Summer Vacations & Sleep

IMG_0048.jpg

Summertime travel season is upon us and with the extra traffic for holiday weekends and chaos at the airports, we sometimes forget how important sleep will be for your child while you are travelling.  For some parents this is a “whoops” after thought once you’ve already arrived to your vacation spot, but for others you’ve had anxiety over how you’re going to get your baby to nap while out and about.  Here are some tips on how to ease the transition for your baby or toddler…
     •    Lay the groundwork 1-2 weeks before you travel.  This is ideal for the slow to warm up babies that take a while to transition to new routines.  
           o    Put the pack and play (or whatever travel crib you want to use) in their room for them to nap in so they get used to the different sleep environment.
           o    Start pushing their nap and bed times in the direction of the new time zone (if needed).  
     •    Bring familiar sleep cues!
           o    This can include their lovey, favorite stories, white noise, swaddle, or singing their favorite lullaby.
     •    Keep their routine as similar as possible.  
           o    This is where knowing your child’s ideal awake times comes into play.  If you’re going to keep them on the same time zone as at home, then go by awake windows as opposed to sticking to nap times at the same time of day.
           o    Keep the sequence of events in nap and bedtime routines the exact same to cue your baby it’s time to sleep.
     •    Allow for earlier bedtimes and extended naps both on vacation and when you get home.  Sleep begets sleep!
     •    Relax and enjoy yourself.  Vacations are meant to be fun and a getaway from the normal routine.  If you’ve already laid the foundational work for your child’s healthy sleep habits, then they should adjust relatively quickly to an altered routine on vacation and get back on track when you get home.  Stroller naps or naps by the pool are bound to happen – let them and just be prepared with their environmental sleep cues to help them to sleep.

For more tips on traveling on a plane with a child, check out this blog post: Traveling with a Baby