Whether you are visiting family, going home for the holidays, or taking a much-needed family vacation, traveling with children can be incredibly fun and rewarding. However, it does present some challenges – especially when it comes to sleep! Maintaining your infant’s or toddler’s sleep schedule and routine, in addition, to create a soothing, comfortable environment, can help your little one sleep in new environments. Here are a few tips to help your family get a good night’s rest while traveling.
Maintain a Schedule
On travel days, try to plan your flights or car trips around baby’s regular sleeping schedule. If they usually sleep in until 7 a.m., avoid super early plane rides that might disrupt their sleep, if possible. It’s a myth that if baby wakes up early, they will go to bed early! If you are traveling at night, consider putting baby into his/her pajamas before heading to the airport to help maintain that usual nightly sleep schedule.
Recreate Their Sleeping Environment
Keeping your little one’s nighttime sleeping environment as similar to their nursery as possible can help baby fall asleep. If your infant usually dozes off to a certain lullaby playing in the background or snuggly wrapped in a swaddle, recreating this similar environment while traveling can help baby fall asleep. For older children, be sure to pack their favorite stuffed animals or blankets as a comforting reminder of home.
Consistent Nighttime Routines
Children are pattern seekers — so travel and vacation can certainly be a challenge during the day and at night! Both infants and toddlers benefit greatly from bedtime routines to ensure they are consistently getting a good night’s sleep. Incorporating your baby’s usual nightly rituals, such as a warm and relaxing bath, screen-free quiet playtime, or reading a favorite book, can help them unwind and fall asleep after a fun-filled day of travel, vacation, or family time.
Added Comfort at Night
Just like adults, children’s sleeping can be impacted by new or unfamiliar environments such as a hotel, Airbnb, or grandparent’s house. Creating a comfortable and cozy bed can help your little one fall asleep more easily. Don’t forget to pack waterproof fitted pads for baby’s full-size USA standard crib or toddler bed, if one is available where you are staying. Crib mattress pads provide added cushioning and waterproof protection. Some even feature moisture-wicking cooling fibers to help keep baby more comfortable.
If baby usually naps twice a day, try your best to maintain that napping schedule. However, you probably won’t be at your hotel during daytime naps. For this reason, be sure to travel with a lightweight reclining stroller for an on-the-go sleep solution. The Contours®Bitsy Elite is a great option for daily travel and features a reclining seat for comfy naps. It even has a super compact fold that can fit in the overhead compartment on many airplanes.
Traveling with family and little ones is extremely fun and creates memories to last a lifetime. A good night’s sleep can help ensure your children and entire family are well-rested for your adventures the next day. For more advice, check out our sleep tips for the whole family! Happy Travels!