Everyone knows how important it is to me that my children stay on a great sleep schedule. This is not only because I don’t want to hang out with cranky kids all day, but it’s also due to the fact that sleep is essential for healthy development. So even when we travel across the country, I try to plan as best I can for them to still get adequate sleep. Here’s a few tips on how to do this:
- Start the Trip at an Optimal Time
For longer trips (6 plus hours), and for children on 1 nap, I suggest to leave right when they wake up for the day so that they can still get to bed at an early time (Between 6pm-8pm). For kids that are still on 2 naps, I’d suggest leaving after their 1st nap (which should be around 9am) so that they can still have one solid nap at home. Most well-rested kids aren’t going to nap well during the car ride, so we try to plan the trip to get the best out of naps and bedtime. For instance, my kids usually take a 2-2.5 hour nap at home, but during this trip, they either didn’t nap in the car or they were closer to 1 hour long. This meant that after they got to run around a little bit when we got to our destination, I made sure they went to bed quickly so they could still get 11-12 hours for night sleep since their naps were almost non-existent.
- Keep Some Sleep Items Unpacked
Leave their favorite blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, and pacifier unpacked and available in the vehicle. This way when the kids seem like they could take a nap, you have everything there to make them as comfortable as possible while strapped in their seat.
- Make Sleep Environment Like Home
Traveling is exhausting, and when the kids are in an environment they aren’t used to, it can be hard for them to want to go to sleep. So you have to make it as much like home as possible. I can honestly say that the only thing that I didn’t pack was the actual crib. I brought their pillows, blankets, animals they sleep with, their mattress pads (please remember safe sleep if younger than 1 year of age), musical bunny and the 2 books they read every night. We did our same exact routine of getting ready for bed, and then I would put a rain machine on my phone so they would have white noise to drown out hotel noise throughout the night.
- 1 Bedroom Hotel Suites are a GAME CHANGER
If your kids go to bed at the optimal times between 6pm-8pm, and you’re staying in a hotel, you have probably found yourself being stealth like and silent as they fall asleep, or hiding under the covers or in the bathroom trying to watch TV or play games on your phone so you don’t have to go to bed that early too. There aren’t many hotels that offer rooms that have a separate living area from a bedroom with doors, but I do my best to work our travels around where I can find hotels like this so my husband and I can still enjoy our evening together while the kids are asleep.
If you have any other questions about traveling with kids, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623.824.5427