We recently went on a 3 day weekend vacation to the beautiful Dardanelle, Ca. The weekend was spent exploring, fishing, cooking over the campfire, spending time with family, and getting some much needed unplugged rest time. Since Abigail has just begun sleeping in a big girl bed, it wasn’t likely that I would get her to sleep in the portable crib. The first night was mildly difficult because she was so excited and distracted that asking her to go to sleep took a little convincing. The biggest issue was that mommy and daddy were going to be right outside that camper with the rest of the adults. This cause a little “FOMO” but she quickly got over it when I gave her a new contingency “If you get up or yell, you will have to sleep in the crib.” Fortunately we had enough beds in our RV to give her her own special space just like at home. We set up her space with her white noise machine, toddler alarm clock, and all of her familiar blankets and stuffed animals. We kept the routine similar; bath, PJs, milk and a short movie, kissed her head and sent to her to sleep. Nap and night two were a complete success after the initial questions and excitement of night one.
I get a lot of questions regarding how to manage sleep while on the road. The following are my tips to great sleep while on vacation with toddlers:
Routine: Keep your routine as consistent as possible. The routine is actually used as an indicator that sleep is coming, they are more likely to respond to you if you follow your normal flow of things; bath, book, bed.
With very small children, it is best to keep the normal bedtime as their bodies are designed to go to bed at a certain time, if you let them get overtired, sleep can become extremely difficult if not impossible!
I often suggest that clients keep a scent in their child’s room. This can be in the form of a spray,or oil diffuser. This is assists in making things familiar so the child can drift into sleep without feeling shocked by a new environment.
Always keep the room dark, use white noise, and keep the room at a cool but not cold temperature.
Time change: If there is a time change, I recommend going cold turkey. Do your best to keep the same times for sleep, but use the new time zone time. As for going back to your normal time zone, you would use the same method of just going for it!