7 Sleep Tips for Traveling with a Toddler
It’s hard to believe, but we’re closing in on the holiday season. We’re in the home stretch of 2020 -- which I couldn’t be more excited about. We’ve almost made it to the end!
But before we get there, we have to survive the holiday season. The notorious time of year that disrupts kid’s sleep because of travel, different sleeping arrangements due to house guests and maybe late night holiday gatherings.
Travel is one of the main reasons my phone rings off the hook in January with parents desperate to get their toddler’s sleep back on track. So, let me give you 7 tips to save your toddlers sleep over the holidays.
Here Are 7 Sleep Tips for Traveling with a Toddler
1. Get Some Sleep Before You Leave
Start now! Get your kiddo on a good, consistent sleep schedule. Yes, you really need to do this! The longer she has to get used to her sleep schedule, the easier it will be for her to stay on that schedule when you’re traveling.
2. Talk To The Hubs
Get on the same page with your spouse before you leave. Where will your kiddo sleep? How will you handle bedtime? What happens if he wakes up in the middle of the night? Will you bend any sleep rules? Arguing with your partner in the middle of the night... while you’re trying to get your kid back to sleep... and not wake up other house guests, sucks. So, plan ahead!
3. Prioritize Sleep
Would you leave the house right before lunch without a plan for how to feed your kids? Treat sleep the same way. If you know your toddler needs a nap, plan for it. Schedule activities around naptime or leave her sleeping at home with grandpa. If you know your toddler behaves better when she gets lots of sleep at night, put her to bed early. Plan for the sleep you know your kid needs. Everyone will thank you for it!
4. Avoid Starting Bad Habits
Warning: Don’t start any bad habits over the holidays! If your child sleeps independently at home, have him do the same while traveling. If you allow him a week of snuggling in bed with you, it will make getting him back in his own bed once you get home a headache.
5. Match the Sleep Space
Try and make your child's sleep space as familiar as possible. Bring her favorite lovey, sound machine, nightlight, favorite bedtime books, etc. Run through her same bedtime routine just like you would at home. So, even though you're in a different place, sleep feels familiar.
6. Be Kind to Yourself
Life happens. You may not be able to keep everything consistent and that’s okay. Give yourself a break and have some fun. Everything may not be perfect. Read Tip #7.
7. Get Back On Track Quickly
Once you get home and normal life resumes, get your child back on track as quickly as possible. If he is used to his consistent sleep schedule, re-establishing his good sleep habits shouldn’t take more than a night or two. (See, I told you tip #1 was important!)
Do you really want to spend your Holiday Break calming a hysterical child or punishing a misbehaving toddler? Don’t be the family with “that” kid. Remember, everyone is in a better mood when they get the sleep they need.