How to maintain your baby’s sleep pattern on holiday
Travelling with small children can be stressful, particularly when they become tired and fretful. A combination of unfamiliar surroundings, busy days, later than normal bedtimes and early departures can all combine to create a vicious cycle of anxiety for both parent and child.
There are no hard and fast rules about exactly how to ensure that your child gets enough sleep to remain happy and contented whilst away from home. However, it does make sense to try as far as possible to maintain some sleep normality during vacations simply because an overtired child can easily put a damper on any fun activities.
Here are a few tips which should help you to make the most of your precious down time together as a family:
- If you have a very young child you will need to try to establish a nap and bedtime routine, prior to your trip. This should make it easier once you are travelling to stick to the tried and tested bedtime patterns.
- If you are planning on taking a new travel cot or crib with you it would be a great idea to get your little one used to it beforehand. Try an afternoon nap or two in the new item to get them used to their new sleeping area.
- Use familiar items during your travels including cot bedding and clothing and any snuggle items they usually cuddle when sleeping. If you usually use a musical mobile or white noise machine it would be prudent to continue with these familiar items.
- It could be a good idea to add a white noise machine or a baby sleep CD to your sleeping routine before the trip to make sure your little ones build up the association beforehand. It may make it easier for them to get off to sleep away from home if the area is noisier than they are used to.
- If your little one is going to be sleeping in a different room to you on the trip you could sleep with their bedding or clothing beforehand so add some familiarity to the smell of the unfamiliar sleeping environment.
- If you are going to be sharing your room with your child check before booking that there is adequate space between their cot and your bed in the accommodation. This is particularly important if your little one is used to sleeping in their own room. Your breathing or night time movements could disturb them if they are used to sleeping alone.
- During your journey change your child into night clothing before their normal bedtime clothing so that they are comfortable enough to sleep and given them their usual pacifier or snuggle blanket.
- Once you reach your destination, stick to your usual sleep schedule as much as you can without ruining your trip. Younger children can take their naps in their stroller during the day when you are out and about but it would be better to actually put them to bed properly at night time rather than trying to transfer them from stroller to cot once they are asleep and risking waking them.
- If your baby likes to sleep in the car it would be practical to time your journey to fit in with nap time. Equally, if they rarely sleep in the car is probably better to leave as soon as they wake up in the morning to avoid them becoming upset when they get tired and can’t sleep.
- If you are travelling through time zones, try to get into the destination clock schedule as quickly as possible. Allow a rest day before throwing yourselves into day-long Reverse this process when you arrive home to get back into your usual routine as fast as possible.