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Planning Your Next Family Trip

It’s already starting to feel like summer around here in Miami. School’s almost out, and the days are getting longer and warmer. Most of you are already planning ahead for that summer trip (not vacation, as we know when we travel with our kids). Of course, traveling with younger kids is always harder, but doesn’t always have to be if you can prepare yourself accordingly. Here are my top 5 suggestions in helping make your travel plans smoother.

1.     Departure Travel Time: If you have a child that still naps, you want to try to book your flight (or departure time) around nap times. Having your child nap during the flight or car ride will not only make the travel time easier for you, but will help your child adjust to arriving to a new place without being overtired. Many parents are concerned with how to nap their baby. On the plane, anything goes! You can hold, rock, feed, or even put your little one in a carrier and walk the isle back and forth if you have to. This will not create bad habits, as it’s only a one-time scenario while traveling. Try to avoid flying in the later afternoon, which will bring them to a later bedtime in a new place. They will need time to adjust to their new sleep setting first (see below #2, and you don’t want to get there too late.  

2.     Sleep Space: When deciding on where you will stay, try to figure out where your baby will sleep. She does not need her own room, but if you can set up a pack-n-play in the corner or hallway of the room (away from the bed), it will help. If your child normally sleeps in a crib at home, find out if your hotel provides one, and if not make sure to bring your own pack-n-play. There are also companies that rent out baby gear. Once you get to your new sleep space, make sure to set hers up with her crib sheets, toys and blankies. Have her play in and around the area so she can familiarize herself with it before bedtime.

3.     Child’s Sleep Essentials: Because you will be an unfamiliar place you want to make sure to bring as much of her sleep essentials as possible. A few good items would be: crib sheets, blankies, pacifiers, her regular bedtime books, and even a few of her favorite toys. Think of what your bedtime routine looks like at home and try to bring all the essentials that are part of it. You want to make sure she feels comfortable in her sleep space.

4.     Adjust To New Time: When traveling to a different time zone, your little one will need to adjust her circadian rhythm to the new time. It is suggested to adjust to the new time immediately upon arrival. Make sure to feed and sleep her with the new time as soon as you arrive! If you arrive during the day, expose her to sunlight to help adjust her rhythm. Jetlag can last a good 3-5 days, so hang in there if those first few nights back home are rough.

5.     Remain Consistent Yet Flexible: Our kids thrive on routine and predictability. They like to know what’s coming up ahead without the surprise and the unknown. This is why it’s recommended to keep to a schedule and routine daily when at home. However, it’s very hard to keep to the exact schedule when traveling, so don’t worry! Try to at least keep to the same feeding and sleeping times as best as you can. If you’re out and about and it’s time for a nap, try to sleep your child in the stroller, car, or in any means possible. Just because you aren’t home doesn’t mean she doesn’t need a nap. Adjust bedtime earlier if it’s been a day where she hasn’t napped well. If you’ve spent too many days out where all naps were short, try to stay back one day so she can nap in her sleep space and catch up on sleep. And most importantly, continue putting your child down awake at bedtime and nap time and respond consistently. If she’s between the ages of 9 months - 2 years old, she may be a little scared of her new sleep setting, and not understand what’s going on. You can provide extra support, but make sure you don’t go back to old bad habits. You can sit by her crib to provide comfort, but allow her to put herself to sleep.

Sleep Tips For Your Summer Travel

It’s officially Summer and I’m sure you are planning your getaway. Although a vacation with kids is a whole other ball game, it is still manageable.  Your bags are now twice as heavy and your magazines are staying home, but spending some quality time with your family on the beach is unforgettable.

Many fear the travel, as it’s one of the main causes of sleep disturbances. But if your child was a great sleeper before, just like any regression, she will be a great sleeper after as well.

There are a few things you can do to try to avoid such a bad regression:  

1.     Keep to the schedule and routine as best as possible. We all know that staying inside the hotel room all day for your baby to nap her 3 naps isn’t going to happen. You want to explore and be outside of the room – well, isn’t that one of the main reasons why you’re on vacation? You still can! Just as you do the exploring keep in mind of your little one’s schedule. Perhaps stay indoors for her first long nap, and then go out onto the beach. If you are nearby your room, try to have her come back to her crib for the nap. And if you’re out and about be mindful of nap times and bring her lovey so she can at least take the nap on the go.

2.     Bring some familiar crib sheets and blankets. If you are going to a hotel or even a relative’s house, chances are they will have crib sheets and blankets. But sometimes bringing some of your own will help your child feel a little at home. The regular crib sheets will bring a little familiarity to her.

3.     Bring the essentials. Try to recreate her sleep space like she has at home, in the new setting. You can bring some plastic garbage bags to cover the windows to ensure that the room is dark enough. If your child normally sleeps with a white noise machine, you don’t have to bring the whole machine, you can download an app on your phone.  If your child has a favorite book, or a favorite pajama, bring those as well. And of course – don’t forget her loveys! Make sure to bring some extra in case you forget one on the plane or in the hotel room.

4.     Room & crib acclamations. If you arrive to your destination during the day, try to set up your child’s sleep space first and have her play in it for a while. Let her explore the room, the new crib, and play around so she becomes familiar with it.

As soon as you get back home, make sure to go back to the regular routine. You may need to do a mini-sleep train for a couple of days, but nothing like before. Your child should fall back into her regular sleep patterns relatively quickly.



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