Born and Raised in Michigan, we live for Summers! We are still waiting for it to really warm up though! This past Memorial Day weekend we survived camping our first night with all 3 kids in a motor home!! They actually did really well !
The good news is that you do not have to cancel all travel plans and confine yourself to the house for the rest of your child’s life. It is possible to have children who travel really well, if you keep a few things in mind. Here are my top 10 summer travel sleep tips:
- Expect the first night to be a little tough. Everyone might be tired from traveling, setting up and being in a new environment. Just expect that the first night could be rough… and if it isn’t, then great ! If it is, there is always the next night!
- Next, try to mimic what the sleep environment looks like at home! Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket! And their noise machine or there are lots of apps now to drown out all the noises. Otherwise a fan should do too !
- Another big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while traveling. Bed sharing can be a big no-no. Even it’s it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself starting all over again when you get home. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack and play along and use that as a crib.If you are camping, bring the pack and play to create their own space.
- If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep. This could be the bathroom (if it’s big enough) or the closet (obviously without the door closed ) Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby, so that if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she is not so excited to see her two favorite people that she ends up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great if that’s an option for you.
- The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves. They try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might normally have had back in their “child-free” days, forgetting an important fact: They have a child now.
- An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on day two, she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house down. So remember it’s ok if the child needs to go to bed a little earlier if naps weren’t the best.
- Traveling on a plane ? The best time to travel with kids via plane- Book an early flight! kids do best when the flight is earlier vs a later/evening flight! Didn’t book a seat for your little one? An hour before take off ask the checkin counter if there are any seats open and if they can re-arrange for a child to sleep/ any open seats.
- Driving for vacation?Try to time travel around naps! This is best to get in a few hours of quiet time while you little takes their normal nap!
- If a meltdown happens, you might start to get very nervous because (a) your baby, who has been happily chatting herself to sleep for weeks, is now crying again, and (b) your mother-in-law is standing outside the door repeatedly asking you if you’re sure the baby is okay. You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep. It’s easy to see how you could revert back to your own familiar ways in no time if you gave into this pressure and fear.
- It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house. This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two. The best way to handle it is to not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home. You can go in 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.
Just remember trips are for making memories and having fun ! Try to use some of these tips to help sleep from derailing while on vacation !
And if you need help when you get back, book a free call with me!