With the school holidays fast approaching, lots are planning to head away, and I am happy to share my top travel sleep tips with you.
1) Make your child’s sleep environment homely -
Make your child's sleep environment homely. Try to recreate their cot or bed at home in the sense of bringing their own sheet, sleep bag, special comforter, or teddy they sleep with. If you are bringing bed linen along with you, I recommend bringing a sheet they have slept on at home for that familiar scent of home.
If your child is used to sleeping in a dark sleep space which is what I recommend, consider bringing along a travel black out shade for the room they will be staying in if you're not sure how dark the holiday accommodation is. If your accommodation does not provide a mattress for the travel cot, consider bringing
your own. There are foldable travel cot mattresses available that are compact.
2) Tips for napping on the go –
I highly recommend a portable white noise machine when travelling with a baby. This can help with naps on the go in busy and noisy areas, and in your overnight accommodation to help drown out environmental noises, including from other siblings. I recommend a dark out shade for your buggy for naps on the go. Do not use blankets etc to cover your buggy, there are dark out shades / umbrellas that are available to shade your little one from the light and allow them to nap with more ease.
If you have a long car journey to start/finish your trip and your little one sleeps with ease in the car, I recommend leaving a half hour before their nap time so that once they settle into the journey, they should fall asleep for their nap, and this should ease any restlessness in the car.
If your child uses a soother/pacifier, this really helps at the take-off and landing stage for overseas trips and assists in reducing any issues with their ears during flights. If not, a bottle feed/nursing works very well here too and can really help relax your little one and encourage them to take a nap. I would also add if your little one is at the toddler stage, some fresh air and exercise or a playground visit in advance of the journey can reduce restlessness on the car/plane journey and help with a nap.
3) Balance is key –
A level of flexibility is key with any child's routine, especially on holiday. Try and fit in a cot nap where possible, car/stroller naps (a motion nap) may be necessary and aren’t an issue while on holiday. Try and avoid a missed nap where possible and opt for a motion nap as opposed to a missed
nap. If you do miss your child’s nap, compensating with an early bedtime can help avoid a build up of overtiredness. Avoiding overtiredness can help everyone enjoy their trip more.
Have a safe and happy trip. I share lots of free advice regularly on my Instagram channel - @phoenixdreams_sleep,
Certified Child Sleep Consultant, Parent Coach, and owner of Phoenix Dreams
Colette who is a busy mum of 2, specialises in working with children from the newborn stage through to 10 years of age. She is one of the only experts in both Child Sleep and Behaviour in Ireland, having built up a strong reputation in Ireland and abroad with new and repeat clients.