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Travelling with Children

Taking your little one on holiday can be an anxiety provoking time but also a magical time too! We know that often the holiday anxiety comes from how to manage your little ones sleep when you are away, and if there is anything specific you need to pack or prepare before you go.

 

Hopefully some of these tips will help with feeling a little more prepared and reassured so you can enjoy your holiday!

 

Consistency:

We would encourage you to keep your bedtime routine as consistent as possible leading up to your holiday and whilst you are away. Whether this is having a bath and reading a book before going to bed, or whatever your routine is at home, this will help your little one with their sleep cues. We don’t want you to feel stressed and pressured about keeping things consistent that you don’t enjoy your holiday or go out in the evenings, but dependant on the age of your little one, you could get them ready for bed and then bundle them up in their pram/pushchair so they can sleep whilst you enjoy a meal out.

 

What to pack:

If you’re little one has a favourite teddy, muslin, or dummy, then make sure you pack this and have it easily accessible for your journey, whether that is by car, train or plane! If you’re able to take a couple of favourites too then that’s a bonus just in case the worst happens and you lose one!

If your little one is used to a white noise machine then that’s an essential for packing, and certainly worth having if you are all sharing a room together! We would also encourage you to pack a travel black out blind too especially if you are going somewhere sunny! This will come in useful when your little one is napping in their room too.

If you are going away somewhere warm and sunny, we would suggest looking for a ‘snooze shade’ for the pushchair/pram with UV protection. This is something you can put over the pushchair/pram and will protect your little ones skin from the UV rays.

 

Check in advance:

It is worth checking in advance to see what equipment the accommodation has. Does it have a suitable cot/ bed guards, or do you need to take your own travel cot and bedding? If you are familiar with travelling frequently and your little one is used to sleeping in their travel cot, then it may be worth considering taking that if you can and have space! This may help with familiarity and is one less thing for them to have to get used to. If you do use the cot provided with the accomodation, you may choose to take your own cot sheet so that the smell is familiar to your little one!

 

Safe Sleep:

If you are traveling abroad or the weather is forecast to be hot, please be aware of the safe sleep guidelines in the heat.

For more information on this, please do check out the Lullaby Trust website: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/travel-and-weather/


Travel & Routines:

If it is at all possible to plan your travel around sleep or nap times, this then will help and may make things significantly less stressful! If you have a long haul flight, are you able to book an overnight flight, or look to travel at a time when your little one is due to nap so that they will be sleeping for the longest part of the journey?

If timings work then it is also worth getting your little one outside or allowing them time to crawl around/play before being in the car or on the flight. This will then ensure they are a little more settled during travel. Make sure they have a clean nappy on or have been to the toilet too, and also have plenty of snacks at the ready!

 

Time difference:

If you are travelling on holiday to a destination which is in a different time zone, you may want to do a little sleep prep before going. Depending on what time zone your holiday destination is in, and how long you are there for, this may influence how to manage their sleep:

  • If you are going somewhere where there is only a couple of hours difference, then you could tweak their routine as if the clocks are changing..so moving their meals and naps 15 minutes (backwards or forwards, depending on the time difference) every few days so they line up with your holiday destination’s time, a day or so before you go away.

  • If you are going on a long-haul flight, where there is a difference in the time zone, then it may be worth putting in a bit of prep before you go. You can start to alter your little ones routine a couple of weeks before you go away by either 15/30 minutes every few days (similar to the clock change), once you get away, then we would encourage you to monitor their wake windows but also keep them busy during the day and spend as much time outside as possible. If you have a very young baby, it may be that you choose to keep their sleep in the same time zone as home.

 

When home:

You may find that your little one becomes unsettled when they get home. Please don’t be concerned by this. Just continue to keep their routine as consistent as possible and allow time for them to resettle!


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