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Holiday Travel, Kids & The Sleep Juggle

Summer holidays and travel are upon us! And it can be stressful thinking about travel plans and the impact on the little one's sleep. Especially if they have a fairly structured routine at home, you may be tempted to try and keep to that to make sure the night's work - but when travelling and it doesn't go to plan then can heighten our stress so often these routines do need to sway a bit.


And it may start with just the travelling to the airport. You may have a super early flight, or you may have a long journey to the airport to begin with! So here are some tips on how to manage that.

  • Early Flights - this is where a lift & shift approach from bed to car/taxi works well. Now - depending on their age may be the influence as to whether they go back down or not! Toddlers and above? May then be more awake, aware of where they are going and excitement kicks in! Game is up the pole at that point but that is ok - we work it into the day! If they dose back off - added bonus!

Then we get to the Airport, and it's busy - with a lot of hustle and bustle. So they may also find it hard to shut off at this point even in a buggy. The good news is though, the vibrations of the plane engine can almost bring a familiar sound of a car and act as some white noise, and often can help the little one's drift off!

Once you have landed, depending on your transfer mode (cat/taxi/bus/coach) may be another opportunity for sleep!

Long Car Journeys

If you have a long journey by car/coach to your destination - this can also worry parents if they sleep too long in the car! Do be mindful of the recommended duration for little one's to be in the car seat in one go, and plan your stops in to help that. Planning to leave for your trip at naptime can work well ahead of any stops in between!

Also - if your trip is over a long period of driving, consider is it worth stopping half way for a night stay before moving on again? This may be good for parent's who are driving too!

Where They Sleep

Ahead of your holiday, I'd recommend thinking about what the sleep set up is. If little one is still in a cot - I'd recommend getting in contact with the hotel/air b&b/caravan etc to ask if this is something they can provide.

Under the age of 2.5 they cognitively don't yet understand the concept of staying in bed - so if you are trying this for the first time, you may expect a mix of excitement or jumping in and out of bed etc!

If little one is in a bed or will be for the first time, a portable Bed Guard can make this a lot easier! Many sleep spaces in hotels are high beds, and hard floors. You can buy compact bed guards which fit in your suitcase to take with you (Smyths £24.99). Just remember to repack it for coming home - we left ours once in Greece!

Out and About & Sleep

Routines will need to be more flexible, and yes you'll find it's more than likely that naps will be on the go, and in the buggy, sun loungers or where ever suits! If you are in the room/caravan, let that happen too but don't be focused on staying room trapped if you don't have to.

Buggy naps can be great - and I highly recommend the SnoozeShade! One of the BEST baby/toddler items we have ever had - it still works a dream for my 2.5 year old when needed! They are air permeable, breathable and protect from the UV rays. As well as allows them to shut off their busy minds for a good day sleep. Top tip - you can also pop some white noise on your phone and pop this in the back of the buggy to help shut out noises! You can grab 10% off yours here -

Remember, the sun, swimming or activities etc will tire them out! If they need that extra nap before dinner - let it happen! They'll likely be up later than usual anyway, and get to enjoy the evening with you as well. Even if they don't nap anymore, or recently cut it - still let them get that nap in! It will be needed otherwise with all the heat and excitement they'll likely be overtired, and make the nights worse!

But I've just made big changes to my little one's sleep? Will this backfire?

This is a question I get asked often! And yes, routines and timings and places where they sleep will change. But if you've worked hard on establishing new rhythms, keep these consistent at the times you are settling them in their sleep space! The key is not to go backwards again where you can - but some things may be out of whack and needing extra reassurance. Spend that time getting it all back on track when you get home.

We have a holiday planned - is it worth making changes to sleep before that?!

YES. Please don't delay the chance to solve your sleep challenges, it is a long time to be sleep deprived. As mentioned above, things may change slightly but you'll have a plan in place on how to get back on track even if it does! If you are looking for support in this - you can contact me here to find solutions for your challenges.

This is the most important bit - Yes sleep is important. But try not let it overrule the holiday. You have worked hard to pay for it - and you all deserve to enjoy it!

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