Part 2: Before Take off
How does the phrase go? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? This is so true when it comes to holiday travel with young children. In this 2nd part of the blog series on sleep friendly travel I encourage you to plan AHEAD of landing at your holiday destination to set yourself up for sweet dreams.
Face it: it’s hard on your little one to be in a new bed in a new house. Make it slightly easier by limiting the number of moves your son or daughter has to make. Can you arrange a dedicated sleep space while you’re away? Is there an extra room where your child can sleep on his or her own? What kind of bed will your hosts or hotel have for your child and does it work well given what your child is used to? If not, consider brining your own pack n play or a safety rail to make the bed work for you.
Consider renting your own car so you can come and go on your own schedule. Preserving your child’s naps and reasonable bedtime may make all the difference between having a happy holiday and pulling your hair out, strand by strand. With your own wheels, you don’t have to cramp everyone else’s plans when your baby is desperate to go to bed, either.
Give family or friends a heads up about nap and bedtimes before you arrive or as soon as you can. Your hosts and the rest of the group may have a vision for the holiday - and letting them know that sleep is important may make it easier for the plans to accommodate your needs. At the very least, no one will be surprised if you and your baby aren’t available for mid afternoon capture the flag.
A last note: if you’re driving to your holiday destination plan your drive around naps. Getting in a good stretch of daytime sleep before facing adoring family and friends, busy meals, and new sleeping arrangements can help your child weather the fun and excitement better. And it may make for a smoother first night!