Well… you’re here… you’ve actually remembered your underwear – TRIUMPH! That’s right, you have managed to pack everything you need for the family … including packing for yourself! But the reality as we head away, whether it may be to a tropical holiday, to see family, or taking the kids on a work trip, it isn’t easy; because once you have packed and survived the flight (more on that later this week!), you then are longing for a good sleep and wondering if your children will even sleep in this new hotel!
I recently took my 8.5-month daughter to Florida from British Columbia, Canada. I was nervous, because even though I am a sleep coach for babies and toddlers, I had never had her in a hotel before – let alone for 5 nights! She sleeps over at grandmas and great granny’s often but hotels have that looming fear of grumpy neighbors. So here are some tips I gathered… you’ve worked hard for your child’s sleep victories, so let’s do our best to keep moving forward and enjoy this vacay!
Create their own space
When they are suddenly thrown into a room with the rest of the family, it can make it hard to get to sleep with new sounds and lights (mama has to unpack and have a glass of wine to unwind kid!). The best thing is for them to have their own room when traveling, and to spend time in there before bed time so they know that it is safe.
If they can’t have their own room, then create their own space. See if the bathroom is big enough or a walk-in closet. If these types of spaces aren’t available, don’t worry!! Resurrect your fort building skills and put them to good use!
While we were away, we were able to put the portable crib between the bed and the dark curtain, hanging a sheet from the top of the curtain and over the crib allowed her to feel like it was a room rather than feeling like she was in a wide open space. When you go to bed, turn the sheet over a bit to keep the fresh air circulating. (using the “fort” idea is only applicable if the portable cot has mesh or open sides, ventilation is key!)
Avoid the Angries!
I get it! You’re away from home, you’ve paid a lot of money to be here and so you want to enjoy yourself. Well, in all honesty if you can keep baby well slept you will have a much better time. When babies are overtired and over stimulated they can become angry and for sure find it harder to fall asleep! That is right, you heard me – the more tired they are, the harder it is to sleep!
So keep to your original routine as much as possible, if they are having multiple naps per day, try have some of them in their crib in the hotel – pack the monitor and enjoy!
When your child is at home, they are use to having their things in their crib. He may like to have his blanket in bed, a certain sleep sack, or maybe there is a sheepskin or a white noise machine. Packing these items will reassure baby that everything is ok and they can go to sleep without worrying.
Avoid the rib kicking kid
If they usually have their own crib, then do this! It’s tempting to just say “she can just sleep in my bed” … nope. It will mean less sleep for you having a child there when you aren’t use to it, and boy can they kick! Even though baby might love it, it can set their back in their sleep habits. It can make transitioning home harder and is very confusing for the child. It isn’t fair to give them one game plan and then switch back and forth. Don’t move the goal posts!
You will be surprised by how well you baby responds when they are given the tools they need to thrive. These were the keys to success for my baby girl getting great sleep – and that meant I got great sleep! Going away is always fun, and the memories are for life, so embrace the stage your child is in and NAP HARD, PLAY HARD!