It’s that time of year again – time for trips to the zoo or the water park, for Disney World and family reunions. Yep, it’s summer vacation time! We all need a change of scenery and some well-deserved rest and relaxation, but when you’re traveling with young children, getting them settled into sleep in a new place can be a challenge that leaves you needing a vacation from your vacation.
These 6 hacks for parents can help you decrease the sleep issues that kids experience due to changes in routines and environment, allowing the whole family to be well-rested and able to get the most out of their time away from home.
Tip #1: Set the mood with white noise
Ambient sounds from white noise machines have been shown to help people of all ages to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. But who wants to lug a gazillion electronics around with them on vacay? Create the same effect with a free white noise machine app on your smart phone, or turn on a portable fan or humidifier that’s already laying around. Boom – the perfect sleepy time environment!
Tip #2: Keep them snug with DIY bed rails
Making toddlers feel safe and sound in a “big person” bed is a snap with bed rails, but who remembers to bring the ones from home while traveling? Use rolled up towels or extra pillows stuffed under the fitted sheet to create the same feeling of a safe space. You’ll feel better knowing that your kiddo isn’t going to roll out of bed, and they’ll feel as snug as a bug in a rug.
Tip #3: Turn any room into a dark room
There can be times during a vacation when a siesta is in order, but the little ones have trouble getting the picture that it’s nap time since it’s still light outside and there is more fun to he had. Black-out curtains were made for times like these, and the good news is that you can achieve the same effect without power tools. Simply tape up some black plastic garbage bags over the windows, and voila! You’ve got a room that encourages daytime napping and discourages early rising – without ticking off hotel staff or your relatives by drilling holes in their walls.
Tip #4: Help them catch some Zs on the go
If you’re out and about with an overtired (and cranky) little one, a nap can seem like a gift from heaven. Help lull them to sleep with their own personal sleep cave – just toss a blanket over their stroller or car seat to keep them out of the sun and ready to snooze.
Tip #5: Cut down on nighttime potty issues
Middle of the night bathroom trips can be a nightmare for young ones. They’re confused by the new environment, and might not even know how to get to the bathroom. All of this adds up to more potty accidents during the night. Don’t panic! Try “double making” the bed for an added layer of protection for the mattress, as well as extra ease of changing the sheets for you. Just add another layer of sheets on top of the one that is already there. If an accident happens, it’s a simple matter of stripping off the top layer and getting your kiddo back to bed.
Tip #6: Bring a little bit of home with you
New places can seem overwhelming to children, and that feeling can keep them from being able to fall asleep. Bring some familiar bedtime items
along for the trip, such as their favorite stuffed animal, book, or blanket to help them feel more at home.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will help your vacation seem a little bit more like a vacation! Have any hacks of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section.