Navigating your baby's sleep this holiday season

By Tara Mitchell (The Gentle Sleep Specialist)

As the holiday season approaches, the excitement of travel often comes hand in hand with a touch of uneasiness, especially for parents traveling with their young ones.
Whether it's your first journey or you are a seasoned adventurer, traveling with children might require some adjustments, but it's also an incredible opportunity to create beautiful memories.

Prioritize Restful Naps

During travels, our schedules tend to be a bit more packed. However, I always encourage prioritizing at least one nap in your child's sleep space, for example, a porta cot whenever possible. If you can focus on nap one or two being in their sleep space so that they have the opportunity for better quality sleep, that is great. If your babe is only on one nap, then where possible, offering this nap in their sleep space would be ideal. This will not only allow for easier days but also will help to keep their nights on track.

Take It Easy

Rush is the thief of joy. Plan your schedule with some breathing space, allowing for those slower moments or delays that can make the entire trip more enjoyable. Rush can really impact us and our little ones. Be mindful that our toddlers won’t usually communicate by saying things like “I feel exhausted or overwhelmed,” “I would love a day to just be at home,” or “We are always rushing.” Instead, you may start to notice big emotions, tricky bedtimes, pushback, irritability. Having a little time to play in the place you are staying before you attempt to put your little ones down can help to familiarize them and settle them in quicker.

Balancing Bedtimes and Late-Night Plans

When it comes to bedtime, sticking to your child's usual routine or placing them down around their usual awake time can aid in ensuring everyone is well-rested for the adventures ahead. Don't hesitate to enjoy a late dinner or an evening out. You can offer a late nap, an extra nap, or just get your babe to sleep however you can when out and about, then a gentle transfer into their sleep space when you get home. If your babe has a later night or less overall night sleep, they may benefit from a little less awake time before nap one the following day.

Toddler-Specific Guidance

For toddlers, maintaining bedtime boundaries can foster a sense of security. If your toddler is accustomed to sleeping in their own space, continuing this practice while traveling can prevent potential challenges upon returning home. However, if they need more support for the first day or so after you arrive, you can increase your comfort to help them adjust.

Comfort and Familiarity from Home

Familiar items from home can work wonders in easing transitions during the holidays. Whether it's their favorite blanket, their Riff Raff Sleep Toy, comforting white noise, or familiar sleeping items, bringing these along can create a sense of security in a new environment.

Embracing Confidence and Consistency

Confidence plays a pivotal role in your child's ability to adjust to a new sleep space. Stay consistent with bedtime routines and approaches; your calm and confident energy will reassure your little one that they're safe and it's time to rest. Every child may react differently to new environments. Offering small verbal reassurances or gentle in-cot comforts can help ease your child into their usual sleep routine. Remember, it's about gradual adjustment and offering support as needed.

So with all of that said, happy travels and big love x The Gentle Sleep Specialist

Feel free to reach out.
Tara x