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Family vacations are packed full of fun activities. But if your kids skip their naps or stay up late, grumpy sleepy children won’t be able to enjoy all of the lovely things you have planned for them. Staying on a sleep schedule will help to keep your family vacation running smoothly and full of fun. We have collected our top tips on how you can have loads of fun without sacrificing a healthy sleep schedule for you and your little ones. Keep reading to learn all our family vacation sleep tips for a restful break.
Looking to stay on a sleep schedule through the summer? Head over to our post Tips for Kid’s Summer Sleep Routine.
Not only is staying on a consistent sleep schedule at home a good idea, it will also make it easier to keep it up while you’re on vacation. If your kids are always going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, then their bodies natural circadian rhythm will help maintain this schedule even on vacation. Keep in mind that consistency is key and it can take a while for circadian rhythm to line up with a set schedule.
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If your little one typically falls asleep with a sound machine or certain pillow, bring those items along with you. Try to keep their sleep schedule as familiar as possible. Change can be very disruptive for kids.
They will already be staying in a completely new environment with different smells, sounds, and surroundings. Whatever you can do to make this new location feel more like home, the better. Even using the same nighttime books and their favorite cozy pajamas can help soothe their senses.
With so many fun things to do and see on family vacation, you may be tempted to book your schedule to the brim. We suggest allowing for some wiggle room and plan on having some downtime. This also helps allow for some relaxation. Too much stimulus and high energy activities can overwhelm and exhaust your little ones. This may lead to breakdowns or unplanned crash naps.
By allowing for some downtime at the hotel to allow some low activity time to relax and do… not much at all can help everyone to decompress, relax, and ready for more fun activities tomorrow. (Note: Try to avoid too much screen time while decompressing. While it is physically low activity it is highly stimulating)
If your kids are not used to sharing a bed, they likely won’t sleep half as well sharing a bed together. Pack and plays are a great option for younger kiddos, while older kids may prefer their own bed. However, this does not necessarily mean you need to book a hotel room with a bed for each child ($$$). Instead, if you’re staying in a hotel try asking what rooms they have with extra sleeping options. Some hotels may have pull out couches or sleeping cots that are great options for kids.
Another note on this topic is to ensure you give yourself proper sleep space as well. If you haven’t tried sharing a bed with a toddler lately, vacation is not a highly suggested time to try it out. Though they are tiny, they have little to no bed sharing skills. Be prepared for kicks, blanket stealing, and space hogging. This is yet another reason why we highly suggest giving your kids their own sleep space.
Like the idea of an easy and affordable cot that travels well? Than you’ll love this toddler cot by Regalo.
Whether you need to plan on a long drive, trips back to the hotel, or simply a quiet dark spot in a comfortable stroller. Whatever it takes to squeeze in a nap, make it happen. Skipping naps on vacation can be very tempting. There is so much fun to be had and it can be hard to pull the kids away from all the excitement in order to rest. However, in the long run everyone will have more fun with less breakdowns if everyone is taking their usual naps.
Time differences can be enough to throw off anyone’s sleep schedule. Keep this in mind when scheduling naps and bedtimes. Depending on the severity of the time difference, your naps and bedtime may blend for a while. Jet lag can also play a big part in sleep schedules. If you can stay up long enough to crash around bedtime, this is highly suggested.
However, for kiddos you may have to settle for longer than usual naps, and shorter than usual bedtime sleeps. If you are staying for longer than a week or so, eventually you will find a new normal. While for shorter family vacations, you may just need to grab sleep whenever the opportunity presents itself and get back on a proper schedule once you get back home.
Try not to wait to get back to the hotel until right before bedtime. We all know it can take quite a long time to settle down for bed. If you wait until just before bed to get back to the hotel room you might end up with an uphill battle of settling your kids down prior to bedtime. And making them too tired to calm themselves down. So plan on getting back to the hotel, or wherever you are staying at least an hour or two before you are wanting the kids to head to bed.
Even if you don’t normally use white noise machines at home, you may consider using them while on vacation. Sleeping in a new place can be difficult with all the new sounds. Especially if you are sleeping in closer quarters than usual. It may help for you to enjoy your evenings or afternoon naps without having to tip toe around sleeping little ones. There are also hand noise blocking tools like baby noise blocking caps (Hush Hats) or even noise blocking earmuffs for especially loud locations.
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In order to have a good time on vacation, getting the right amount of sleep is vital. It is not always easy getting a great nights rest in a new location, especially for kids. However, we hope our tips help you and yours stay on a happy healthy sleep schedule during your next trip. Keep in mind that consistency is key, so the best you can stay on the schedule you keep at home the better. Have a great vacation and sleep well!
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