have a special friend or relative be in charge of cleaning up and rallying everyone else to help as you put your little one to bed. By doing this, you can keep your bedtime routine without missing a beat and get out of doing the dishes. Wink Wink! Here is a free download for my Bedtime Routine if you need direction: Bedtime Routine Guide

I hope these 5 Holiday Tips: SLEEP, DON’T TOUCH, LIMIT ACTIVITIES, TRADITIONS, and HOST WITHOUT HOSTING will make your time with your little ones less stressful and more peaceful and that you will enjoy your family even more during this beautiful season

As always, there is no time like the present to reach out if you are having sleep issues with your baby or toddler. I would love to help your baby sleep so that you can too! Feel free to schedule a 15-minute discovery call so you can get your sleep back soon! Discovery Call

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