The craziness of the holidays is upon us and oftentimes that means more outings and gatherings, later evenings, and over stimulated children. So, I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to survive travel and master holiday sleep.
1. Maintain Your Zen: Amidst the festive frenzy, prioritize serenity. Acknowledge that possible disruptions to your child’s sleep schedule are a temporary side effect of the season. Embrace the chaos with confidence or at the very least, try not to stress. Take comfort in knowing that your efforts are commendable and that a return to routine awaits once back home.
2. Tune Out Unwanted Advice: Navigate the sea of well-intentioned suggestions with confidence in your parental instincts. Let unwarranted parenting and sleep advice roll off your back, recognizing that you are the foremost expert on your child. Your unique understanding of your child’s needs may not align with generic guidance or match up with what they did when they were young parents, and that’s perfectly fine.
3. Time Zone Transition Tactics: During extended stays in new time zones, jump into the new time upon arrival or as soon as you can. For shorter visits or minor time differences (like an hour), sticking to your home time zone can be an option to minimize disruptions to your child’s sleep routine. It also makes for a much easier adjustment once back home.
4. Flight-Friendly Strategies: Opt for early flights, if possible, to harness your child’s morning charm. For most children, mornings are when they shine brightest, handling travel changes and stimulation with grace. Equip yourself with new and captivating toys to keep your little ones interested and busy. You can also never have too many snacks. Bring an array of foods to help get through travel delays, tiredness, and even boredom too. This can aid in a tear-free journey.
5. Thoughtful Packing: Create a haven away from home by bringing essential sleep items. Whether it’s your baby’s swaddle or sleep sack, their familiar loveys, books, white noise machines, and portable cribs, replicating the bedtime ambiance your child is accustomed to for a restful night will go a long way.
6. Darken the Space: Transform any sleep environment into a comforting retreat by creating a cave-like atmosphere. Adults, children, and babies alike all sleep better when it’s really dark. Whether using makeshift curtains (like blankets covering windows like I used to) or portable blackout shades, prioritize creating a dark and cozy atmosphere conducive to restful sleep. It will be beneficial to everyone!
7. Stick to Routines: Amidst holiday excitement, safeguard your child’s sense of security by adhering to their bedtime routine. Predictability, set sleep times, and routines serve as comforting anchors, especially after late-night festivities. Do every step of your child’s routine so their brain and body are cued up for sleep.
8. Embrace Late-Night Liberties: Fear not if the holiday party extends into the late hours. A later night here or there is not the end of the world. Just be prepared for the potential extra early wake-up call the following morning and a slightly cranky child. If the tradeoff is a night of priceless family memories, however, then the late night was probably worth it.
9. Smart Bedtime Strategies: If staying at a gathering later than your child’s bedtime, use a spare room and portable crib if available. Do your bedtime routine at the party venue, and put your child to sleep. When it’s time to leave, wake your child to transfer them to the car. Once home, a simple goodnight suffices—no need to recreate the entire bedtime routine again.
10. Room Sharing: Oftentimes when traveling, families or children will have to room share. Maintain peace during shared accommodations by setting up a visual barrier between your baby’s sleep space and the parents’ bed. For toddlers and children, designate a separate sleep area, be it a cot, another bed, or a cozy sleeping bag on the floor over co-sleeping.
11. Sleepover Success: As your children grow, sleepovers with friends or cousins may become a part of your festivities. Facilitate the transition to communal sleeping by ensuring each child has their designated sleep space. Whether it’s a bed, a mattress on the floor, a sleeping bag, or a thoughtfully arranged set of blankets, allow them to start in separate beds. If logistically they need to sleep in the same bed, moving them together once they’re blissfully asleep can be an option.
12. Don’t Stress: Try to stay calm in unforeseen circumstances, knowing that you can address any sleep disruptions once back home, in your child’s familiar environment and routine. Past clients, fall back on our go-to strategies we implemented at the end of our sleep journey together.
Ready to Reclaim Sleep? For personalized guidance or to recover from holiday-induced sleep disturbances, schedule a FREE Discovery Call. Let’s chat and ensure your family gets the rest they need to thrive.