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Travelling with Your Child

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Travelling with your child can be daunting, especially if sleep is not as good as you may want it to be. Don’t worry—these holiday sleep tips can help your little one feel happy and secure in their new sleep environment, making your trip more enjoyable even if they are not yet able to self-settle.

Flying

Packing light for carry-on luggage is a thing of the past. Be prepared with plenty of spares—clothes for you and your child in case of mid-air accidents, extra food, formula, nappies, and other essentials. Don’t forget their favourite snacks and toys to keep them entertained during the flight, it will make travelling with your child that much easier. 

What happens on the plane, happens, just let it be and allow them sleep whenever they want, especially on flights over two hours. Travel can be exhausting, and it won’t take long to re-establish sleep routines once you reach your destination.

Sleep Environment

Ensure the room temperature is suitable for your child (check the Lullaby Trust for safe temperatures). Essential items for the sleep environment include a blackout blind, their favourite cuddly toy or blanket, and some home-scented bedding. A dark room helps encourage sleep hormones, making it easier for them to settle, and familiar smells provide comfort. You can read about a good bedtime routine here.

If your child is over eight months old and you’re sharing a room, create a private space or a divider to prevent them from seeing you during light sleep phases, which can lead to playtime.

Naps

Holidays often mean naps won’t always happen in a cot. Occasional naps on-the-go won’t undo your hard work. Just be cautious about too many naps in the car or pram, as the motion can become a sleep aid. Ensure most naps happen in their cot and avoid consecutive days of on-the-go naps. This could be your time to relax and enjoy a nap yourself.

Testing Boundaries

It’s normal for children to test sleep boundaries in new environments. Treat this the same way you would at home. Stay calm and relaxed, offering reassurance every five minutes if they are unsettled. Sticking to your bedtime routine and maintaining consistency will help your child adapt quickly and sleep well in the new setting.

If siblings are sharing a room, expect some initial excitement at bedtime. Consistency with your rules will soon have them back to sleeping well.

Avoid Sleep Difficulties

A few on-the-go naps or later bedtimes won’t cause much harm, but several days of car or pram naps followed by late bedtimes can lead to overtiredness and difficult bedtimes. Stick to your routine as much as possible to avoid falling back into old sleep practices that were hard to break.

Avoid over-scheduling your days. While exploring your destination is exciting, doing too much can overwhelm your child, leading to grumpiness and unsettled sleep.

As a former bed-sharing parent, I understand the temptation to bed-share while traveling. However, this can disrupt good sleep habits. Most accommodations offer spare beds or cots—check in advance or bring your own if necessary.

Enjoy Your Holiday!

Good sleep is crucial for a happy holiday. Stick to your sleep rules, be consistent, and limit late nights and on-the-go naps. Enjoy your holiday and create magical memories together.l

If you get back from your trip and 2 weeks later you are struggling with sleep, please get in touch.  Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

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