Summer is here and that means vacation time for many families. And while summer vacation is a welcome break for everyone in the family, sometimes it can throw off your family’s sleep schedule.
When planning your trip, consider how your travel plans may impact your child’s sleep routine. Remember that everyone will have a much 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.
Here are some tips to help ensure sure your child gets the sleep they need during your travels:
Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to squeeze in way too many activities. This usually results in stressed out parents and overtired, cranky children. The fact is, when you travel with children, it’s better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you do at home.
Tip 2: Be as consistent as possible
An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your child’s naps are all over the place and they go to bed much later than usual several days in a row, your child will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable.
Tip 3: Be patient as your child adjusts to the new environment
Even if your child 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 someone new.
In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behaviour is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. 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. Make sure you bring your child’s lovey and/or blanket
If your child has a favourite comfort item, make sure you bring it! A blankie or a lovey will go a long way in helping your child feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in an unfamiliar environment.
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.
Lastly, if despite your best efforts, you find yourself reverting back to old sleep habits or your child is completely off their schedule by the end of your trip, try not to stress too much and remember that you can get back on track within a week or two once you get home.