It’s that time of the year again! Holidays, New Year’s, school is out, and some are even taking vacations and family trips. While it’s great to take a break from the daily routine and get away, with the little ones this often means more work than not. Breaking from their regular routine can cause some hiccups along the way, especially with their sleep. It’s hard to keep to their schedule, but sometimes even the smallest things we can do to maintain normality will help avoid the major regressions and make it a little “easier” to travel.
Below are a few of my recommendations to help avoid major sleep regressions while traveling:
1. Book your travel around nap times: If your baby still naps, try to schedule the flight or drive around his naptime. Ideally he would nap on the go, so he can catch up on some of the day sleep that he needs.
2. Sleep Space: Often times when traveling it’s hard to accommodate everyone’s sleep space, especially when staying at a relative’s house. If possible, bring a travel pack-n-play for your little one so that you don’t start creating a new habit of co-sleeping. If there’s no extra room for your baby, try to set up a sleep space as best as you can. Perhaps a corner, a hallway, or even a breathable walk-in closet with the door open. Try to create the environment that is most conducive to sleeping; like making it dark, no screens/TV’s, and the right temperature.
3. Bring the essentials: Trying to replicate his sleep environment will help with the transition to the new space. Consider packing his crib sheets, a few extra loveys and pacifiers, his white noise machine and if possible, a few of his favorite books and toys.
4. Try to keep to the schedule with a little flexibility: Keeping to your child’s schedule and routine while being on vacation is hard, especially now with the holidays. We tend to be up later, have more family gatherings and meals; we’re even out sightseeing the whole day. You can still try to keep to his feeding and nap schedule as best as you can in order to avoid major tantrums. If there’s no time change, it should be easier to stop for a quick lunch when he needs it, or when it’s nap time, perhaps take him for a stroll in the car/stroller if you aren’t home. Ideally, the more naps you can offer your child in his crib, the better, as this will allow for longer/deeper sleep. If you know you’ll be out all day, try to squeeze in his morning nap at home before you go out. If his naps were short and on the go during the day, try to come home for an earlier bedtime.
5. Give some time to acclimate to new sleep space: When arriving to your new location, try to give your child some time to get used to the new space. Perhaps take out some toys and books, and allow your child to crawl/walk around the room, play, and familiarize himself so that when bedtime comes around, he’s already used to the new environment.
Try to enjoy this time with your loved ones as best as you can. Travel and change will always cause some regression, but nothing that can’t be fixed once home. Try to stick to the tips mentioned above, and when you’re back home, more importantly, make sure to go back to your regular sleep habits.