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Travel Tips for the Memorial Day Weekend

Kids sleeping in a car

Travel Tips-

The biggest mistake parents make is that they over schedule themselves. They try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might normally have had back in their “child free” days, forgetting an important fact: That doesn’t really work for a young child.

An occasional car nap, or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm but if your child spends a few days with only short car seat naps here and there, late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on day two or three, she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house or hotel down.  So try to avoid letting your child get overtired and honor her daytime sleep needs.  If it was a poor nap day, plan on an earlier bedtime.

It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new.  Just because the rule is the rule at home, do not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house.  This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two.  The best way to handle it is to go in every 5 min or so to offer a bit of reassurance and try not to bend the sleep rules too much.  If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be use to the new environment, and will be sleeping well again.

If you are traveling by car, try to plan the car travel around nap times.  If your baby takes more than 1 nap a day, let her take the first nap at home and then plan on the next nap being in the car on the trip.  If your child takes one nap a day, plan on the car travel including that nap time.   Then aim for the first sleep in the new environment to be bedtime.  Bedtime is usually easier for the first sleep in a new place than nap time.

Time changes and Jet lag:

Surviving the plane ride: The best piece of advice I ever got about traveling with kids, is to just 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.

It is better to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as you can.

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 melatonin production, making them sleeper.

Have a lovely holiday weekend.

Sleep Well.

About the author

Shannon Glenn

Shannon Glenn is the owner and founder of Sleep Well Children Consulting and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist. She is dedicated to helping parents assist their children and babies in developing healthy sleep habits. With a B.A. in Psychology, Shannon has worked extensively with children and their families for over 15 years in a variety of settings.  She has been offering sleep solutions for over six years.  

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