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Weekend Travel Sleep Tips

Family in car
Weekend family travel

Weekend travel sleep 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 on the road.  This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two.  The best way to handle that is to respond to her like you would at home as best you can to try to keep that consistency for her.  In a night or two you will see her sleeping better.  

Get outside!  Fresh air and sunshine and swimming if available will definitely help your little one sleep well while on the road.

Re-create home sleep environment as much as you can.  Darken up that room.  Make sure the room your child is in is as dark as her room at home.  If you aren't staying in a hotel that may mean you need to bring some travel room darkening shades to put up. Bring sleep things from home.  If your child has a special blanket or lovey that she sleeps with be sure to bring it with you.  If she is a toddler and has a sleep clock bring that along too.  Try to have her sleep in the same kind of bed like she does at home.  If she sleeps in a crib that means she should sleep in a travel crib or pack and plan on the road.  If she sleeps in a bed at home, bring a single size blow up mattress and let her sleep, call that her "special travel bed" and let her sleep there.  

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.


Hope that helps your weekend trip go smoothly. 

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.  

Why didn’t we try this sooner?! As we speak he is sound asleep in his crib – and has been since 7:15 pm.

Karianne Wanggaard

Sleep Well Sleep Specialists

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Working with Shannon, I went from 2-3 wake ups every night to 1 or 0. She aligned the plan with my preferred sleep cycle. She was always coaching, never judging. Shannon was great, I have referred MANY people to her! That's the best testament to her work that I can give.

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