Vacation Tips for the Sleep Loving Parent

With summer quickly approaching, I have been getting a lot of questions about how to keep your kiddo’s sleep on track during vacations and other times when schedules are unpredictable. Here are my best tips to keep you all sleeping this summer!

  1. Give it two weeks. If you are thinking about sleep coaching, make sure you have at least a solid two weeks at home to get your sleep routine down before any vacations or big events where consistency will be difficult. The more set your child is in their good sleep habits, the easier they will carry over into other settings and situations.
  2. Bring all of your gear. When we travel, we bring all the goods. The sound machine, the mattress pad, our own fitted sheets, and the sleep sack. We even bring the diffuser and lavender oil (I’m a little crazy). It definitely helps to better create that familiar sleeping environment, even when you are in an unfamiliar place!
  3. Offer sleep. Try to stick to a loose schedule. When you’re on vacation, you may not always be in your hotel room at nap time. If you know that you are getting towards the end of your baby’s wake time and they would normally take a nap, put them in the carrier or stroller and cover them the best you can. See if they will fall asleep. Or if you are hanging around your room, try to put your baby down at their usual nap time. It may not happen, but you are providing the opportunity for them to keep a loose schedule. This will help prevent overtiredness and help you get back into your schedule more easily once you get home!
  4. Don’t stress. As best you can, try to roll with the punches and enjoy your vacation. When I took my son to Mexico at 9 months old, I was absolutely terrified by what the vacation would do to his routine. He surprised me in the best way with how well he slept and how he did with his schedule! I wish I had not been so anxious and chilled out a little about things I didn’t even need to worry about. Yes, your child’s sleep will probably get a little mixed up no matter what you do, but you are there to enjoy yourself!
  5. Get right back to it. When you get home, no excuses. That same night get right back into the usual routine. If you don’t, a vacation can end up creating a host of bad sleep habits and sleep props. After a vacation, it may feel like a mini sleep coaching experience for a night or two. Armed with that knowledge, just stick it out and know that your reward is good quality, reliable sleep habits for months and years to come!

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I’m Katelyn,
Award-winning pediatric sleep consultant, child development expert, and most importantly, wife and mom.
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