Everyone is happier when they sleep well, especially babies and toddlers, but when you’re on vacation, keeping a sleep schedule when traveling is important if you want to have a good time.
However, when I talked about this on social media, it turns out that not everyone finds this as easy as we have throughout parenthood. So, I knew I needed to give you all some of my best tips for keeping a sleep schedule when traveling.
Now, a sleep schedule when you’re traveling is never the same as it is at home, at least it hasn’t been for us. We aren’t too strict, but naps are the biggest focus for us when traveling. These kids need to nap because we want to have fun throughout the day not listen to little kids scream.
I’m sure you feel me there.
So, if you’re wondering how it’s possible, here are my tips for keeping your baby on a sleep schedule when traveling.
9 Tips for Keeping a Sleep Schedule When Traveling
1. Lower Your Expectations
Understand that your sleep schedule WON’T be perfect when you’re traveling, and setting yourself up with the expectation that everything will be fine is going to leave you disappointed.
A lot of your sleep schedule is around the surroundings your child is in and the normal routine. Kids love to know what to expect, and that includes simple things like sleeping in the same place.
When they’re in a new place, going to sleep isn’t as easy, especially if you have a busy toddler who wants to see everything.
Try to set up a space that is comfortable and will help your child sleep, but understand that it won’t be the same as it is at home.
2. Don’t Overpack Your Schedule
As your child gets older, doing more on vacation is normal, but if you’re going on a vacation with a baby, expect to vacation at a slower pace. Don’t expect to be able to do everything you would do without a baby because you need to focus on keeping a sleep schedule when traveling.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun – you will!
It means you need to be ready to head back to the hotel before you might otherwise. You might have to take it easy so that your child gets at least one good nap per day.
3. Be Flexible
Flexibility is one of the keys to vacationing with kids in general. Things don’t always go as planned – trust me.
Be ready to change if things aren’t going well. If your baby is having a breakdown, be prepared to stop what you’re doing and head to take a nap.
4. Keep The Routine As Normal As Possible
Routines help your baby feel safe and secure when going to sleep, so make sure you follow the routines as best as possible. That means you need to bring the books, blankets, lotions, and anything else that your child associates with bedtime.
It’s a must.
You also need to try to keep your routine as normal as possible. If you always give your baby a bath before bedtime, then make sure you do so now, even if it’s a quick bath. The better you stick to the routine, the easier keeping a sleep schedule when traveling is.
5. Keep Naps Consistent
Flexibility is important when you’re traveling with kids, but one thing we keep consistent is nap time.
I talked about this on Instagram in my stories – many of my followers asked how we get our toddler down for a nap during vacation. When we stay at Holden Beach, we’re directly on the beach, and we make sure we have a video monitor or something that lets us keep an eye on him while we are on the beach.
If this isn’t an option, an adult will have to stay in the hotel room or beach house with your toddler while they nap.
That might be frustrating, but getting enough sleep keeps your kids happy. Happier kids means a happier vacation for everyone, so it’s a good thing to prioritize.
Many times, I tell my husband to take the older kids, and I relax on the balcony for an hour or two by myself. That’s not a bad thing!
6. Get One Nap Per Day at Minimum
If your baby is younger and still takes a few naps per day, you need to get at least one good nap per day when vacationing.
Napping on the go is possible, but one thing I’ve found is that they don’t tend to sleep as well or as long. So, if you plan for an on-the-go nap one day, I suggest planning to hang around the hotel or house the next day to ensure your child gets a good nap that day.
If you want to nap on the go the entire time, invest in a quality stroller or baby carrier.
7. Bend Bedtime – Only a Little!
We pack a lot into our vacations, but bedtime is something we try to keep generally the same. We’re open to bending it slightly; it’s not uncommon for us to run out for ice cream at night or watch fireworks.
However, if our toddler has a typical bedtime of 8 PM, you won’t catch us at an amusement park at 11 PM.
It might be frustrating at times, but remember, this is a season. One day, you’ll have teenagers and be able to stay out for long nights as a family. That’s not this season, and overall, I bet you want a vacation with fewer tantrums.
Get your kiddo to bedtime as close to bedtime as possible!
8. Plan Around Meals and Eating
When our kids were younger, we had to keep an eye on when our babies needed to eat. Babies tend to breastfeed every two to three hours, so I knew that I would need to nurse within that time frame.
Why does this matter?
Well, any parent will tell you that babies get fussy when they’re hungry. That’s totally normal, but if you’re busy, your baby might end having a breakdown. Keep an eye on the clock and be ready to take a stop to breastfeed or give a bottle when the time comes.
9. Expect Trouble Adjusting Back Home
When you get home, make sure you get back to a normal sleep schedule as soon as possible. Expect it to take your baby a few days or a week to adjust to normal life, but you have to be consistent with it.
Don’t Sweat It
The time when your kids are little is short, so don’t spend your time stressing over whether or not you can maintain a good sleep schedule when traveling. You’ll be home soon, and you can focus on getting your baby to sleep well again. Spend time making happy memories with your family.