As christmas is approaching, lots of questions get asked about how to protect a little ones sleep, as parents fly (or drive) coast to coast to catch up with family.
So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to write some tips on how to travel with your little ones and maintaining the sleeping habits in tact as best you can.
Traveling to different time zones – Here are a few tips on the best way to handle traveling to different time zones for you and your little one. But please remember, that you could have a fantastic plan that gets thrown out the window if you get a delay during transit.
1. https://www.lumie.com/pages/jet-lag-optimiser – check out this website where you can input your data, and it will then tell you the best way to handle the time change for your internal biological clock depending on the direction of travel so that you don’t feel the jet lag too much.
2. Try and get flights that land in the afternoon of your destination. (Not always possible but if you can that is beneficial for you internal biological clock)
3. Wake your baby at there normal wake up time at the new destination and expose to sunlight – he/she may be grumpy for a day or too as their body’s adjust but this is better than letting her sleep in to compensate for lost sleep as it would then be even harder.
4. Try and get your baby to stay awake until their normal bedtime once arrived at your destination and do the normal bedtime bathtime routine before putting to bed.
5. Try and keep naps and feeds on schedule during your trip as you would at home using local time.
Sleeping in a strange environment – Sleeping in a strange environment or hotel room can have a regressive effect on a child’s sleeping pattern or habit but can be worse in toddlers than older children or babies. During these times you should be sympathetic to their needs as they are in an unfamiliar environment and may feel a little insecure.
Smaller babies and older children should not have any issues, as older children have an understanding of what is going on, and babies don’t know they are in a new environment, esp if you can take some items from home.
Try and take as many familiar sleep related objects as you can to make the “new” crib or room as similar and as comfortable as possible. Follow your normal wind down period before putting your baby to bed. Expect some regression and sleepless nights as this is realistic and you wont feel to disappointed when it happens.
When you can have your baby have their own room like they do at home, if this is not possible then designate an area in the bedroom / hotel room away from your bed that can be “their corner”.
Once you get home though you should go back to your old ways despite you child’s behaviour otherwise you will be going back to square one.
Enjoy your holiday!