How To Help Baby Sleep at a Holiday Party

Get 7 tips for helping your baby to sleep at the holiday party this holiday season. Find ways to help baby sleep in a different environment and what to do when naps are short.

Baby sleeping with Santa hat on

The holidays can be a really fun and exciting time! But they also bring with them a lot of hustle and bustle. One of the most stressful parts about holiday plans for parents with young kids is the holiday party.

Parents worry about their baby’s sleep and how naps will go with the party going on. They worry about not just that day, but the days following. How long with it take the disrupted baby to get back on track after a party?

Let’s talk about ways you can help your baby sleep at your holiday parties this year.

Find Places Your Baby Can Sleep

When you get to your party location, see if there are places that would work for your baby to take a nap. Your baby will sleep best if they are able to sleep in a quiet space.

Is there an extra bedroom? Is there an empty office? Is there a walk in closet? Find options that will work for your baby to still take a nap at the regular nap time and maintain the sleep schedule.

If you are concerned about how this might go, you can spend time varying sleep locations at home leading up to the party.

Set Up the Sleep Environment for Your Baby

If you are able to have a space for baby to try to sleep and take a nap, set up that sleep environment to help your baby sleep well.

Try to make it as much as like home as possible. Bring along a travel crib to help baby have a secure and safe bed to sleep in (bassinet, slumberpod, pack n’ play, etc.).

>>>Read: 12 Travel Beds for Babies and Toddlers to Sleep In

Bring some travel blackout curtains you can put over a window without damaging the space. Bring a sound machine. Bring the sleep sack or swaddle your baby usually sleeps with.

If your child is old enough for a blanket or lovey, bring those along.

Bring all of the essentials you need to to set up your child’s sleep space to be familiar and comfortable.

Be Smart with Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule

There is a lot you can do with routines to set your baby up for success when sleeping away from home.

The first thing you should do if you can is to maintain the morning nap. Keep that first nap of the day solid and consistent. Make sure your baby gets to take a morning nap at home. If you have to leave a little later and be late to the party because of that, it will be worth it.

>>>Read: The Vital Importance of the First Nap

If you absolutely can’t make sure the first nap happens at home, you might try to travel during that first nap. Some babies will sleep in the car. It might not b good sleep, but something is better than nothing.

You can also adjust your baby’s typical routine for that day. This is when flexibility comes into play. You might wake your baby up earlier that day to help set up the schedule to fit the party better. Conversely, you might let your baby sleep in later to help with lining things up.

>>>Read: “Flexible-izing” a Baby: Help Baby Be Flexible

You might change the length of naps. You might have an earlier bedtime that day, or maybe a late bedtime. Your baby might have less daytime sleep that day and you will have to adjust the next day at home and allow for more sleep.

While consistency is important, it is perfectly okay to be off the normal routine at times for different things that come up in life. You don’t want to be a slave to your schedule.

You will also want to watch stimulation levels while at the party. If there is a lot of action going on, or even just more action than your baby is accustomed to, your baby might need shorter wake windows.

Stimulation levels play into how long a baby can handle being awake between naps, so your baby might need to take a nap sooner than usual or might not be able to handle a normal bedtime and need an early bedtime.

You might also need to set an alarm so you do not miss the time your baby should go down for a nap or should get up. It can be easy to lose track of time while at a Christmas party with friends, family, and grandparents around.

Be Ready to Help Your Baby Sleep

It can be scary to think of assisting your baby to fall asleep if your baby is a solid sleeper at home. This is especially true if you have spent time sleep training. A lot of work has gone into solid sleep and you do not want to risk ruining that.

When it is time for your baby to sleep, do the normal bedtime routine. Turn on the white noise machine. Set up the sleep environment. Put your baby down as usual.

But if your baby does not fall asleep OR if your baby takes a short nap, it is better to help your baby sleep than to let your baby get overly tired.

You can rock your baby to sleep, have baby sleep in your arms (or in the arms of grandma!). You can use a front carrier. Some strollers will lay flat so your baby can fall asleep in that. You can use a baby swing.

Help your baby to be able to sleep and take a full nap.

Be Prepared for a Shorter Nap

Be mentally prepared for a short nap. It will probably happen. If not, YAY! But if so, that is normal and typical. Some sleep is better than no sleep.

If there is a short nap, you might need to add in a nap that day. You also might need an early bedtime.

Be super consistent at home the day after a holiday party so you can help your baby get back on track and the normal routine.

 The Babywise Mom Nap Guide

Hire a Babysitter

You might find it makes the most sense to hire a babysitter. There is a chance that the timing of the party might just mean your child will have a complete meltdown and you will spend your time trying to calm your crying baby or toddler rather than interacting with the other guests.

If you are going out to a late night party or a New Year party, it is wise to get a babysitter for your baby unless your baby is really adept at sleeping on the go.

>>>Read: How To Juggle Extended Family During Holidays

Host the Party

When my youngest was a baby, I just found it easiest to host the party. It was easier for me to make Thanksgiving dinner and be able to keep my baby and toddler sleep normal rather than have to disrupt it and deal with the issues for a few days after.

If it is an option, consider hosting the party at your house. You save on travel time and yoru kids are in their own environment. Your relatives probably won’t mind! I know my mom and mother in law both did not mind having me do it instead of them.


This holiday season, reduce your stress by following these tips to help nap schedules stay on track with the sleep routine.

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