I’ve been asked a few questions recently about travelling with little ones. It can be intimidating to plan a vacation for yourself, let alone throwing in the sleep schedules of a little one. Don’t let having a small one make you scrap your travel plans. You can go somewhere and enjoy it, and with just a little extra planning on your part, take a little stress out of the whole experience.
First and foremost we need to talk about a safe sleep environment. If you are staying in a hotel, request a crib for the under 3 set, or bring your own pack and play. There are also plenty of toddler cots on the market. Make sure you don’t put the pack-n-play next to the cords for the curtains / blinds, etc. Use all the same protocols you would use at home, no blankets (again for the under 3’s),
This may seem a little strange, but if your child is used to sleeping in a very dark environment, hotel rooms are often not dark enough… one quick, easy and cheap solution is to tape up some black garbage bags over the windows.. Bring some electrical or duct tape and tape them up. It will make a big difference on the light quality in the room. If that isn’t a good choice for you, I found travel black out curtains that are easily portable and can also help out when you travel to someone’s house and don’t necessarily want to be taping up a garbage bag on their window. They attach with suction cups and can expand to fit most windows. (Available at Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond)
If your children are used to sleeping with a white noise machine, there’s an app for that :) Make use of your phone and apps, rather than lugging your machine with you.
Next let’s talk schedules… You are going to want to stick to your nap and bedtime schedules as close as possible. Sometimes it is more important to miss one more roller coaster in order to have a well rested, HAPPY, child, than an overly tired, cranky beast… If you cannot go back to the hotel room for a nap, try to use a sun shade and a stroller. Even though the nap will not be as deep and restful as it would be in a quiet, dark room, it is better than skipping the nap entirely and creating a sleep deficit.
If settling in for the night at 6:30 doesn’t appeal to you, you might think about hiring a babysitter in your location so that you can have a nice dinner out, and your little one can get the sleep they need as well…
With this prep work in place, your vacation can be fun and relaxing for everyone. Keep safe, keep to your schedules, and enjoy your time together.