I just love to soak in all that the Holidays have to offer. My family and I go to different tourist locations within the city to see their Christmas displays; It’s such a great time of year to catch up with friends, and spend time with my family. In the past, we’ve been in Europe for the Holidays and we will likely end up there again next year (my in-laws live there). The problem is that all of this novelty, travel (whether by air or car), and excitement tends to upset my kids’ regular schedule and can sidetrack me from keeping the regular time for their naps. Because I need all the help I can get, I asked Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant, Chelsea LePage to do a guest post with her Holiday advice for families like mine! 🙂
With the busy holiday season upon us, many families are planning trips to visit relatives or even the lucky ones are even heading for the tropical heat and sunshine! This is one of the most exciting times of the year for children and there’s nothing like being a parent witnessing that joy. Though it will be a busy time for everyone, here are five travel tips to help you keep your children well rested so they can enjoy the holidays to the fullest!
Bring Comfort from Home: If you child is attached to a special stuffed animal or blanket, make sure to pack it along with you!
I advise bringing your child’s sheets so that their bed smells like home. If you child sleeps with a sound machine make sure to pack it as well. You want their sleeping environment to feel as familiar as possible to them. If your child normally has black-out blinds in their room, pack a dark sheet to drape over the window.This will help to avoid an unusually early morning!
Keep a Consistent Bedtime: This can be difficult when you are doing a lot of visiting.
Your child will adapt to a later bedtime occasionally, but a couple late nights in a row will result in a overtired child who isn’t able to enjoy themselves the next day.
Don’t over schedule: The biggest mistake parents make is that they over-schedule themselves.
Try to plan your visiting around your children’s usual nap times. Sometimes an occasional missed nap can’t be avoided but too many days in a row and once again you end up with an overtired child!
Keep the sleeping arrangement as close to normal as possible: A big mistake parents make is to bed share with their baby or toddler while travelling when they don’t normally co-sleep.
Even it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred location, you could find yourself in a very tricky situation getting them back to sleeping alone when you return home. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack and play along and use that as a crib.
If your child is eight months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep.
Anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby is good. This way if she has a wake up in the middle of the night she doesn’t end up stimulated by your presence and think, “There are my favourite people. It must be play time!” Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great, if that’s an option for you.
Tips for Time Changes and Jet Lag
When it comes to surviving the plane ride, the best piece of advice I ever got about travelling with kids is just to ACCEPT the fact that you’re travelling with kids! So plan ahead and bring as many things that you can think of to keep your baby occupied and comfortable. If you have to resort to “old ways” to get your child to settle down, then do so. Just know that as soon as you land, it’s back to their normal routine!
- Well-rested children handle jet lag much better than sleep-deprived ones. If your baby has been on a good sleeping routine leading up to the trip, he should slide into the new time zone without too much trouble. It is best to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as you can.
- If you really feel like your baby needs an extra nap to catch up a bit, try to limit it to 45 minutes. Try not to let him or her nap too close to bedtime. If it’s a choice between a strangely timed dinner- hour nap or an earlier bedtime, I suggest you go with the slightly earlier bedtime.
- Sunlight is a useful tool in helping both you and your baby adjust to the new time zone, since light is the most powerful time cue our bodies have. Try to plan meals and socializing around the new time zone as well, and get an hour or two of fresh air in the early afternoon.
- Make sure you do just the opposite when evening rolls around. Use the blackout blinds, and keep light to a minimum a couple of hours before you want your baby to go to bed. This will help stimulate natural melatonin production, making your child sleepier. If your baby is sleeping in a room that doesn’t darken, bring your own black sheet to drape over the window!
- If you are interested in more information about infant and child sleep tips or you are looking for a solution for your infant or child’s sleep struggles, you can contact Chelsea LePage, Certified Sleep Sense™ Consultant:
Chelsea@snugasabugsleeping.com www.snugasabugsleeping.com or +1.604.657.1050
If you have any questions for Chelsea, our sleep consultant, please post them below and they could be answered in my upcoming interview with her <3