The holidays were filled with family gatherings regardless of what you may have celebrated whether it would have been Christmas or Hanukkah. You likely did your fair share of playing in the snow, perhaps a little travelling, while opening up presents, and sleeping erratically. Your toddler likely did as well, as his or her nap schedule may have been varied. That is right, your toddler’s routine was interrupted during the holidays.
Your toddler may not have gone to preschool/daycare during the holidays, leading to unstructured days which could have interrupted his or her routine even more. Now that the holidays are over – you are wondering how to get back to a normal routine again, especially with a toddler. Listed below are some steps to take:
Expect the Worst in the Beginning
- Your toddler will be cranky! Unfortunately, there is no way around this. Your toddler thrives on having a regular routine, and because it was changed abruptly during the holidays due to all of the excitement, getting back to the swing of things will make your toddler very unhappy. If you know this ahead of time, you will be calmer, and patient while your toddler gets back into the normal routine that he or she was in prior to the holidays.
- Prepare yourself for several tantrums. You may be lucky enough to only endure your confused toddler getting back into the routine to whine and cry. However, odds are they will throw a few tantrums after noticing the extended family is gone, and no more presents are there for them to be opened. They will challenge you! If you are prepared for the worst such as major tantrums, you can find techniques to help you stay calm and patient while your toddler works through it. Eventually it will stop, just hang in there!
Get Your Toddler Back to a Normal Sleep Schedule ASAP!
Chances are your toddler was not napping during regular times during the holidays, and likely even stayed up past his or her normal bedtime. In order to help your toddler get back to his or her typical routine, you must start setting the same naptime and bedtime immediately.
Chances are your toddler will not nap right away, which will increase the crankiness which was described in the points above. Eventually he or she will, so keep putting your toddler to bed during nap time, and make sure he or she is in bed at the same time that he or she was before the holidays at night. Eventually your toddler will fall into their original sleep routine.
Ease Your Toddler Back into the Preschool/Daycare Mode
Just like older kids and adults, going back to school or work after the holidays is a major drag. Your toddler will feel the same way about going back to preschool/daycare, and the last thing you want to do is throw him or her back into it once the holidays are over. There are steps to take to make the transition back to school easier.
- Drive by your toddler’s school two or three days before they start back. For some toddlers, going back to school after a break is a first experience. Therefore, they will react poorly if they are thrown into it right away. Even for kids who have experienced going back to school after a break is a lot for them to handle. If you drive by their schools a few days before they go back, or if they are advanced enough to understand that school will be back while counting down the days on the calendar – they will know that going back to school will be in their nearer future and will handle the transition back better.
- Read plenty of stories to them. If you haven’t been reading your toddlers bedtime stories during the holidays because of the routine being completely messed up, then you must start getting back into the habit. Kids love bedtime stories, and it keeps their minds stimulated. If your toddler associates having stories read to them with school, then they will have an easier transition back as well.
To sum up, your toddler will most definitely have a difficult time getting back to the routine that they were in before the holidays. You will have a hard time as well, but stay calm and be consistent with helping them transition back into it, and before you know it – your toddler will be happy and secure in the same routine he or she was in before the holidays.