Embarking on a vacation with your little one can be a mix of emotions. From pride and excitement to a sense of fulfillment, you may also experience a touch of apprehension. The unfamiliar beds, different time zones, and disruptions to routines can throw your baby or toddler’s sleep patterns off balance.
To ease your worries, we reached out to Margot Carpenter, the founder of Bubzz and a certified Sleep Sense™ Baby Sleep Trainer. Discover her expert advice on traveling with your little bundle of joy and fostering a restful night’s sleep. Uncover her five sleep hacks to ensure a smooth and peaceful holiday experience for your family.
Meet Margot, an Australian-born, Hong Kong-based certified sleep consultant dedicated to helping families achieve better sleep for their little ones. With firsthand experience as a mother of two children under three, Margot understands the challenges of sleep training. She offers personalized sleep plans tailored to your specific needs, parenting style, and cultural considerations. Through video consultations, Margot ensures a thorough understanding of your environment and requirements, creating a bespoke sleep schedule suitable for your infant's developmental stage and family dynamics. With Margot's guidance, you can expect to see improvements in sleep issues within three to five nights, while also gaining the tools and strategies to sustain long-term success independently.
Maintaining your baby's sleep routine and staying as consistent as possible can always be a challenge while on holiday, but it does definitely make a difference and is worth the effort. Despite the beach days and late-night dining in the European summer, try adjusting your plans to ensure you have enough time at the end of each day for some wind-down time together, like reading a book and having a bath.
While it may not be possible every night, babies and toddlers who already sleep well at home generally have a higher chance of maintaining their healthy sleep patterns while away. However, if your child has recently started sleeping through the night or tends to be a more restless sleeper, it might require a bit more patience and flexibility.
While a few late nights are bound to happen while on holiday, it's important to note that babies and toddlers don't always adjust their waking time accordingly. If your child stays up past their usual bedtime, be prepared for potential crankiness the following day. After all, a sleep-deprived little one doesn't make for the most enjoyable travel companion.
To ensure a smoother journey, embrace the 80/20 rule. By keeping your baby or toddler's bedtime consistent 80% of the time while on holiday, you can mitigate the disruptions caused by occasional late nights. This approach helps maintain sleep stability and promotes a happier travel experience overall.
Traveling with kids requires strategic flight time planning. Of course, this may not always be possible many long-haul flights depart overnight. But if traveling short-haul it will make life a little easier if you try and sync flights with your child's awake or nap times. Opting for late-morning departures can make the journey more pleasant. Arriving a few hours before bedtime allows time to settle in, prepare their sleeping area, and wind down. Coordinate flight times with your child's schedule for a more relaxed and enjoyable travel experience.
It can be challenging to change up your little one's regular pajamas or sleep sacks, however if you’re traveling to a different climate just remember to dress your little one appropriately. If you’re heading to a tropical climate, remind yourself that it is ok to dress in either a short-sleeved bodysuit or even a nappy.
Instead of attempting an immediate adjustment to a new time zone, many parents prefer a gradual shift. Making small changes, such as going to bed an hour later or waking up slightly earlier, can help you and your little one get back on track over a few days, avoiding major disruptions.
It can also be beneficial to anticipate the new time zone and begin shifting your baby's sleeping patterns before your trip. This proactive approach can greatly assist them in adapting to the upcoming schedule change.
By embracing a gentle transition, you can minimize the chances of unsettling your child while ensuring a smoother adjustment to the new time zone.
When all else fails...
In situations where your baby or toddler is struggling to sleep according to plan, it's alright to consider alternative approaches that you may not typically use at home. Whether it involves rocking or nursing your baby to sleep or allowing your toddler to join you in bed, these options can provide temporary relief. However, keep in mind that you might need to revisit your sleep training once you return to your normal routine.
Remember, each child and circumstance is unique, and sometimes flexibility is necessary to ensure everyone gets the rest they need.
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