?With the holiday season fast approaching?, vacations and travel can present some challenges to families with young children.? The best way to handle any travel plans is to try and keep your schedule and routines as close to your usual as you can.
If you are jetting off to your destination?, early morning flights are best for most young children. After a good night’s sleep, they are generally happier and ready to take on the day!
Now whether you are jetting off to NFLD or simply driving through the Rocky Mountains, try as much as possible to make your travel itinerary work with your usual nap times throughout the day. Allowing your little ones to sleep at the times they usually do makes things easier for everyone. It is a lot easier for a baby or young toddler to fall asleep and have a more peaceful rest (even on the plane or in the car seat), when it is done at their usual times and in line with their own pre programmed body clock. Pushing past naptimes too much causes overtiredness, which can then turn into a restless 2yr old who isn’t able to calm down and sleep like he usually does. I’m sure we all agree that if at all possible, we would all prefer to avoid the seemingly never ending tantrum at 40 000ft all the way across the country! Trust me on this one, it’s not a whole lot of fun for anyone, especially the child in question. Bringing along your child’s “lovey” can also be quite helpful and highly recommended. It’s an item that your baby or toddler associates with comfort and sleep so in my eyes it’s as important as your toothbrush! ?
Then there’s the time change. ? The length of time you will be gone for, and how much of a time change you are dealing with, are the two things that will determine the best way to handle it. If you are only going away for the weekend, and going back in time 1 hour, don’t change anything. Stick to your schedule in your home time zone. Now if you’re heading east for a month, a little change might be necessary.
Let’s do a 3 hr time zone change with an 18 month old as an example. 1 week prior to leaving, I would start making a gradual shift in schedule. I would start with 30 mins. So If bedtime is normally 8pm MT, I would move it to 7:30. Then do the same with naptime. I would stick with this new time for 3-4 days to allow for his body clock to adjust. Then add another half hour, making bedtime 7pm until it is time to leave. This slow gradual change allows for the body to adjust to the new time, not causing any major disruptions.
Now once you get to your destination, your little one who is now on a 7pm MT bedtime schedule, will now be set to go to bed at 10 PM AST. I would continue to make the gradual switch until you are comfortable with a bedtime that works for you during your holiday. As long as your little one gets his usual 11-12 hrs of nighttime sleep and a nap during the day, all should go relatively smoothly!
☄Now remember that remaining consistent with all things surrounding bedtime is VERY IMPORTANT!☄ Boundaries get tested no matter where you are. Sleeping in a different environment can be a bit challenging for some children. If you remain consistent and keep bedtime non-negotiable just as you would at home, continuing to allow your little one to fall asleep independently, within just a few short days things will go just fine. Changing the way you do things like allowing your little one to sleep with you when you normally would not, can be very confusing to a child. It can definitely be the cause for some unnecessary bedtime battles to begin, and the last thing anyone really wants while away on vacation.?
If things do fall apart a bit while you were away, try not to worry too much. However it is important to get back on track once you get home again. You can expect a few rough nights, but it shouldn’t take long for your child to understand that you are at home again and to remember the rules surrounding sleep at your house.
If you just got back from holidays and things just aren’t going back to normal, or planning to travel in the next few weeks,  I can help. Book your free 15 min call with me today and we can get started right away! https://www.timetrade.com/book/WBVGH