Sweet Summertime is here once again. It’s one of my favorite seasons (not that we quite get four seasons down here) because it always means there’s sure to be a family vacation. I just love making memories with my family and catching a nice sun tan too! With all the packing and planning most of us overlook one important part of the trip…and that’s making sure your little one stays rested and (as much as possible) on schedule. So help make your vacation go a little smoother I’ve included my five best tips for staying on track with sleep while you travel.
When you’re planning a family vacation, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a more enjoyable vacation if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep schedule. This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip—which is bound to make your trip more enjoyable for everyone!
Here are some tips to help make sure your child gets the sleep he needs during your travels:
Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their “child-free” days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby you still want to have a good time, but don’t schedule an activity for every hour of the day. Remember, no one will have fun if you have a cranky kid in tow! Try to spread out your activities and enjoy some down time.
Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime
An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your baby’s naps are all over the place and she goes to bed much later than usual several days in a row, they will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable. So just do your best to try and stay on track!
Tip 3: Be patient
Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment things might be very different. It’s normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re somewhere new. Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Grandma’s house. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.
Tip 4: Bring the comforts of home
If your child has a favorite lovey or stuffed animal, it will go a long way to helping him feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment. It may even be a good idea to bring your own crib sheets washed at home. Another important element is to make the sleeping space DARK to help with early wakes and naps. Yep you guessed it, this means to pack along your travel black out blinds or even a roll of garbage bags! And last but not least, bring along your sound machine. The comforts of home will go a long way!
Tip 5: If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now
Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while traveling. Even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and put her back in her crib.The good news is, most hotels have a crib you can use or rent. You could also take your portable playpen along and use that as a crib. If you have to room share with your child create a barrier between their sleeping space and yours. Otherwise when your child wakes up and sees her favorite people she will want to stay up!
Hope you find these tips helpful on your travels and that you create lots of awesome memories on your vacation. And next year I’m definitely planning a vacation from my vacation! Ha!
When you finally recuperate from your vacation and find that your little one got off track from all the excitement and activities then just jump back in to your normal routine and things will get back to normal.
If your little one isn’t sleeping well let’s talk. Together we can get your family sleeping well and rested for your next vacation.
Sweet (summertime) dreams,
Your Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
Owner, Bedtime Bliss Consulting