Although we all look forward to our summer holidays, trips away with a young family can seem daunting. We won't even get into the amount of luggage you need. (How does one does one little person need so much?!)
It can be an anxious time wondering how your child will respond to a new environment. With our top tips you can make the most of your time away.
1. If you're using a travel cot, make sure your child is familiar with it before you go. It can be unsettling for a young child to be in an unfamiliar environment and a different cot. Trial it for a few days at home before you leave.
2. Pack some items your child associates with sleep time. If they have a particular toy, or blanket, bring this with you. This will be particularly helpful if you're hiring a cot and can't try it out before you go. If you play certain music before bed, read the same story, or your child needs a black out blind, keep all those things the same.
3. If you're travelling in a different time zone, get your child onto the new timings as soon as possible. Make sure they are up to start the day at their normal time and don't let them have too much day time sleep to compensate for a bad night. Children usually cope better with jet lag than adults, so meal times and naps should get back to normal schedule as much as possible.
4. Daylight helps our bodies to regulate time and makes us feel sleepy at bedtime. This is especially important if you're travelling long haul. If you arrive during the day time but its night time back home, get up and go for a walk. The daylight will help the body's release of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy) to coincide with a new bedtime.
5. Try to keep a consistent bedtime routine. This doesn't mean you can't go out in the evening but once you are ready to say goodnight put your child in their buggy and use a black out shade to encourage them to have a sleep whilst you go out. Choose somewhere that involves a little walk to help them settle off. They may wake after a while, so go with the flow and if they don't drift back off consider it as a power nap. Let them enjoy a later evening with you and do your usual wind down routine when you get back to your accomodation.
6. Accept that things will be different. Your child may sleep well at home, but be disrupted on holiday. This doesn't mean you're back to square one. They may need a bit of help adjusting, but do what you can to keep their sleep on track and have faith that things will return to normal when you get home!
7. Finally, when you do come home, get back into normal habits straight away. You know what your child is capable of and, if they have been unsettled on holiday, feel confident that your child is back in a familiar environment and they now know what to expect. They'll be back in their usual routine before you know it.
This is a guest post, brought to you by Katie Palmer, Infant Sleep Consultant.