Vacation Time! 4 Tips for Travel With Your Kids

vacation - baby sleeping in a crib

I like routine. There is something about knowing what to expect and being able to control my environment. I also like being able to control the environment my baby sleeps in, so I know it is as conducive to sleep as possible. While that’s all well and good when we’re at home, what about when we go on vacation? No one wants to miss out on a blissful week of family fun because they’re worried about their child’s sleep. I’ve put together a few tips that can make your next trip go as smoothly as possible – and while I can’t make sure it’s sunny and warm, I can help you feel confident that your child’s sleep won’t suffer too much.

Darkness, darkness, darkness!

A completely dark room is imperative for your child’s sleep and you might have to get creative in order to make this work. There are portable blackout shades that you can buy and hang in just a few minutes in any room, or in a pinch you could use a towel, garbage bag or tinfoil over the window to block out light. You might need a clip to hold curtains together if they meet in the middle and let in light. Being creative with the window coverings can make a world of difference! I personally own a portable blackout curtain and while I love it, it’s never quite done the trick on its own. Although it’s quite large we’ve found ourselves staying in cottage rentals with 2 sets of windows, so our 1 shade doesn’t quite cut it. We’ve had to get crafty with garbage bags and towels in addition to the curtain!

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White noise.

If your child sleeps with a noise machine at home bring it with you! They’re usually small and easy to pack. The familiar sound will be comforting to your baby or child and will help them to fall asleep in a strange place. If you can’t bring your noise machine you can point a fan towards the wall for a consistent, unobtrusive sound. This will also muffle out the sounds of creaking stairs, unfamiliar ductwork and noisy relatives! My motto is: ‘have noise machine, will travel’.


Kids thrive on routine (don’t we all?). As much as possible, keep their bedtime routine the same as it would be at home. Pack some of the books you normally read. Take the same lotion you put on them and a familiar blanket or sleep sack if you can. Complete your bedtime routine in the same order you would do at home. You can treat bedtime just like you would if they were in their own room. This can be very comforting to children and can help them settle easily in an unfamiliar place while on vacation. Try to keep naps and bedtime at the same time they would occur at home. This will help your child avoid the overtired zone and fight sleep.


You’re on vacation and that’s a good thing! Your child’s sleep probably won’t be perfect and that’s ok. Have fun with your family and make the most of your time together. If you miss their ideal bedtime one night you can always aim to meet it the next day to help them get back on track. Be gentle with yourself and keep your expectations realistic. Remember the 80/20 rule for sleep: 80% of your time you can do your best to stick to routines and schedules and 20% of the time be flexible and live your life! If your child’s sleep gets off track while you’re on vacation you can always regroup when you’re home and revisit your typical schedule and routines. Enjoy!!

Sleep Consultant Kayla Ginsler
Sleep Consultant Kayla Ginsler
Kayla Ginsler is a Family Sleep Institute certified Child Sleep Consultant and a Registered Social Worker. KAYLA’S SLEEP STORY Kayla’s first son was a terrible sleeper! She sought out a sleep consultant when his sleep felt more challenging than she and her husband could manage. Kayla knew that she needed someone to hold her accountable, walk through the sleep training process with her, and guide her through the steps to improve her son’s sleep. Kayla’s sleep consultant helped them get his sleep on track and his struggles resolved faster than they could have imagined! When her son was sleeping better Kayla’s own mood was much improved, and she was better equipped to cope with the demands of raising an active baby. PAYING IT FORWARD By this time Kayla had been working as a Social Worker for almost a decade, after completing her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto. Kayla supports parents of children with special needs or mental health concerns, and loves to witness the happiness and pride parents feel when they see the changes they are hoping for. Her personal experience with a sleep consultant piqued her professional interest in the field. Kayla was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo and has lived in Waterloo Region for most of her life. She is thrilled to be offering sleep consulting in Waterloo Region and beyond! Kayla’s second son, much to her dismay, was also a bad sleeper, and she felt so strongly about getting him the sleep he needed that she decided to pursue education in sleep consulting so she could help other parents solve their sleep struggles. BETTER SLEEP, BETTER DAYS Kayla believes in empowering families to feel confident in helping their baby or child achieve better sleep. When a child is sleeping poorly, it can affect the entire tone of the family – there is stress and tension and anxiety and fatigue. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bedtime can be a quiet, beautiful time with your children and Kayla feels privileged to have the opportunity to help you find the calm for your family.

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