Traveling, whether it is on a 2 hour car trip to the grandparent’s house or a 10 hour plane ride to another country, often throws small children’s sleep for a loop. Traveling brings unfamiliar spaces and new people to play with. This combination can often make it hard for a child to quiet their mind for sleep. Here are a few tips to help your child sleep better while traveling:
1. Be sure to bring along your child’s beloved lovey or sleep security object when you travel. I even go so far as to say it is a good idea to make sure it is in carry-on luggage in case your luggage is lost.
2. For young babies especially (under 1 year old), if your child will be sleeping in a crib while traveling, bring your crib sheet from home so that there will be familiar smells for your baby where you are staying.
3. Try to give your child plenty of time to become familiar with the new space before attempting to put him down for a nap or to bed at night. In a strange environment, your child is likely to need extra comforting and snuggles in order to be able to relax and fall asleep. Also, keep in mind that seeing fun and entertaining friends and family will be be extra stimulating, so be sure to give your child lots of wind down time before sleep.
4. As much as possible, try to keep to somewhat of a similar schedule while traveling. If your child still needs a nap, make sure that time is set aside for a nap. Being overtired and sleep deprived from not enough day sleep can interfere with night time sleep while traveling.
5. If you have healthy sleep habits established at home, even if things get off track while traveling, returning to your normal routines once you are back home will help your child return to their good patterns.