Tips For Taking Sleep On The Road
Holidays, travel, guests and parties. All of these events can really affect your child’s sleep. With the continual development that is already happening in your child, these additional disruptions can create the perfect storm of sleep disturbance. This month is devoted to…
how to plan for and be prepared for the setbacks as well as the solutions!
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1. Be prepared– Try to stay on track as best you can without it wrecking your trip. Pack a pack-and-play. If you are going to the beach a light blanket, over the top, under a beach umbrella, can be a lovely napping spot. The white noise and the fresh air can lull little ones to sleep. Remember that if you do have to do a couple of stroller naps or car naps to fill the “sleep bank”…so be it. Getting the proper rest during the day will help your nights.
2. Give some thought to the sleep environment– Think about what the sleeping arrangements will be like when you arrive. If you can arrange to stay in one place for the duration of the trip, this will be most helpful. Bring along familiar items, blanket, lovey and keep it simple. Remember your ritual will remind your child that this is the time to sleep and sleep will happen.
3. Prepare your child – This is key. When you arrive at your destination let your child be a part of setting up the sleep area and do a walk through of how sleep will look while you are here. Don’t forget to talk to her about what is different if you need to change anything while away.
4. Road trips– Plan drive time around nap time and get out and move around every 3-4 hours.
5. Bring along a few novel toys
6. Airplane travel – Bring a car seat for added safety and a familiar spot for baby to be. Tell your baby that on the flight you will be serving an open breast buffet. Nursing/bottles on take off and landing can help with ear pain. It is also the easiest way to soothe when you are stuck in close quarters with passengers who get more than a little uptight when they see a baby approaching their row. If the same emotions overtake your child as I describe in my November Sleep Letter, you must breath and ride it out. In that instance even a glance of empathetic apology to your fellow travelers does little good. So forget them and be present for your child. This will help a child calm more than anything else.
7. Use the return to make any changes in sleep – Now take a deep breath and repeat after me – “no matter what happened on our trip, I will get back on track when I return”. As they say, life happens, trips happen, illness happens and development happens and all of the above will disrupt your child’s sleep. The key is to get back into the routine as soon as you return. If you can plan a couple of days when you return for rest and routine rebuilding, this will be most helpful. Hunker down and stay close to home. Your mantra is this, “Now we are back home and we will go back to the way it was”. Do a walk through of the way it was and then get started. If the way it was is no longer working, give me a call!
If you would like to make a change in sleep, linking your return with that change can be very effective. Prepare your child before your return and be specific about what the new way will look like. When you return home and after you feel your child is well rested (24 – 48 hours), remind her that tonight sleep will look different and then show her what that differe4nce will look like.
Say it, mean it and then start it!
Move forward with confidence in your child abilities.
Feel confident in yourself to follow through!