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Bring Back Vacations: Your Guide to Sleep and Travel

bring back vacations - an image of two adults swinging a child in the air between them with an airplane in the background

Bring Back Vacations! 

It has been a crazy and stressful couple of years!  You might be starting to think about getting back to traveling and getting away from home with your family! After spending so much time at home, it might do your mind and body good to see new places and people.  

It sounds amazing, doesn’t it?  But we can’t deny that we have all been affected by the various regulations and lockdowns and just jumping back on the horse might not be as easy as it sounds.  

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Remember to be kind to yourself and know that what you are thinking and worrying about is the same as many other families out there.  We have been protecting our family for so long from getting sick that there is bound to be some hesitation.  

So go slow, when you are ready stay in your comfort zone and plan ahead.  Here is a great article by Alanna, founder of Good Night Sleep Site, to help ease your re-entry anxiety.  

Tips for Feeling Confident

To help you feel more confident as you travel, you will want to add to your travel bag to help prepare and protect your family.  Here are some things that will help: Masks (make them vacation fun), hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies to clean surfaces. Also, talk to your kids about the continued importance of handwashing. Review covid protocols with your children so they are better prepared when going to a new place. If you need help talking to your child, BrightPath has some great tips on talking with your child about Covid.   

Also, remember, if you have not traveled in awhile or had packed filled days that often vacations bring, you may get tired easier. It’s ok to add a few extra breaks in your vacation itinerary.  Our bodies and minds may need time to adapt to being away from home.  

When you are ready to hit the road, here are some vacation sleep tips when traveling with your children and bringing your healthy sleep habits on the road with you! 

Start Your Vacation with a Full Tank

In preparation for a fun-filled vacation with the kids, make sure the weeks before you are working on filling up their sleep tank. If they start their vacation well-rested, they will be happier and able to be more flexible while you enjoy your adventure if sleep gets off track.

Where will your child sleep?

Think about this and preplan before you get to your destination. If possible, have your child sleep in the same circumstances that they sleep at home. For children in a crib, plan on either bringing a portable crib, pack and play or rent a crib from where you are staying. For children in a bed, see if you can get an extra bed so that your child will have their own sleep space just like at home.

If possible, have your child sleep in their own area. You may have to think outside of the box to do this. If you have a walk-in closet or even a nice sized bathroom, this can work for a temporary bedroom. Just be sure that where your child is sleeping provides a safe and conducive sleep environment. If it not possible to have a separate sleep area then bring a curtain or sheet. You can use temporary wall hangers to hang from the ceiling so that your child has their own sleep area. This will allow for a better night’s sleep for everyone.

Pack a Sleep Bag

Pack a special sleep bag for your child. Bring all the items that your child uses in their sleep routine. Bring their favorite book, their favorite pj’s or sleep sack, and anything else that you use during your sleep routine. Even bring their crib sheets with the smell of home (don’t wash for a couple of days before you leave). Their sounds machine will become a great cue that it is time to sleep and will help keep outside noises outside. Also, don’t forget the baby monitor. It is a great way to keep an eye on your child while he sleeps and you have some adult time. 

Make the Room Dark

Making their sleep space dark will help your child fall asleep and stay asleep. Bring along some travel blackout shades, black sheets, or black garbage bags to keep the light out and the sleep in! If you are looking for black out shades that can be used for home and when away from home, I highly recommend The Sleepout Curtain!  These blackout shades are easy to install anywhere and have a convenient travel bag. (Use our affiliate link and enter code GOODNIGHT10 for a 10% discount)                     

Use the 80/20 Rule

Vacation is the perfect example of when to use the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 Rule means that you stick to your healthy consistent sleep schedule 80% of the time. You then can make exceptions to your schedule 20% of the time. Also, taking naps on the go while traveling will help give your child that little extra sleep they need.  

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enjoy your vacation as you make a memory with your family. If sleep does get off track, then when you get back home, reset and offer the same consistent schedule that you have previously set up. It may take a few days to get back on track, but it will happen. Offer an extra early bedtime for a few days to help catch up on sleep. Before you know it, your child will be back on track and it will be time to start planning your next family adventure.

Sleep Consultant Lynn Matuszewski
Sleep Consultant Lynn Matuszewski
Lynn Matuszewski is certified through the Family Sleep Institute (FSI) as a Child Sleep Consultant a and trained Good Night Sleep Site Educator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Education with a major in Learning and Behavior Disorders. She has a background in healthcare outreach where she educates members in closing Gaps in Care and assisting members in overcoming barriers in receiving care. Lynn has a passion for helping families in achieving a healthy sleep foundation which is a vital aspect of living a healthy life. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. Raising her children and watching her children raise her grandchildren, she knows the importance of a good night sleep for both our babies as well as parents. Well rested families are healthier and happier. Good Night Sleep Site (GNSS) provided a perfect place for Lynn to help families reach their sleep goals because of their respect for the personality of each family. No two families look alike, making each sleep plan tailored to the needs of the family. Lynn will assist your family find a customized method that corresponds with your family values and temperament. Lynn also found it important that GNSS is committed to following the safe sleep recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) when working with families. Lynn is a proud mother and grandmother. There is so much more to the story behind the titles of mother and grandmother. She is a biological mother, adopted mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. Although these terms sound like labels, that is very far from the truth she lives. Each one of those titles has a beautiful story that made her the mother and grandmother she is today. Lynn’s has a wonderful family that came together making a perfect blend. Lynn was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. When she is not working Lynn loves to spend time with family and friends. She also enjoys spending time traveling, kayaking, biking, and enjoying the beautiful water front of Buffalo with her husband. Lynn believes that when your family is well rested, you can better handle the day to day challenges that every family face. When your family is well rested every individual will have the energy to learn and grow at their optimal level. Good sleep habits do not come naturally, they are learned. When you teach your child how to sleep, you are giving your child the gift that will last a lifetime. Your child has so much to see and learn, Lynn wants to help your family reach the stars while you learn healthy sleep habits.

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