Since my husband is in school right now, we’ve had a lot of time to travel this year (hello, spring break!), which also means we’ve had lots of nights away from our own beds.
Over the last six months, we’ve picked up some secrets to helping our two little girls sleep pretty well even when we’re in a strange place or all sharing a room together.
If you’re heading out on vacation this summer, hopefully these tricks will help you too!
#1: Try to stick to a regular bedtime
It’s tempting on vacation to keep your kids up late so you can keep doing fun stuff, but this always backfires on us when our children are cranky for days afterward. Better to go to bed early and have happy kids all week.
#2: Give them some privacy
Even if we’re all sleeping in one room, we try to arrange things so our children aren’t looking directly at us from their crib (because it’s HARD for my girls to go back to sleep if they wake up too early and can see us two feet away). Whether it’s opening a closet door to create a partial barrier or putting the crib behind a chair or couch, even a little bit of privacy for them makes a big difference!
#3: The first night is the most important!
Every time we travel, my girls put up a bit of resistance the first night, just to see how we respond. We’ve learned to let them whimper a little that first night (usually 2 minutes or less!) and then they go right to bed every night after that. But the times where we’ve rushed to comfort them on the first night, we end up spending up to an hour each evening trying to get them to go down.
#4: Let them sleep on the go
Chances are, your child isn’t getting as much sleep on vacation as normal or they’re way more active than usual. If they drift off in the car or stroller, let them have a little sleep to catch up. They’ll probably still sleep fine at night!
#5: Keep your regular bedtime routine
Even though you’re in a new place, try to keep other things the same. If you read a book, sing a song, and then tuck them in with a pacifier and special blanket at home, do the same thing on vacation so they know it’s still the same thing as normal, even if the room or crib looks a little different.
#6: Pack a sound machine!
We swear by our sound machine and don’t leave home without it. Our girls know it signals bedtime and it helps make it feel the same as at home. Plus, in a small room, it means we can move around a little without waking them up and the outside sounds of people, traffic, or other noises they aren’t used to don’t wake them up.