Travel Tips - Part 1
Travelling with Little Ones.
With the easing of lockdown and the school holidays underway I thought it would be a good idea to give you my top tips for travelling with babies and little ones. If you have worked with me in the past and your children are now sleeping well and on a good schedule you may be fearful that a trip away will derail all the progress they have made and cause you to have to start all over again. Sometimes the mere thought of it frightens parents so much that they cancel all trips and just vow to stay home until the child leaves for Uni !!!
The good news is that you do not have to cancel all travel plans and confine yourself to the house for the rest of your child’s life. It is possible to have children who travel really well, if you keep a few things in mind:
The biggest mistake parents can make is to over-schedule themselves. Trying to pack in all the fun and adventure they might normally have had back in their “child-free” days, forgetting an important fact: They have a child now.
An occasional car nap or slightly later bedtime probably isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your baby spends a couple of days taking car seat naps here and there and having late bedtimes, she may become so overtired that by the time bedtime rolls around on day two, she has a complete meltdown and seems to “forget” all her sleep skills and just cries the house down.
If that happens, you might start to get very nervous because (a) your baby, who has been happily chatting herself to sleep for weeks, is now crying again, and (b) your mother-in-law is standing outside the door repeatedly asking you if you’re sure the baby is okay. You may start to give into this pressure and bend your expectations for your baby’s sleep. It’s easy to see how you could gave in to this pressure and fear.
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 at home. 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.
Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket and unwashed sheets from their bed can really help too as the smell is familiar! Most hotels and accommodation will offer cots for under 2s but sometimes the familiarity of your own travel cot brought from home will make the adjustment more seamless for your little one.
If your child is 6 months or older, my advice is to try to make some sort of a private space for your baby to sleep. This could be the bathroom (if it’s big enough) or anywhere that you can build some sort of a partition between you and your baby, so that if he has a wake up in the middle of the night he is not so excited to see his two favourite people that he ends up wide awake thinking it’s play time! Of course, getting an extra bedroom for your child is the best solution but if that is simply not an option, a travel washing line and pegs to hang up a sheet as a makeshift partition can really help.
Travel Tips - Part 2 coming soon with tips for handling time changes and jet lag.
Safe travels and sleep well x