The holidays are quickly approaching and I’m getting all the questions about how to not mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for when you travel!
Here’s a handy graphic to reference and then I’ll elaborate further down on each tip.
1. Recreate their environment.
For us, that means bringing their crib sheet if needed, white noise / sound machine, a lovey if they’re old enough, and blacking out the room (we use trash bags and painters tape). We’re pretty simple here, no frills or anything.
2. Familiarize them with their sleep space.
The last thing you want to happen after you’ve set their room up, done your routine, and put them down for sleep is hear them SCREAM! Interacting with them in the room or playing in the space well before sleep time can make the space less “scary” or overwhelming to them and help them accept their new sleeping space for that short amount of time. You may have to use the chair in these instances. (Email me if you need direction for this!)
3. Follow your routine.
Kids respond and THRIVE with routine. The familiarity of their routine makes an unfamiliar place safe and secure for them. Try to follow the steps you already do from home wherever you are while traveling. It might even be in a car or bathroom! Get creative. 😉
4. Always offer sleep.
Be aware of their current nap schedule when planning or creating an itinerary. You can plan for a car nap, or a stroller / carrier nap if needed. Or plan to be back in your hotel / airBnB for their nap(s). Traveling with kids WILL slow you down, so just know that going into it! They get overwhelmed and overstimulated quickly. Which leads me to….
5. Be mindful of your child’s mood.
It’s not a vacation with kids. It’s just a trip. And it’s much more enjoyable if your child isn’t a hot overtired mess! So take it slow, be aware of how much sleep they’ve gotten (or missed) and utilize an earlier bedtime if your kid is melting down. Yep, that might mean a 4:30/5pm dinner some nights. You have a kid now so traveling my look a little different until they’re older!
6. Be flexible.
On the flip side of that, know that a sleep trained, well rested kid in general can handle the off days here and there. They may be fine initially for the first few days so you can “push” a little harder and then you’ll have a catch up day or two to slow down and let them sleep a little more / sleep less on the go.
7. Business as usual when you return home.
Sometimes if you have to resort to other sleep habits while traveling, your kids will test you a bit when you get back home. That means they may need a refresher on what the sleep rules are at home. This is another opportunity to use the chair method if needed! Try to get back into your old schedule / routine as quickly as possible while maintaining the same independent sleep habits.