I’ve had friends cancel travel plans because their child’s sleep is such a challenge and they don’t want to risk it getting worse. OR they go on vacation and are miserable the whole time because no one gets any sleep. Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be that way! Sure, your child’s sleep might not be as awesome while away than when you’re at home (I mean, mine isn’t!), but her sleep does not need to be the kill joy of your entire trip, or the reason you don’t go! Here are some tips to help you feel more confident in your child’s sleep while traveling this summer:
- Set your child up for success with a solid sleep environment! If your baby or toddler will be sleeping in a pack ‘n play or toddler cot, I can’t speak highly enough about the SlumberPod! You can also bring some trusty foil and painter’s tape to cover any windows in your child’s room. I’ve also been known to turn a walk-in closet or spare bathroom into our nursery-away-from home. Total darkness really makes a difference! And don’t forget your white noise machine.
- Bring familiar items from home. If your child is 12+ months and sleeps with some sort of lovie or comfort item, make sure you pack it! Don’t forget your swaddle, sleep sack, or your child’s favorite pillow and blanket. I even bring a stack of my daughter’s favorite bedtime books – anything that will help her feel more at home.
- Walk through the same nap and bedtime routine – don’t skimp! These routines not only help alert your child’s mind that sleep is coming, but also her body. Adjusting to a new space can be tricky enough on little ones, so support your child by following the same routines you would at home.
- If your child still takes them, make time for naps. My general rule of thumb while away is to have half of your child’s naps occur at “home”. And whether at home or on the go, give your little one the chance to sleep at her normal nap time! If you will be out and about during your child’s usual nap time, bring your stroller or your carrier so she can sleep, or plan the drive for nap time. That on-the-go nap may not be super long or your child’s deepest sleep, but it is still helpful. If you don’t give your child the space she needs to nap during the day, overtiredness will quickly settle in, making any more sleep that day and/or night much harder.
- Adjust bedtime as necessary. We all know that we can make grand plans for our children, but sometimes they just don’t come to fruition. If that’s the case, it’s okay. We have to be flexible! If your toddler missed her one and only nap of the day, or your baby missed her last nap, or she had three micro naps during the day, do an early bedtime! Or oppositely, if your child doesn’t usually take naps but happened to fall asleep while adventuring, push bedtime back! Otherwise, when at all possible, keep your child’s bed time consistent with what it is at home.
What we don’t want to do is forget about sleep hygiene for the week you’re away and hope your child can keep up, because it doesn’t take much time for sleep debt to build up. However, we also don’t want to be so focused on sleep and schedules that you miss out on vacation! The good news is, no matter how awesome or how rough your child’s sleep is, the vacation will eventually be over, you will be back home, and especially if your child has sleep skills, you will get back on track. So give yourself grace!
If your child’s sleep is already a challenge and you have 2 weeks before heading on vacation (3 weeks for toddlers and older kiddos), book a free call with me now so we can talk about what it would look like to get you to a place of confidence!