How Your Kids Can Actually Sleep On Vacation

Travel Tips

Holidays, appointments, activities, and sometimes just random life occurrences can upset your sleep routines. For the most part though, when you’re at home, you can minimize the impact those events have on your children’s sleep. Traveling, however, is a whole different experience.

If you’ve just gotten your child used to going to bed well, sleeping soundly, and nap times are finally stress free, the last thing you want to do is through a wrench into the works. Traveling can do just that if you’re not prepared ahead of time. In addition to offering travel sleep plans, we are letting you in on our top tips for keeping your kids sleeping well while you’re on vacation!

Sleep Training

First of all, if you haven’t started sleep training yet and your trip is coming up, don’t start now. Just continue to go with whatever flow you’ve been using and start when you get home. We typically like to have 2-3 weeks of consistency with new sleep habits before taking the show on the road.

If you’ve already sleep trained your child there are ways you can minimize the impact travel will have on their sleep.

Staying on Schedule

Keeping your kids on their ideal sleep schedule while you’re on vacation is a tall order. However, there are some ways to stay on track, while still offering some flexibility for your travel. If you’re driving, the first trick to try to drive during baby’s normal nap times. That will help them keep to their schedule (and make your drive more pleasant!). Car naps are generally not as restorative as a crib nap and can be a sleep prop for some kids, but this is a good solution when you are traveling.

If you’re flying? Well, there’s not much in your control. The goal here is simple: survive the trip. That might mean extra special snacks, a game on your phone, or a simple new toy (like these window clings). Walk around if possible, or if your baby has their own seat, you can try for a carseat nap. Implement a short nap routine and try to get out of your child’s line of vision to try to help them fall asleep during travel. It may not be perfect and that’s okay.

Once you have arrived, try (when possible) to plan outings around naps. If the first nap of the day can be in a crib or pack and play that is recommended. After that, carrier or stroller naps can be a short term sleep solution on vacation.

Child’s Sleep Space on Vacation

A dark sleep space and a portable sound machine can go a long way in helping your child sleep well on vacation! Know your sleep space options ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.

Here are some suggestions to create separate sleep spaces, depending on the room:

  1. Hang a sheet to section off a corner of the room to give your baby her “own” room
  2. If the closet or bathroom is large enough, and safe (nothing can be pulled down etc), it can be a great location for a  a pack-n-play
  3. If bedrooms are in short supply, it’s always an option to put the kid(s) in the bedroom and you and your partner can take the main living area which may have a pull out bed
  4. If there is only one sleep space consider investing in a Slumber Pod, which creates a sleep space on a small footprint

Rental gear companies often have many of the items you need to support your kid’s sleep while on vacation, as well as toys! If your child is old enough to sleep with a lovey, bring that piece of home with you.

Do what you can to support the same sleep environment and habits you have at home so that vacation sleep doesn’t turn into a sleep regression at home.

Let Go Of Expectations

Traveling with kids is an experience all its own. If you’re a new parent, it will be a very different experience from travel you’ve had with friends, family and partners in the past. Vacationing on your kids schedule now can be an adjustment. Sleep won’t look perfect on long, hard travel days. It’s okay because you can always get back on track, and if you’re in REM you have Sleep Wise Consultants standing by to help support your child’s sleep! Enjoy the sights, sounds, people, the highs and lows, and the memories of vacationing with your child!

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