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Sleep Tight on Holiday: Essential Baby Travel Sleep Tips

Going on holiday with your baby or child can be a bit nerve-wracking.

Parenting away from home and remembering to pack everything you need can be a challenge!

You might also worry about maintaining your usual sleep routine while you’re away. Whether your baby is a good sleeper or a restless one, changes in environment can be concerning.

First, let’s tackle the travel day itself...

Travel days are often chaotic and unpredictable. Accept that sticking to your usual sleep schedule might not be feasible. Instead, focus on keeping your little one as comfortable as possible during the journey.

Pack their favorite toys, books, or comfort items to provide familiarity and distraction.

Be flexible and don’t stress if naps happen at odd times or are shorter (or longer!) than usual.

Settling into a routine on holiday...

Once you’ve reached your destination, try to re-establish a regular routine as soon as possible. Offer naps when they need one, even if that means napping on the move in a buggy.

Consistency is key in helping children adjust to a new environment. Stick to your typical bedtime rituals like bath time, story time, and any other pre-sleep activities that signal it’s time to wind down.

This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun – it just means incorporating some familiar routines to bring a sense of predictability from home.

Creating the right sleep environment while traveling can make a big difference. Portable blackout blinds are a game-changer for ensuring your child gets uninterrupted sleep. Many hotels and holiday homes lack dark curtains, leading to early wake-ups or disrupted naps. These easy-to-pack blinds can help create a dark, sleep-friendly space no matter where you are.

Preparing to room share with your baby or toddler on holiday...

Sharing a room with your little one? Creating a partition can help mimic the separate sleep spaces they’re used to at home. Use a curtain, room divider, or even a strategically placed piece of furniture to give the illusion of their own space. This can help them feel more secure and less distracted by your movements. If you already room share, you’re ahead of the game!

Help them feel secure...

Bringing familiar items from home can ease the transition to a new sleep environment. Pack favorite toys or teddies and, if possible, bring their own bedding. Sheets that smell like home can be incredibly comforting, helping your child relax and fall asleep more easily.

Managing evenings with your baby or toddler on holiday...

Evenings can be tricky, especially if you want to enjoy some nights out while on holiday. For babies, consider following their usual bedtime routine, then placing them in a pram or stroller for an evening walk. This way, they can fall asleep in a familiar manner, and you can still enjoy your evening.

For older children, you might adapt to a later schedule or incorporate a longer afternoon nap so they can stay up for dinner. Alternatively, finding a trusted local babysitter can provide a much-needed break and allow you to enjoy some adult time. Many hotels and resorts offer babysitting services.

It's completely normal for little ones to need extra support at bedtime when they're in a new place. Offer reassurance, but avoid starting new sleep habits you don’t want to continue back home. Reassure them you’re there, but keep bedtime routines consistent.

Traveling with young children requires extra planning and flexibility, but by bringing familiar comforts, maintaining routines as much as possible, and being adaptable with evening plans, you can ensure a smoother, more enjoyable trip for everyone.

The most important thing is having fun, enjoying your time, and making memories as a family. If your routine and sleep go out the window, just return to your normal routine and boundaries when you get home.

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