Guest Post by Katy Fleming, MA, LPC, BSN, RN
Family getaways are filled with bonding, lasting memories, and often minimal sleep. Once children enter your lives, the trip dynamics turn upside down.
Whether it’s spending the day at grandma’s house, driving to the beach for summer vacation, or flying to another city, traveling with children has its obstacles.
Epic Sleep Tips For Traveling With Your Kiddos
Sleep is essential for physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. No need to fret about your upcoming getaways— we’ll review epic sleep tricks and tips for your little ones on the next family vacation.
Maintain Their Schedule
Children thrive off of consistency and routine. It’s vital to maintain their normal schedule while away from home.
Tip #1: Keep the normal sleep schedule even on the road.
It’s important to continue putting the kids to bed at the same time each night even on family vacations.
If you’re driving for several hours, consider coordinating with nap times. The first nap of the day is typically the most restorative and refreshing for your child. If possible, start driving after their morning nap.
Tip #2: If changing time zones, slowly adjust bedtime and naps.
Moving between time zones throws off our circadian rhythm or internal clock.
Prepare your children by slowly moving their nap and bedtime to fit closer to the time zone that you’re visiting.
Mirror Your Home Environment
Sleeping away from our bedrooms may cause discomfort and lead to difficulty falling asleep. Help your child feel more at home when you travel with these tips.
Tip #1: Maintain your sleeping arrangements.
If your baby or child typically sleeps alone, try to arrange for their bedroom on your trip, as well.
For babies, ensure that your accommodations have a crib or bring a pack-n-play along.
If you can’t mirror your typical sleeping arrangements at home, practice the set-up before you leave for the trip. For example, have your little one practice sleeping in the pack-n-play for a night or two older siblings sharing a room.
Tip #2: Don’t cave into new sleep patterns.
It’s easy to develop new sleeping habits and routines while you’re away from home. Your children may want to stay up later or sleep in your bed.
Avoid starting new habits that may trickle back home.
Pack Sleeping Tools
There’s a variety of products on the market to bolster sleep. Try these parent-approved products on your trip if your kiddos are having difficulty sleeping.
Tip #1: Bring a sound machine.
Many younger children or even adults fall asleep listening to white noise or a rainstorm. Ensure to pack your sound machine to fulfill your little one’s sensory needs. If you forgot yours at home, iPhones have an environmental noise feature that replicates a sound machine— check it out here.
Tip #2: Consider blackout curtains.
Our internal clocks utilize sunlight to help identify when it’s time to start winding down or waking up for the day.
Your vacation accommodations may have beautiful windows, yet the sun shines directly into your children’s sleeping area.
Prevent this issue by bringing black-out curtains from home. A dark, calm room signals the body to prepare for the sleep cycle.
Hectic sleep schedules lead to cranky children and exhausted parents. On your next family getaway, utilize these sleep tips to enjoy the trip that you deserve.
If your kiddos do fall off of their sleep schedules, immediately return to your typical routine once at home. Remember, we’ll always have bumps along the way and that’s okay.
Create a plan to stay prepared and maximize your sleep on the next family trip!
Looking for more about family travel? You'll love these:
- How to Maintain Your Newborn's Routine When Traveling For Spring Break
- The Dos and Don'ts of Fighting a Fever
- 5 Tips For RSV Relief At Home
- 5 Natural Cough Solutions For Little Ones
As a licensed counselor and registered nurse, Katy approaches freelance writing with years of experience and a unique perspective. Alongside her partner, Katy loves to travel the world and embrace other cultures from volcanoes in Iceland to villages in India.
The NozeBot is Travel Friendly!
The Nozebot is a battery-powered suction device designed to clear nasal congestion in babies and children.