The sun is shining and we’re allowed to go on holiday, at least in this country, once again – yey! But if you had a little one in the last year and a half you probably haven’t had much experience taking them away – and likewise, they haven’t had the opportunity to sleep in very many different places and spaces. Even if your little one is older, you have probably forgotten what it’s like to take them away, and they will have changed so much since you did! It’s so brilliant to get away and make some magical memories, but it can be a source of stress if you’re worried about your little one’s sleep. That’s why we’ve put together our top tips for sleep while you’re on holiday.
1. It’s really important to stick to your routine as much as possible. An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime is fine, but if your little one spends a couple of days taking car naps here and there and having later bedtimes, they may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around that they can’t settle themselves, and cry, a lot.
2. Think about your little one’s sleep environment at home. Do they have white noise? Bring it with you. Do they have a dark room? Pack a gro blind. Do they have a favourite comforter, blanket or pillow? Don’t forget it! Bring their bedding too – keep the fresh ones for when you get home but using their Gro bag/bedding from home can have a bit of a familiar smell which will also help.
3. If you have a long drive, try and time it around your little one’s nap, that way they’ll get some sleep and you’ll get some – or all – of your journey done in peace, and you’ll be able to start having fun when you arrive!
4. Ideally, especially if your little one is older than 8 months, and they don’t have their own room whilst you are away, it’s a good idea to make a private space for them to sleep, with a partition or screen so they aren’t happy to see you in the middle of the night.
5. It can be really exciting when you’re on holiday and there’s lots of things to do and places to explore, but if you try to fit too many things in, you’ll likely end up with a little one who’s over tired and finds it hard to settle at bedtime. So scale back the itinerary and spread out the fun! And don’t forget that if your little one is tired, they might need to go to bed earlier than usual.
6. It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. The best way to handle this is to not do too much different than you would if it happened at home. You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you stick to your routine and maintain consistency, within the first night or two, your little one will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.
The good news is, lots of fresh air and exercise, and spending lots of time with mummy and daddy, can be beneficial and even help your little one to get more sleep. So enjoy yourself on that much-needed holiday, make lots of amazing memories and start planning your next trip away!
If you’re feeling adventurous and have some camping trips planned this summer, do check out Fay’s brilliant blog about camping with a toddler with lots of hints and tips to help you have the best time ever. And, if you’re lucky enough to be going further afield, do check out our blog on foreign holidays.