Carrying on with my theme this month about routine, I want to talk about how to maintain a good routine whilst travelling.
I do find parents, who are about to embark on their first trip post sleep training. OR after establishing a routine, can wish they had never booked their holiday, due to the fear things will ‘go out the window’ and all their hard work, will go to waste.
Like I have said before, routine is really just an order of items. So being in a different country doesn’t really change things. You still have to feed your baby and yourself, your baby will still need to sleep, as will you.
Although the environment may change, your babies and your needs have not.
3 tips to help wash your worries away!
Don’t make it self fulfilling.
Your child does not know where they are, they only know you are there and thats good enough! They can’t tell Germany from Mexico from Canada to Miami. As long as your baby has a safe place to sleep, you are fine. Roll out your normal routine (aka flow), and put your infant down in a safe place for sleep, in the exact same way you would do at home (ideally awake!)
I find that lots of parents will worry about their infant knowing that they are in a different place, but when they are young, they don’t have that ability. What they do pick up on is you feeling uneasy, and that is what will result, in what you may label; regression or fussy behaviour.
What time should I put my child to bed at when we have changed time zones?
The travel day is out of your control, so don’t try to plan it. Instead, relax and go with the flow, don’t worry about extra feeds on the plane or extra naps or no naps, just enjoy the journey as much as you can.
The more stressed you are, the more stressed your child will be.
NOW…. lets pretend you are going to Mexico, it’s a 6 hour flight and a 3 hour time difference. Your flight leaves at 8am (so you have likely been up since 4am). Its going to be a LOOOOONNNNGGGGG day!
But, how you will gauge the bedtime?
This is the bit that I find really throws parents off. They start to try to calculate how / what time their baby will go to bed at, and subtract or add hours depending on where ether are going, you DON’T need to that.
INSTEAD do this:
Let’s say your child is 4 months old and stays awake 2 hour from their last nap to bedtime. So they are up at 5pm, and they go to bed at 7pm at home NO problem.
On the travel day, you will put your baby to bed, 2 hours from when they woke up from what YOU deem to be the last nap of the day. This nap could have been in the taxi or on the bus from the airpot to the hotel. It could be in the stroller whilst you check in. It could be 8pm, 9pm or 11pm. DON’T go by the clock on your travel day.
Maybe your baby takes 3 naps on a normal day, but if you are up so early, and changing time zones, maybe they will have 5 naps. It won’t matter on the travel day. What will matter is that they still go to bed X amount of hours after waking up from what you consider to be last nap to be and that you put them down as you would do normally, following your normal bedtime routine.
Work on real time in at your destination.
Once you have landed at your final destination, don’t start counting hours or working on the time zone you just left. Work on the time zone you are in. After you first nights sleep in your destination (so your first FULL day) start your day within an hour of your normal waking up time, and roll your your normal eating and sleeping routine. If you are on the go, don’t worry about your child having a nap in the stroller and being back in the hotel room, unless of course, you are also wanting a siesta. Having the odd nap on the go, is not going to do your routine detrimental damage.
BONUS TIP! Flights that land in the later afternoon are best when traveling with children, they are usually however, the most expensive! As are children in general!