By: Alanna McGinn
Summer is here and warm weather means cottage, camping, and road trip time. A common question I get asked this time of year is “We’re going away soon. How do I protect my baby’s sleep?” Here are tips on how to have a great summer vacation with a well-rested baby!
Consistent Bedtime Routine
Practicing a consistent bedtime routine at home is something you can take with you wherever you go. A similar sequence of events can better prepare your child for sleep. Practicing this routine away from home will help give the feeling of security and familiarity to your baby, even if they are unsure of their environment.
A Few of My Favorite Things
If your child has a lovey or blanket that is a comfort item, don’t forget to pack it! Giving them these items at bedtime, reading them familiar books, using the same white noise machine, can help ease the transition of a new sleep environment. If you are using a crib where you are going, use the same crib sheet from home so your baby will have that familiar smell. For your toddler, pack up their pillow case and use it on their new bed.
Take Your Time
If you are planning a long road trip try and leave around nap time so your little one can fall asleep in the car or plan your trip at night. If your baby is a car sleeper try and leave right at nap time. If your child has a hard time falling asleep in the car leave an hour before naptime so if he gets excited from the car he has an hour to relax and fall asleep and it won’t interfere with naptime. Also, give yourself some time to have a relaxed road trip for extra stops for feedings, potty breaks, and leg stretches.
If you make the decision to start sleep training but you have an upcoming trip happening soon, I recommend holding off on sleep training. It’s so hard to be consistent when you are travelling and have jammed packed agendas. Consistency is key in any sleep training plan. So enjoy your trip and when you get back home you can get started right away.
If you have already sleep trained and are worried about keeping your little one on schedule try not to worry too much about it. You do want to protect their sleep as much as possible but you don’t want to be trapped inside during every nap. Try and encourage some quiet time and stroller sleep throughout the day if you can’t make it back to the hotel room or cottage for nap time. Try not to have a late bedtime every night. And most importantly when you get back home, get right back on track.
Suite Sleep is a Great Sleep
When booking your accommodations I’m going to recommend that you look at booking an economical suite with at least two separate rooms. Most suites have enough space in the main room for a pack and play and come with a sofa bed for toddlers. Some will even have another twin or double bed. Make sure you ask. This way mom and dad you can sneak off into the bedroom while your little one is falling asleep and you don’t have to hide out in the bathroom.
This summer enjoy your vacation time with your family. Be aware of how much sleep you child needs and try to protect it as much as possible but also have a great time doing family fun things and know that when you get back home, everything can go back to normal.
Alanna McGinn is an Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site www.goodnightsleepsite.com. She is a mom of 3 (1 + twins!) and is committed to helping families with their baby and toddler sleep needs. Through her studies, experience, and day-to-day life, she strives in helping all families overcome their sleep challenges and have happy smiles in the morning.