Traveling with kids can often be a stressful event for parents but, here are ten tips to make the whole trip fun for the family.
1) Plan, plan, plan. If you didn't plan trips before having kids, it's time for that to change. Having a plan reduces the headache of trying to figure out things on the go. Know where to eat or what to bring for snacks, plan nap times or down time, and bring things for entertainment.
2) Have a plan for when things don't go as planned! Stock snacks, games, books, or a mobile device so there are activities if your well thought out plan becomes derailed.
3) Don't over-schedule your family. Kids (and parents!) need down time. That's the whole point of a vacation, right?? Make sure there is a slower rest day among activity filled days. A half day of board games or baking makes for great rest-day activities that include an afternoon nap too. Having a rest day will reduce crankiness for everyone!
4) If you are traveling abroad, pack your known brand of child medications to reduce the stress of finding a suitable medication in a different country.
5) Limit sweets. Along with different schedules and places to sleep, eating too many sweets will make kids cranky and hyper. It's vacation time but be sure to set limits too! If there has been a day with a lot of sugar, make the next day a sugar-free day.
6) Have family quiet time before heading out for the day. If the day starts out hectic, then it will probably continue to be hectic! Or at least schedule some downtime during the day.
7) Bring along a familiar stuffed animal for your kiddo to sleep with or their own sheets and blanket, if possible. Having familiar smells and feelings help calm their brains for sleeping.
8) Keep your child’s bedtime routine the same as it is at home. A consistent pattern will help them know when it’s time to sleep and provide a feeling of security.
9) If your child is sensitive to lights and sounds while sleeping, be sure to make a space for them that's dark. Setting up a blanket tent can help block out lights and other stimulating sights. Use a fan to block out noise so that unfamiliar sounds don't keep them up!
10) If you’re traveling across different time zones, adjust to that time zone right away with nap and bedtimes. Don’t be surprised if it takes about seven days to adjust, that’s normal. Be sure to get sunlight in the morning to help wake up the body and adjust your body clock.
Having a successful vacation includes coming home feeling rested! Make sleep a priority when traveling to help reduce crankiness and hyper-activity for your kids. Safe travels!
Along with being a sleep coach, Courtney Landin is a Family Health Coach who focuses on exercise, nutrition, and sleep to help families create balance in busy lives. You can also find her at www.LivingHealthyHappy.com for mama and family training, and nutrition ideas and consultations.
If you need more information about helping your baby sleep, use the Happy Sleeping Baby book which has everything you need to know about sleep! Learn more here.
You can also the Parent Resources page for sample schedules and more tips to help your kiddo sleep! Or Contact Us here for more personalized support. We're here to help!