Family trips offer exciting adventures with your child that make your heart happy and full. The entire family benefits when your child gets enough rest in an unfamiliar environment, away from their normal routine. Before you start the car or board the plane, consider these tips to help your child sleep when traveling.
Create a Routine in Advance
Traveling involves long days and late nights filled with new experiences and people. These experiences and people can disrupt your child’s usual routine and affect their sleep.
Incorporate aspects of your child’s normal patterns into a vacation bedtime routine to help them fall asleep. If your child’s nightly habits involve bath time, stories, a snack, or cuddling, keep a similar pattern when traveling. Be sure to wake and nap at a comparable time to ensure your child still gets sleepy at their typical bedtime.
Pack Comfort Items
A soothed child goes to sleep easier than an exhausted child. Pack what your child needs to feel comfortable and calm when traveling. Maybe a favorite blanket or toy helps relax your child at bedtime and creates an environment that invites sleep.
You might consider an alternative solution for children who soothe themselves by sucking their fingers or thumb. While their thumbs are convenient and always available, it’s important to consider the potential oral health issues resulting from finger sucking.
The calming effects of music aid in relaxation. Certain types of music may encourage sleep in unfamiliar places. Classical jazz playlists make great choices for soothing your child at bedtime.
Hum to calm your child or encourage them to hum as they try to sleep. The vibration that humming creates in the body and ear produces a soothing experience for both child and mom.
Watch for Overwhelm
Children often experience overwhelm in new places and unfamiliar environments. This overwhelm may affect sleep when they become too tired or excited. Watch for signs like unusual crying outbursts or irritability. When you spot overwhelm in your child, try a soothing technique like playing music or invoking quiet time to help them relax.
Keep Some Familiarity
Your child may fall asleep easily after a busy day of fun but wake in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep. Help your child fall back to sleep by creating familiarity in their sleep space. If a water bottle sits next to their bed at home or a starry, rotating nightlight reflects on their bedroom ceiling, make sure to bring those items on your trip. Waking in the middle of the night and seeing something familiar makes it easier for your child to go back to sleep.
These tips to help your child sleep when traveling create the opportunity for your entire family to feel refreshed after your trip. When your child sleeps through the night, it enables you to also get a good night’s rest and makes it easier to create great travel memory to relive for years to come.