Sleep Solutions for Grandkid Sleepovers

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The day has come when Mom and Dad need a break. Grandparents having been anticipating and looking forward to the day where they can have their grandbaby overnight. So much excitement in the air for both the parents and grandparents. Parents get a night out and grandparent finally feel helpful. This sets the stage for such great feelings doesn’t it? Until it’s time to sleep….

The baby’s personality will mostly dictate whether or not the night at grandparents is going to go well. If your baby is easy going, “goes with the flow” and will sleep anywhere, then little preparation may be needed for a parent’s night out. Drop off the diaper bag and off you go. However, if your baby is highly sensitive to their environment they will most surely protest a night at grandparents but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen or be successful, it may just take a bit more preparation.

There are many things grandparents and parents can do to prepare the baby for a successful day and night at grandparents’ house.

Create the most conducive environment for sleep.

If grandparents have a room that they can set up similarly to the baby’s room at home that would be a great start. Doesn’t mean you need to redo the guest room by any means but having the correct “equipment” is salient. This can include a “pack and play” to be used a crib, a sound machine and portable black out blinds. When the visit is over, these item can be easily put away in the closet or go home with the baby. Also don’t forget the baby’s sleep clothes and favorite blanket or stuffy. These transitional objects will help the baby drift off to sleep more easily.

Follow a schedule and routine through the day.

I know that grandparents want to be fun and spontaneous and they should! But only if it’s not time to sleep. Trust me, if you want to have fun with your grandbaby, you don’t want to miss the sleep cues or veer too far off schedule. This will not be fun for anyone. A baby that doesn’t sleep, can be cranky. Keep in mind that an overtired baby is MORE difficult to get to sleep. Sure, if your grandbaby is a little older a little shift here and there in the schedule will not be detrimental but if your grandbaby is under one years old, then let’s stick to their sleep schedule, it’ll be much more pleasurable.

Napping is important!

Don’t forget that babies need to nap. We can forego a nap because adult sleep needs are not as high as a baby’s sleep needs. And if a baby is well rested through the day, then the baby will be more fun though the day and easier to put down for bedtime. The idea “let’s get them tired and they will sleep through the night,” doesn’t apply to babies. Again, trust me, it’ll only backfire on you to not nap the baby. It’s ok to do an on-the-go nap in a stroller or carrier if you just can’t seem to get them down in the crib. Just try not to abort the nap altogether.

Respect the parents’ hard work.

For many grandparents, their ideas differ greatly from the baby’s parents. It may be hard for you to let go of your ideas and apply the ideas of the parents. Remember everyone has the baby’s best interest at heart but nobody wants to make an already stressful situation (leaving the baby overnight) for the parents more stressful. Likely it has taken a lot of work for the parents to set up sleep routines and schedules. As a sleep consultant I know how anxiety provoking changing sleep habits can be! So why not just help the parents keep to their routine as best as you can? It may also help with you getting another chance at watching the baby overnight…wink, wink. It will also help the parents anxiety of leaving the baby with you. We want the parent to enjoy their night off, not be worried that their baby is not sleeping.

Have fun!

During wake hours, have a much fun as possible. Enjoy these precious times with your grandbaby. You are a gift to the baby’s parents for taking the baby overnight and a gift to the baby for being at great grandparent.

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