Summer is here and that means many of you may be traveling with your little ones in tow! Many of the parents I speak to about sleep troubles have shared that traveling has triggered some of the issues and is a place where new (hard to break) habits begin. This is because when people are traveling, they have a different sleep environment than at home, schedules are likely to be thrown off due to plans and activities, and, depending on how far away, may not even be in the same time zone!
Here are three Summer Sleep Suggestions to remember when traveling with your littles this summer (or anytime for that matter!)
- Sleep environment: Try to mimic your child’s sleep environment at home. Bring a lovey and sheets so that your baby or toddler has some sense of familiarity in their new sleep location. If your child sleeps in a bed or crib in his or her own room at home and you have to share a space on a trip, create a private sleep area by putting up a barrier– this can mean hanging up a sheet or blanket or moving furniture around. Get creative! Just be mindful of safety and make sure there is nothing within an arms reach of the crib or pack and play. Make sure to stick with bedtime and nap routines, too!
- Schedule consistency: Often times on vacations, nap schedules get thrown out the window and bedtimes are pushed later due to activities with visitors or late dinners and evening events. Be flexible but mindful of the importance of your child’s sleep schedule. If your child is still taking one (or two… or three!) naps a day, aim for at least one crib/pnp nap in the room with others out and about if your baby will allow for it. Take turns, go in shifts, etc. so that you are able to enjoy planned activities while still making sure your child is getting the sleep he or she needs. While some kids are more flexible than others- know your child and what limits he/she has regarding changes in schedule. An overtired, tantruming toddler out to dinner at 10 pm won’t be enjoyable for anyone!
- Shift with the times: If you are traveling to a new time zone (for more than a few days), aim to get on the new local schedule ASAP. Often, babies and toddlers adjust more quickly than adults! Do the same when returning home, and expect a bit of an adjustment period when coming back. Keep expectations low and anticipate that your child may be more fussy both during and after traveling. If you are going somewhere with only an hour or two time difference for just a few days, stick with your home time schedule (or split the difference) if possible so that there is not much of a disruption while away or coming back.
Traveling with kids can be fun.. a different kind of fun, perhaps, compared to a kid free…relax-all-day-on-the-beach-with-an-adult-beverage-in-hand kind of fun but I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be bored, and if you do it right, (hopefully!) you’ll all be sleeping well, too 🙂