Summer Travel Tips
Summer has arrived which means you probably have some vacation plans. If you have a child that’s a great sleeper, you may be concerned about how travel and sleeping in a new environment will affect your little one. If your child is not a great sleeper, you may worry that he or she will cry and disturb others or just not be able to sleep at all in a new place. Travel plans don’t have to be the end of great sleep for your family. Sticking with a few of your basic sleep strategies from home can go a long way. Here are some of my top tips for getting through vacation and retaining good sleep habits.
- Be sure to bring your child’s “lovey”. This is a big one. No matter how young or old your little one is, when sleeping in a new environment a comfort from home will make a big difference. If you have a child who is still in a crib, also bring along their crib or pack n play sheet without washing it so that it smells like home.
- If your child sleeps independently at home, try and allow them to have their own sleeping space while away. This doesn’t mean renting a huge suite and breaking the bank! What it does mean is avoid bed sharing if you don’t do it at home. Sharing a bed with a toddler for even a few nights can make it very difficult to get them back into their own bed when you get home. If you have a child who sleeps in a bed, make sure they have their own bed, even if that means bringing a blow up bed or making a bed out of cushions. If you have a little one still sleeping in a crib, try and make a “partition” around the crib so that there is privacy for the baby to sleep. I’ll admit, I have made makeshift bedrooms in big closets or bathrooms for my kids! It works very well.
- Try not to overschedule. When you go on vacation it can be very exciting and you want to do as many things as possible, but this can spell disaster for kids. Although it may seem that they have boundless energy, little ones can also crash pretty fast. It’s important to keep some form of nap and bedtime schedule so that your kids don’t meltdown. So while you may not be able to keep the exact schedule you have at home, try not to skip too many naps. If you have a baby who is napping several times a day, try and commit to at least one nap in the crib each day. Going for a couple of days with all naps in the car seat or stroller can make it difficult for your baby to remember how to sleep in their crib.
- Sleeping in a new environment can be stressful for your child. At bedtime, your little one may need a little extra reassurance. If your child cries at bedtime, go in every few minutes to calm him or her down. Give a remind that they are safe, that you are right outside the door and that it’s still “sleepy time”. The first night, you may need to do this several times, but your little one will get the hang of it if you are consistent.
Travelling with your family can be so much fun, but it can also be stressful. Children who are well-rested will handle the change much better. When it comes to sleep, try and be a consistent as possible to avoid cranky or fussy kids. It will also help your child retain all their good sleep habits that you worked so hard to teach them. Whatever travel plans you may have this summer, have a fun and relaxing time!
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