Travel Sleep Tips for Babies & Toddlers

Are you looking forward to vacation but worried that your great sleeper will regress while you’re away? Here are a few tips to be mindful of, wherever you are headed:

  • Make certain that your child is well rested with a regular nap and bedtime schedule before you head out of town. If you’re traveling through more than one time zone, it’s helpful to make some adjustments to your sleep schedule before you leave.
  • Hotels have a limited number of cribs. If you’re not taking your own crib, make sure that you call ahead to reserve one well in advance of your vacation week.
  • Book sleep-friendly accommodations. A separate room in a house or an adjoining hotel room is ideal. If you plan on room sharing, improvise by bringing along a portable coat rack and hang a blanket or dark sheet from it to create a room divider.
  • Create a vacation sleep environment similar to what your child has at home. Pacifiers, blankies, toys, loveys, bedtime books, bring them all! Don’t forget your child’s favorite pajamas and sheets, along with the night light and sound machine.
  • Although vacations aren’t meant to be rigid and structured, try to stick to your child’s nap and bedtime schedule. Allow for plenty of downtime and plan your excursions between naps. You’ll have a happier child rather than a wired, tired child that challenges you at night.
  • If you know that you’re going to miss a nap, aim for an early bedtime. If you know you’re going to be out past your child’s normal bedtime, be sure to get the nap in that day. Either way, don’t panic! If you’ve established healthy sleep habits before leaving town, it won’t take long to get back on schedule when you return.
  • Build in a day or two of cushion on the back end to provide plenty of time to get back on track before you really have to be back on a regular schedule.

Last but not least, relax and enjoy. It’s meant to be a vacation!