Going on a winter vacation with the kids?

 

You must read this before heading out on vacation.  Good sleep can make or break your vacation!

  • Respect your child’s sleep needs and do not over-schedule.  Plan for some down time in the afternoon where your child can have a nap that is not on the go.  It is tempting to do as much as possible, but it will just leave everyone miserable at the end of the day.  Remember, you are travelling with kids in tow! One of my husband’s favourite memories from a trip we went on when our kids were little, was sitting on the patio overlooking the ocean, reading for a few hours in the afternoon, while the kids and mom took a nap!
  • An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime is okay.  Most children can tolerate this without too much disruption to their overall sleep patterns. However, consecutive days of naps on the go and later bedtimes will wreak havoc on their sleep.   You still want to aim for no more than 20% of naps out and about.
  • Your child may test the boundaries and protest more in their new sleep environment until they get used to it.  Deal with it the same way you would at home by going in and out of the room every 10 minutes and provide some quick reassurance.  Be very consistent for the first few days and nights and your child will be used to their new sleep space and go back to sleeping well, which will make for an enjoyable vacation for everyone.
  • Bring your child’s blankie or stuffie, sleep sack and white noise. Set up a sleep space that is dark and separate from you.  Hallways, bathrooms and closets can work well to set up baby’s temporary room.  There is a great product out there called the SnoozeShade that fits over most playpens. It is a breathable, blackout cover that works great for blocking out light and providing some separation from your baby if you happen to be sharing a room.
  • As tempting as it might be to bed share for a few nights, it is not a good option. Often your child will decide this is his new preferred location to sleep and you may find yourself back to square one when you return home.
  • For the plane ride, it is best to plan ahead and do whatever you need to do to keep your child comfortable and occupied for the journey. He may have a nap in your arms and that is okay.
  • If you are doing a driving trip, planning to drive during nap time works well. It is just best to ensure that all naps are not happening in the car. And stop and take breaks to eat and stretch!  Your child needs this too!

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