The last couple of blogs posts have been about travel with babies and children, in this miniseries I am sharing as much as I can with you to make the journey easier, to make your time away more enjoyable and so that sleep doesn’t just become a complete disaster. Next up is my sleep tips for you while you are away. So whilst you are on your holiday or vacation, whilst you’re traveling, how can you make sleep much better than just leaving it to chance?
My first tip for you for improving sleep or making sleep good whilst you’re away with your children is to think about the routine but different. When I say routine but different, it means you want to have some kind of routine, some kind of rhythm going on. If they’re napping, let’s work out where they’re going to fall, where those naps are going to sit in the day, and bedtime, where’s that going to be? We do want some kind of rhythmicity, but it can be different to what you do at home. For example, it’s quite common when we travel, especially if we’re on a vacation with our children, that we might want to shift bedtime to be a little bit later. Perhaps if they’re going to be dining with us, we might want to move bedtime a little bit later.
Or if there’s a kiddie’s disco or a children’s club or something that they’re going to go to, again, it might just mean bedtime is a little bit different. If that’s the case, will they be the kind of child to make up those hours and sleep in a bit in the morning? Or are you like me where you have a child that it doesn’t matter when they go to bed, they’ll always wake up at the same time in the morning? If that’s you, you might need to factor in a nap in the day that perhaps doesn’t normally happen at home or an additional sleep in the day that you wouldn’t normally do in your home routine. So you just need to allow for these tweaks so that you can get into a holiday routine with sleep.
The second thing I want to share with you is about sleep location. Often when we travel, our little one’s sleep location changes. It might be that they are sharing a room when they wouldn’t normally, either with a sibling or with parents or the whole family might be in one room. That can happen. Their sleep location for naps might change. Maybe they normally take a nap at home in a cot and now they’re going to be taking a nap in their pram or their push chair stroller whilst out and about. Because, let’s face it, we’re on a vacation, we want to be out and having fun, right? So the location of sleep can change. Again, set it up for your holiday rules, your vacation rules, so that whilst you’re there, that’s what you do and they get used to it. Don’t worry. They won’t see this as home. They’ll see this as a different environment anyway and what happens there is what happens there.
Make sure that you set up the room for comfort and safety and have a nap setting that you know works so you can also all enjoy your holiday. I remember doing this with ours. I remember when they were in a double push chair and being away and we had a lovely routine, they’d have their lunch, they were all nice and fed and it was the hottest part of the day. They’d go into the double push chair, shades over, laid back, and we would go for a nice walk which was perfect after lunch, they would nod off to sleep, we could park up in the shade with them, sun loungers, books, and enjoy whilst they would take a nap and it was just lovely. So it can work really, really well. I’m not saying it always goes that smoothly, but it can do.
The same with bed times. Number three, bedtime routines. You can shift this. There’s options here, and it will depend on what you’re doing, where you’re going, where you’re staying, who you’re with. You might be away with family, for instance, or staying at somebody’s house, or you might be in a resort or one of these lovely places where you have the children’s clubs. There’s so many different setups on holidays for families. So wherever you are, just consider what bedtime routine will work given the setting that you are in.
One example and a common one I think fits well if you are at a holiday destination is to do your bedtime routine. This is particularly with babies and younger ones, toddler, preschoolers, is to do the bedtime routine with them in your room, in your accommodation, have that routine that they know, have a wash, a bath or shower. It helps get rid of the sunscreen or any clamminess from the day if you are somewhere hotter than they’re used to, it gives them that nice cooling feel, into their sleep wear. Then it might be that you settle them in the pram or in the push chair, and then they cuddle up maybe with their teddy and you can then go out for your evening and have a sleeper right by your side. That can work really well, too. Right through baby and toddlerhood as well, that one could be a really effective bedtime set up.
The point is, if you have some kind of routine there, if they actually have that routine, it will help them and it will help them to sleep better and then you just transfer them to their sleep space when you get back afterwards.
The last point on this I’m going to share with you is when you get back home. I mentioned this in my last episode, when you return home, you return back to normal, local time I talked about in the last episode, and for this episode, routine. Return back to your normal routine with when the meal times and nap times and bed times are and the environment, they will slip back into it because it’s familiar in a familiar environment.
Take care, sleep well and happy holiday’ing!
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