You may be looking forward to the holiday season or perhaps even a vacation. If the little ones are coming along with you, you may also be thinking about how to make sure that 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:
- 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 we 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.
- 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 thy 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!
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 lovie (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 super helpful. I go so far as to 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. You can vary from your routine 20% of the time, but 80% of the time you want to stick with it. More detail in my post on Flexibility and Balance.
Think About Your Accommodations
- If at all possible book a rental condo or adjoining rooms 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 to me if I can help you further.