5 Simple Sleep Tips for Holiday Travel with Children
With holidays comes family vacation and travel, and many parents are wondering how they can make their vacation as smooth and enjoyable as possible while ensuring their child stays well-rested.
Baby sleep regression is a real problem while on vacation and out of the routine.
Toddler sleep training is manageable.
Here are 5 sleep tips for sleep training baby before, during and after your summer vacation to help your child sleep well.
A well-rested child will adapt to changes in their routine and schedule better than an overtired child.
Resolve Sleep Issues Beforehand
Many families put off sleep training or getting their child on a regular schedule because of upcoming travel plans or holidays.
They know their sleep environment and schedule may be unpredictable so they figure they might as well wait until they get back home. A well-rested child will adapt to changes in their routine and schedule better than an overtired child, so it might make more sense to establish a good routine and resolve their sleep issues beforehand.
This will make it easier to go with the flow and have a happier time away.
Bring Along Your Child’s Beloved Items
Bring your child’s unwashed sheets, blankets and sleep sack with you if possible. Their familiar smell and feel will help calm your child in a strange environment.
Don’t forget to bring your child’s favorite lovey, pacifier or stuffed toy as these items are invaluable when traveling away from home. By bringing the items they know and love, you’ll help them relax, fall asleep faster and sleep better in a strange environment.
Recreate Their Sleep Sanctuary
Try not to share a room with your child while traveling if you don’t normally share a room at home. Book a hotel suite instead of a single room, hang a sheet as a room divider or use a walk-in closet as a temporary nursery.
If your child is unable to see you, it will make the transition easier and he or she won’t be looking for middle of the night stimulation. Also, don’t assume the room you’re going to be staying in will be dark, so bring along some garbage bags and painter’s tape to block out any light coming through the curtains.
Portable blackout blinds are also available. This may prevent trouble staying asleep. If the room is louder than usual, find a white noise app on your phone to help drown out any noise.
Maintain Their Regular Sleep Schedule and Routine
Where possible, make your travel and holiday plans around your child’s normal sleep schedule.
Make it possible for your child to nap during usual nap time, and if you need to nap on the go, use a SnoozeShade or block the light coming through the car window.
If you are traveling to a different time zone for more than a few days, get your child’s schedule on the new time as quickly as possible. Have your child go to bed at the usual bedtime and be sure to wake up your child in the morning when they would normally wake up.
It also helps to expose your children to plenty of natural light to reset their internal clock. Also, be sure to maintain the usual naptime and bedtime routine, as this will be comforting to your child even in a strange place.
Have a Plan Ready for Your Return Home
If there were many changes to your child’s sleep environment, schedule, and sleep habits while away, your child’s sleep may be a little “off” upon your return home.
Have a plan to get your child back on the usual schedule and routine the minute you walk through your front door.
If your child missed some sleep, plan for an earlier bedtime to help him or her catch up. The sooner you get your child well-rested and back to the regular routine, the sooner he or she will get back into good sleep habits.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.