Like all activities; you enjoy traveling more when the whole family is getting the rest they need. When you’re planning to travel with your child, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s healthy sleep habits.
You’ll have a much more care-free vacation if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little ones sleep schedule. This will help ensure they get the rest they need to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip, which is bound to make your vacation more enjoyable for everyone!
Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule
For everyone’s sake - it’s better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home. Travel is overstimulating in general, and if you're planning many outings each day, you can imagine that your little one may become agitated and overtired quite easily.
Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime
Inconsistency often leads to over-tiredness, and it may be even more difficult to get back on schedule when you arrive home.
Tip 3: Be patient as your child acclimatizes to the new environment
It’s normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re somewhere new. The best way to handle this kind of behavior is to react the same way you would at home.
In situations in which you must share a room with your child, it can be hard to give them the space they need to calm down and soothe themselves to sleep, consider leaving the room (in a hotel, this may mean hiding in the bathroom or out in the hall) until they are asleep and sneaking back in when they are asleep.
Tip 4. Make sure you bring your child’s “lovey” and/or blanket
This is a given, and one of the reasons we establish “lovies” in the first place. You will want to remember the sleep sack, bedding from home, and two or three of your favorite bedtime books as well.
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. Remember, it only takes a few nights for your child to learn new sleep habits, and this can be very confusing for kiddos who used to co-sleep and might want to return to that situation. Most hotels have cribs you can use to set up a cozy sleep corner for your child so that the routine remains familiar even in a new space.
Tip 6. Don't worry too much
It's common for sleep to go sideways when traveling, so just know that your amazing sleeper is going to test your boundaries on trips and take a few days to re-adjust when you get home. Stick to your routine and remind them of why your family has healthy sleep habits.
When naps are missed or early wake-ups occur to catch the plane (as is inevitable) that's OKAY! It happens, and you can do your best to make sure there is an early bedtime for several days following missed sleep. This will help to get back on track and avoid over-tiredness.
Remember that one of the great benefits of having a great sleeper is that you all have the energy to plan and implement fun trips and adventures! If your concerned about your little one's sleep while traveling, I have a tune-up package focused on helping families get back on track after disruptions.