When travelling with children during the festive season, it’s very easy for their routines to be thrown off completely. We all have so much to fit in. A lot of travelling and so many people to see. You can’t always be tied to the cot for naps and a reasonable bedtime.
However, if you can keep things on track during the holiday season while travelling, you’ll have a happy, well-rested brood, and a break while they nap. It will also be easier to settle back in to your routine when you’re home.
Whether you’re travelling with children and away for a couple of weeks or just a few nights, follow these 5 tips to keep things on track.
1. Don’t plan too much in one day
The biggest mistake parents make is that they over schedule themselves when travelling with children.
When you have a baby or toddler with you, it’s important to remember that they don’t have your stamina!
So try and plan ahead and pace yourselves with fewer activities. The whole family will appreciate a more relaxed diary. This gives you all enough time to rest and recover.
2. Don’t forget about naps!
When you have a lot of friends and family to fit in over Christmas, it often feels easier to have your baby nap en route in the car.
An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime isn’t going to do too much harm. But if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, he’ll become overtired. So by the time bedtime rolls around on day two, you’re dealing with a complete meltdown and struggling to put him to sleep.
My recommendation is to ensure that your baby or toddler takes the majority of their naps in the cot.
3. Be consistent
Try not to make changes during the holidays that will be hard to stop once you get home. If your child isn’t allowed in your bed at home, don’t allow it on holiday – it won’t be an easy transition back to the cot!
It can also be common for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does 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 not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home.
You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency your child will quickly get used to the new environment.
4. Bring the familiar if you can!
If your child sleeps with a comforter or teddy, remember to bring it with you and pack it somewhere easy to access.
Also bring along a few favourite bedtime books to give some familiarity with the bedtime routine at home.
5. Create a separate space
If your child is eight months or older, try to have a separate space for him to sleep. This could be the bathroom, if it’s big enough. Or anywhere that you can safely build a divider between you.
So if he wakes in the middle of the night, he’s not so excited to see his two favourite people!
When travelling with children, it makes all the difference to be consistent, follow routines and create a familiar environment.
This will ensure you all get more sleep while away and can get back to normal quickly on your return.
If you would like some support with any other child related sleep issues, please get in touch. Follow the link to join my waiting list.