Managing a Sleep Routine While Staying Away From Home
Do you remember the days when you could just grab your car keys and a modest overnight bag and head out the door – whether you were going on a road trip or heading off for the weekend?
As parents to young ones, those days may seem like distant memories.
The thought of long car trips, sleepless nights, and a disrupted sleep schedule when you have a baby can be daunting, to say the least.
But you don't have to miss out on spending the weekend with family or indulging in a longer escape. Here are my top tips for managing your little one's sleep schedule when staying away from home.
Keep Things Familiar
The key to helping your infant settle when away from home is to make the environment as familiar as possible. While you can't control everything about the room your baby will bed down in, you can control the things closest to them, such as their sheets and blankets.
Bring along some unwashed cot sheets from home for familiar smells, and don't forget any pillows, toys, night lights, or blankets that they are used to dozing off with.
Create A Sound Barrier
Some parents swear by a white noise machine to help their babies settle down to sleep. Even if you don't do this at home, it may be a useful tool to drown out unfamiliar sounds in a new place. Particularly if you are sharing the room with your baby. The white noise will prevent you from disturbing their sleep while you are moving around the room. Check out our amazing Yoga Sleep travel white noise device.
For older babies and toddlers try and section off an area in the room so your little one has their own sleep space. You can achieve this by moving furniture around to create a partition between your bed and where your child sleeps.
Stick To Your Routine
Try and keep to the same pre-sleep routine you have at home. Maybe that's singing or reading to your baby, giving them a pre-sleep bath, or turning on the white noise machine. If necessary take a portable baby bath or small blow up paddling pool with if your accomodation doesn't have a bath. Whatever works for your baby at home should come with you on holiday, including sleep bag, comforters, books etc.
Darken The Room
If your little one has no problem nodding off in a brighter room, this one is optional. But many babies do get used to a darkened room at naptime. This can be hard to pull off in some hotel rooms or houses, so consider investing in some Sleepy Sundays portable blackout blinds to make life easier.
Campervans and Tents
If you are going to be staying in a tent or campervan think about how to overcome your three main challenges; noise, heat and light. White noise will help drown out any unwanted external noises especially from other campers moving about late at night.
If you can't darken your tent or campervan, put a sun umbrella up outside close to where your child sleeps to keep it cool during the day and provide some extra shade from unwanted light.
Try hanging a sheet up in your campervan or tent to create a partition and separate sleep space for your child. This will make settling to sleep easier and give you the freedom to move about without disturbing them.
Focus On Your Sleep Schedule Timing
If possible, try to plan your travel times so they don't disrupt your baby’s regular sleep schedule too much. For example, if you are heading off on a long car ride, try and time the journey over a usual nap period.
Arrive in plenty of time at your destination so that baby has a chance to get used to the new noises, smells, and people before heading off to bed. Babies may not cope so well if they fall asleep in the car and wake up in a different environment.
There's no reason you can't have a busy schedule and be about and about enjoying your holiday, but do try and fit your activities around naps if you can. Try not to do back to back day naps on the go, as overtiredness will eventually kick in and may interfere with your plans entirely. Work out if you can alternate naps back in the cot with naps on the go.
When many people are relaxing and enjoying a change in routine over the holidays, this is often an exhausting time of year for parents! Routines can easily fall into disarray, especially if you are faced with late nights, over-indulged children, long car journeys and a house bursting with relatives.
However, with just a little effort, you can provide routine and consistency to help your baby feel secure, and allow yourself some time out to enjoy your time away from home.
Plus, if you want to set yourself up for a holiday full of great sleep, you can always contact me for a phone consultation and arm yourself with a plan that works for your family!