Are you bursting out of your bubble this summer?
As Christmas approaches, summer weather beckons and COVID-19 restrictions look set to ease, many of us are eyeing up a classic Kiwi summer holiday.
But holidaying with kids is not as straightforward as picking a destination, booking accommodation, packing your bags and hitting the road.
You might be wondering how your little one will get quality sleep, or if you’ll have to spend every naptime at your accommodation.
The great news is that the whole family will be able to enjoy a break and naptime does not need to be an obstacle for having fun!
Here are some of my top tips for holidaying with babies and toddlers in tow.
Top Tips For Holidaying With Kids This Summer
Readjust Your Expectations
You don’t need to entirely plan your holiday around your kids, but it is helpful to take them into consideration. Think about everybody when you are setting your plans.
Put yourself in their little shoes for a moment and consider what they will enjoy ie. the fun kids stuff! And think about how many of those “boring adult activities” they can tolerate before you might be staring down the face of a meltdown! The key is to balance these two!
Remember that you are on holiday too. It’s ok to relax the rules a little bit from time to time. Just stick loosely to your usual home routine. A little bit of screen time after a big day or fish, chips and ice cream for dinner is not the end of the world.
On The Go
Road trips and active holidays are still possible with little ones in tow. It might just need a little bit of the compromise that we just discussed. Rather than a full day hike, maybe downgrade to one that is only an hour or two. Also, plan some additional stops on your road trip to get out and stretch the legs, plus check the nappies!
Don’t forget to bring the pram for those essential naps or moments your child needs downtime from all of the fun – even if they don’t use the pram often at home. You might also want to consider a front pack or sling if where you are heading is not pram friendly.
Kids may struggle with long car rides. Consider timing the start of road-trips with nap time, or even bedtime, and kids may sleep through some of it. For awake times, have a few travel-friendly distractions close at hand, such as a favourite soft toy and snacks.
Plan plenty of stops. Playgrounds, parks, or other open areas away from the road are great for the older kids to safely burn off some energy and for the little ones to crawl around.
Although any nap is a good nap, the quality of sleep does vary in different environments. Think about how well-rested you feel after dozing off in the passenger seat of the car as opposed to having some quality shut-eye in your own bed.
To avoid over-tiring your baby, try avoiding back-to-back days of being out and about at nap time.
Sleep, Glorious Sleep
Sleep can make or break a holiday with kids.
To make it easier on everyone, try to maintain some of their comforts and routines from home: stick to usual bedtimes, bring their favourite cuddly toy, pillow, usual white noise machine or nightlight to set the scene. Then, tuck them up in their own familiar bedding or sleep sack. For younger babies, bring unwashed sheets from home to help makes the new sleep space smell familiar and comforting.
For a comfortable summer night’s sleep, we love the Purflo 0.5 Tog Baby Sleep Bag. This lightweight sleep sack has breathable mesh panels for ventilation, keeping your little one snoozing in cool comfort through even the hottest night.
Darkness can make all the difference. One of our don’t-leave-home-without-it holiday essentials is the Sleepy Sundays Instant Blackout Blinds. These simple, roll-up sheets fit any size window, adhering with static technology.
And once the kids are settled, remember: this is your holiday, too! Enjoy the sunset, open a bottle of wine, sit around the campfire, indulge in a good book – or enjoy some restorative holiday sleep yourself.
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.
Summer holidays usually come with a list of protection items - sunblock, bug spray, sunglasses, hats… you know the drill! But this year, we will all be adding a new level of protection with Covid protocols in place.
But, don’t let that put you off having a lovely summer break. The great thing about summer is that we can all get out and enjoy the great outdoors where there is less health risk. Slip, slop, slap and wrap your way through some of New Zealand’s best outdoor destinations!
After all the restrictions of the last 2 years, the wellbeing elements of embracing a summer holiday will be hugely beneficial for the whole family!
Your Little One’s Summer Holiday Sleep
Summer can be a tricky time for sleep as the days get longer and the nights get warmer. Some children will be disrupted by these environment changes. But, don’t panic, you can navigate through them so the whole family can enjoy great sleep all year round.
Want more tips for a summer full of quality sleep?