You may be looking forward to the holiday season or perhaps even a vacation. Travel can throw off our child’s sleep. If the little ones are coming along, you may also be thinking about how to make sure that they sleep well when you are away from home. There are a few things that you can do to help:
On your way to your destination, expect that you might have some sleep disruption. However, there are a few things that can be done to guide your little ones towards those much needed zzzz’s:
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- If you are driving:
- You can plan to leave at bedtime or even just before a nap. I recommend starting out about 30 minutes before sleepy time to get your little one ready for sleep.
- Mimic as much as you can of your pre-sleep routine – this will help to communicate to their bodies that sleep is coming.
- At nap or bedtime quiet the car, put on white noise (an app on your phone works well).
- If it is daytime we draw shades over the back windows.
- Sit back and let sleep happen. It may not happen on schedule, that is ok.
- If you are flying:
- Morning flights are best – it is better to miss a morning nap than an afternoon one – if one is missed at all.
- On the plane you can also mimic as much of the routine as possible. For example, sing the song you always sing.
- You can still use your phone for white noise, but the noise of the airplane may just give your little one what they need.
- In this case, if you are holding your little one on the flight, that is ok – just jump back into crib / pack n’ play sleeping when you get to your destination.
- Draw the shades – I love to have the window seat for this purpose!
Your Travel Sleeping Environment:
Setting up your little one’s sleeping environment so that it is conducive for sleep is vital to their sleep:
- Pack that Pack N’ Play or toddler mattress. Though there are some companies out there where you can rent almost anything for babies from – including a Pack N’ Play or crib.
- To ensure that you are bringing the smells of home:
- You can sleep with the sheet for a night or two ahead of time.
- If their PJ’s / Sleep Sack are clean enough, use them again for the night of your arrival.
- If your little one is old enough to have a stuffed animal (1 year) or a pillow (2 years), be sure to bring those along.
- Pack that white noise machine, but if you can’t then a white noise app on your phone or tablet will work just fine.
- Do what you can to make their sleeping environment dark too. This is very helpful. You can even pack black garbage bags and tape – just in case our hotel or rental is not equipped with black out blinds. It’s not pretty, but it works!
Have Some Flexibility and Fun:
- Stick to the 80 / 20 rule of sleep when you travel. You can vary from your routine 20% of the time, but 80% of the time you want to stick with it.
Think About Your Travel Accommodations:
- If at all possible book a rental condo or adjoining rooms at your travel destination so that you don’t have to go to bed when your little ones do!
I hope you have a great trip wherever you might be headed.
Please reach out if we can help you further.