You have planned your family vacation and are ready to hit the road! But baby still naps which means being cooped up in your hotel room while baby sleeps, right? Wrong! With a little bit of careful planning, you can enjoy your vacation and make sure baby gets enough rest! Read on to learn how!
Tip #1: Don’t Over-schedule!
I don’t know about you, but when I’m on vacation I want to experience everything the location has to offer with little regard to schedule or routine. Although this might sound like a great idea in theory, in actuality it makes for a tiresome, jam-packed, over-stimulated vacation. You come home from a vacation like this and feel like you need a vacation from your vacation! So what’s the key to having a fun vacation, that is still relaxing while honoring your baby’s sleep needs? The key is to resist the urge to over-schedule. Research the area in which you will be vacationing. Pick 3-5 things you absolutely must do while you are there and plan to do 1 major activity each day. For example, you are vacationing at the beach. Your list of “must-do’s” includes going to the beach, going crab fishing, and riding a Surrey on the boardwalk. Your number one “must-do” is to go to the beach so be sure to do that first. You start your day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a swim with the baby in the hotel pool, then lunch on the boardwalk followed by an afternoon on the beach. This might sound boring or like not enough, but remember, vacation is stressful in its own unique way. All of these new and exciting experiences can be taxing on the brain. There is a lot the brain needs to process which means it needs more downtime aka sleep. So be sure to give your brain the rest it needs after an exciting or novel day.
Tip #2: Nap on the go!
When you have a child that takes 2 or more naps per day it can easily feel like you are a prisoner in your own home. It’s much harder to get out of the house to go grocery shopping, get your car inspected, get a haircut, etc when you have to be home by a certain time for your little one’s nap. Naturally the same is true on vacation. So to avoid feeling like a prisoner in your hotel room, do the following: Plan your day around naps and plan the second nap to be on the go. If baby goes down for nap at 10:00 am, then plan for a fun activity before that nap. Put baby down for nap in a crib/pack n play within your hotel room instead of giving baby his/her first nap on the go because Nap 1 is usually the easiest nap and the longest one. It can also set the tone for the rest of the day. You wouldn’t want baby to have their first nap on the go because it will likely be a shorter nap, and not very restorative and then the rest of the naps for the day won’t go well.
For the other nap/s, why not try a stroller nap or have baby nap on the beach in a shady spot of the beach tent? Or perhaps a stroller nap? Best to use a flat stroller, of course and use your portable white noise machine. Be aware that a “nap on the go” will not be nearly as restful or as long as baby’s traditional naps but it can be helpful to take the edge off and keeping a cranky baby at bay.
Tip #3: Early Bedtime!
Early bedtime is just the savior baby needs to recover from a lousy nap day! Perhaps baby’s afternoon beach nap was rudely interrupted by a squawking seagull or baby just couldn’t seem to get to sleep. The best thing you can do is to put baby down early for her next nap (If there is another nap for the day) and/or bedtime. 15-30 minutes early usually does the trick. This will help baby to get to sleep, and stay asleep until they had had enough sleep for the day/night.
Tip #4: Keep things the same!
Assuming that your baby is a great sleeper before you leave for vacation, then it’s best to keep everything the same (regarding baby’s sleep) when you are on vacation. This means you use the same crib sheet, the same sleep sack, the same nap time routine, the same bedtime routine, the same white noise machine, etc. If you decide to change something, for example, baby sleeps in bed with you on vacation since there is no separate room then baby will become confused and likely struggle to get to sleep, have too many wakings, and wake too early for the day. It will also make it that much harder when you return home and place baby in her crib and expect her to get to sleep without you laying next to her. This means if baby is sleeping in her own sleep space before vacation, then give baby a similar sleep space while on vacation. Same white noise machine, same routine, same timing, same sleep sack, etc.
Well there you have it! Schedule 1 big activity per day, have baby nap on the go, give baby an early bedtime when needed, and keep all sleep variables the same! I sincerely hope these 4 tips help you to help a fun, yet restful and memory filled vacation! Sleep well!
P.S.-Perhaps you feel like you you need a tailored sleep plan while you are on vacation so everything goes off without a hitch. If so, then click here to purchase my Vacation Sleep Planning Package. Or perhaps your baby slept like a dream before vacation but didn’t sleep well on vacation and still doesn’t! If that’s the case, then click here for my 30 Minute Mini Session! If you feel like you need more support, then the 45 Minute Mini Session might be the best fit for you. I welcome the chance to speak with you and getting your little one (and you) sleeping like a dream!