When you’re planning a family holiday with a baby, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep habits and routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable time away if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one’s sleep habits. My tips below will help ensure your child gets the rest he or she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip – which is bound to make your holiday much more enjoyable for everyone!
1| Don’t over-schedule.
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their “child-free” days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby you can’t plan to go bungee-jumping in the morning, swim with dolphins in the afternoon, go parasailing at sunset and make it back for a dinner cruise in the evening. It’s simply impossible!
It’s better for you all to slow down the pace slightly and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home.
2| Be consistent with naps and bedtime
An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your baby’s naps are all over the place and they end up going to bed much later than usual several days in a row, they are likely to become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable.
3| Be patient as your baby acclimatizes to the new environment
Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment thing might be very different. It’s completely normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re somewhere new.
Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Grandma’s house or in a brand-new hotel room.
In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behavior is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.
4| Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket
If your child has a treasured comfort item, it will go a long way to helping them feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment. Forget it at your peril!
5| If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now
Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while travelling. Even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is their new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and try to put them back in their own bed.
The good news is most hotels have a baby crib you can use or rent. Otherwise take your portable playpen/travel crib and use that as their bed.
If you return from your time away and find that your little one’s sleep has deteriorated and you want some guidance to get back on track or you feel now is the time to get those good habits and rituals in place please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org