← Go back Ways to Avoid Tired, Cranky Kids While on Vacation
Published on Friday, March 11, 2016 by

Travelling with children can be a challenge at times, but travelling with tired and cranky children can be … well, let’s just say you should try to avoid it! That doesn’t mean you have to cancel all trips and confine yourself to the house for the rest of your child’s life – it’s possible to have children who travel well, if you keep a few things in mind:

1. Don’t over-schedule yourselves. Trying to pack in all the fun and adventure you might have had time for back in your “child-free” days is a recipe for disaster. If you’re doing so much that there’s no time for your child to rest between, they’ll likely be hard to deal with during all these activities, taking the fun out of it for everyone.

2. Respect your child’s schedule. While an occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, avoid making this the norm while on holidays. Your child may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around they are unable to settle themselves and fall asleep. Late bedtimes don’t result in late rising (unfortunately) so that is sleep lost for your child and can be very hard to make up while on vacation.

3. Avoid bed sharing whenever possible. If you don’t currently co-sleep with your child this will most likely result in a very disruptive sleep for everyone in the bed. Most hotels have a crib you can use or rent, or take your pack n’ play along and use that as a crib. Plus, even if it’s only for a few nights, if your baby decides the bed is their new preferred location, you could find it hard getting your child back in their own crib or bed when you return home. If your child is eight months or older, try to make some sort of a private space for them to sleep. This could be the bathroom or the closet (if they’re big enough). That way, if they wake in the middle of the night they aren’t so excited to see their favourite people that they end up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is great if that’s an option for you.

4. Bring something from home. Whether it’s their favourite stuffed animal or blanket, or simply their crib sheet, having items that are familiar is comforting for children sleeping in a new environment. These items will ensure they have an easier time falling asleep at naps and bedtime, and will soothe them back to sleep should they wake in the night.

5. Don’t bend your rules. It’s very normal for babies and toddlers to test the boundaries around sleep when they are somewhere new. Just because the rule is the rule at home, that does not necessarily mean the rule is the same at Grandma’s house. This may mean that your baby cries for some time at bedtime or has a night waking or two. The best way to handle it is to not do too much different than you would if the regression happened at home. You can go in every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Kathryn Wood is a Certified Sleep Sense Consultant. She provides parents with the knowledge to teach their children to become healthy sleepers. For more information www.sleepstars.ca

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