Summer travels are all well and good, but when you have a baby or toddler on board it can quickly become something of a nightmare! It doesn’t have to be though. A little forward thinking and some preparation can make all the difference, and when it comes to sleeping even more so. Here are my top tips for helming little ones to sleep while travelling.
If you can, this would be my number one tip. Obviously you can’t dictate what time your plane takes off- but you can take steps to ensure that your little one is due a nap around the same sort of time. If you’re driving, you’re in better control and you can make sure that you’re on the road for sleeps. This will make the whole journey a lot easier all round.
Bring comforting items from home
If your little one will only sleep with a certain blanket at home, for goodness sake don’t forget to bring it! Lots of kids are soothed by home comforts so it makes sense to bring a few with you to make relaxing and falling asleep a lot easier.
Children pick up on our stress, so if you’re worrying about nap time and how on earth you’re going to make it happen, it’s not going to do anyone any favours. Stay calm, and be as flexible as you can. This might mean your little one has to take a nap in a pram rather than a bed for once, or it might mean that nap time needs to move a little. Just remember that travelling is very short term and you can re-adjust the routine once you reach your destination.
Get plenty of rest before you travel
There’s nothing worse than setting out on you travels on limited sleep! Make sure you prepare well in the days ahead of your journey so that you can minimise the exhausting effects of travelling. This goes for everyone, not just the kids!
Take steps to adjust to a new time zone as soon as possible
Jet-lag is no fun! If you’re travelling to a new time zone it makes sense to try and adjust to it as soon as you can. Wake your child at the local time rather than the time your child should be on, and stick to this as much as you can. Of course, stay flexible, but the more you insist on the new time zone, the easier the transition will be for your child.
Don’t be tempted to skip naps
When you’re travelling it can be tempting to skip naps, or you might even forget about them altogether in the busyness of the journey. This is not a good idea! Over tired kids on journeys are not much fun, so make sure you stick to your schedule as closely as possible.
Don’t attempt to sleep train on vacation
Hopefully, you will have already completed your gentle sleep training program before you travel, but if you’re in the middle of it then it’s a good idea to hit the pause button for a while. Take your cues from your child and go with the flow while you’re away. You can pick back up again when you return.
Don’t worry about changes in routine
While you’re away, you might find that the easiest way to get a night’s sleep is by bringing your child into bed with you. Lots of families end up doing this and there is nothing wrong with it at all. That said, if you don’t usually bed share at home with your child, make sure that this situation doesn’t continue once you get home. It’s important to return to your usual routine quickly to make the transition easier.
It’s normal for a little disruption to sleep to occur while you travel, but if you follow my tips you should be able to minimise the effects and have a happy vacation. Good luck!