Traveling with young children might sound like an adventurous mission, especially when it comes to managing their sleep. But here’s the good news: while it can be challenging, it's far from impossible. My husband kindly calls these adventures "trips" instead of vacation, emphasizing that they're worth taking to build memories the entire family will remember forever.
The key to making it work and enjoy your time away from home is FLEXIBILITY! Keeping an open mind will help your plans go smoother. Whether you're planning a family trip or visiting relatives, you can totally stick to a reasonable sleep routine for your little one while you're on the move.
Try to mirror your routines from home, but also remember, it's perfectly okay to go with the flow; not everything will go as you'd like. Start your day with a reasonable wake-up time and cap those daytime naps at a max. of 2 hours. When it comes to naps while you're on the go, get a little creative - use a stroller, a baby carrier, a swing, or even a car ride to ensure your little one gets at least 45 minutes of rest and avoids becoming overtired.
To recreate a sense of home, consider bringing with you a portable sound machine, a pack 'n play, travel blackout shades (I've even used aluminum foil in the past!), your child's bedding, and, of course, their beloved security objects like a lovey or a snuggly stuffed animal.
Now, when it comes to traveling to a different time zone, it can get tricky. Here's where light and food come to your rescue. Keep things quiet and dark during the nighttime hours and maintain a hush-hush atmosphere, even if your child decides it's party time at 3 a.m. Aim to spend time outdoors in the sunshine during the day, especially in those evening hours; most likely, it will help press the reset button on your child's internal sleep clock.
If you've already successfully sleep-trained your little one, hurray!! Try your best to stay true to those hard-earned habits. While it's perfectly fine to be a bit more supportive, especially in new settings, don’t undo all the progress you've made. Find out soothing techniques that won't send you back to square one.
Remember that it's not just about the destination but the entire journey itself that makes beautiful memories. Embrace the unpredictability and ride out unexpected moments, these are the stories you'll cherish forever.
It is important that when you get back home, routines go back to normal right away and within a few days, you'll find your rhythm again, getting you right back where you left off before your journey. I Hope my blog post about traveling with your child helps, and you have a wonderful time and happy travels!