Summer is quickly approaching and many of us are busy making travel plans for our relaxing summer vacations. However, traveling with an infant or toddler can be everything but relaxing. There is so much prep work aside from choosing your destination and figuring out how you are going to get there that goes into preparing to go on vacation.
Traveling can disrupt even the best sleepers and it makes sense why. New environment, different sleep space, lots of excitement, serious FOMO happening and a whole host of other reasons, but it doesn’t have to be that way! With some planning and preparation you and your child can have an enjoyable vacation this summer.
Here are some tips for ensuring your child gets quality sleep while traveling.
1. Stick to Your Sleep Routine
One of the most crucial things you can do to help your child sleep well during travel is to maintain their regular sleep routine as much as possible. This includes sticking to your usual bedtime and waking time, even if you’re in a different time zone. It’s also essential to keep other aspects of your child’s routine consistent, such as their pre-bedtime routine, such as reading a book or taking a bath.
2. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment
The environment in which your child sleeps can significantly impact their quality of sleep. When staying at a hotel or vacation rental, try to create a sleep-friendly environment for your child. This may include bringing familiar items from home, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal and your own crib sheet. You can also try to recreate your child’s usual sleep environment by bringing a white noise machine or portable black-out curtains. I LOVE the portable black-out curtains from SLEEPOUT. Not only are the easily transportable but they work beautifully for making a room conducive for sleep. (Use code NEWLEAF to score a discount!) Another option for creating a dark sleep space during travel is using a SlumberPod. These are portable you place a pack n play into the pod to create a private, dark sleep space. My clients have also loved these! (Use code newleafsleep$20 for a discount!)
3. Choose the Right Accommodations
When booking your accommodations, consider the sleeping arrangements. If your child is a light sleeper, it may be best to book a separate room for them or consider using the SlumberPod and a sound machine to help reduce environmental noise, so they’re not disturbed by other family members. You can also request a quiet room away from any potential noise disturbances, such as elevators or busy streets. When my family took a trip to Kauai last fall, I spent a great deal of time looking over vacation rentals and which place would best accommodate our family and make sure that everyone got the sleep they needed. Ultimately, I chose to go with a slightly more expensive rental that allowed our 2 year old to be in his own room so I could ensure that his sleep was protected. And boy, am I glad I did! Our days were jam packed he needed to sleep in order for us to keep the fun happening.
4. Plan Ahead for Jet Lag
If you’re traveling across time zones, jet lag can significantly impact your child’s sleep routine. To help minimize the effects of jet lag, try to adjust your child’s sleep routine a few days before your trip. This may include gradually shifting bedtime and waking times to match the new time zone. Once you arrive at your destination, try to get outside and expose your child to natural light, as this can help reset their internal clock.
Have your vacation and sleep too!
Travel can disrupt even the most consistent sleep routines, but there are ways to help your child get the rest they need. By sticking to your regular sleep routine, creating a sleep-friendly environment, choosing the right accommodations, and planning ahead for jet lag you can help ensure your child gets quality sleep during travel. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy your trip knowing that your child is well-rested and ready for adventure.