Parenthood Tips: Healthy Sleep For Tots On The Go

by Rachael Collier

Parents spend months (even years) establishing healthy sleep routines for their little ones. But summer travel plans can easily derail the sleep habits that keep moms and dads from frazzled nights. Before you hit the road, check out these tips to help your baby or toddler sleep well on the go:

  1. Don’t fear the night flight: When booking air travel, a night flight can actually be a good idea as your child is practically guaranteed to sleep. Steer clear of late afternoon/early evening “witching hour” flights that are bound to make your baby cranky while lining up through customs and security.

  2. The Gro Company Gro Anywhere Blind Blackout ShadBring blackout blinds: Whether you are staying with friends, family, or at a hotel, bring along blackout blinds to avoid enemies of sleep like sheer white curtains. A portable option like the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind will fit easily in your suitcase.

  3. Use hotel cribs safety: If you are going to use a hotel crib, call ahead to determine if the make and model are safe and no recalls have been issued on the product. You can also bring your own sheet, as some hotels simply fold adult-sized sheets over the crib mattress, which can make for unsafe loose bedding. This will also ensure the sheet is washed in baby-friendly detergent.
  4. Try to keep naps on schedule. Even if you are dealing with time zone changes, do your best to keep “wake windows” - the time awake between naps - consistent with your child’s regular routine.

  5. Use caution with medications: The idea of giving your little ones over the counter medication such as Gravol or Tylenol to keep them happy (and sleepy) may be tempting for some parents, but remember that these can have the opposite effect on your baby. You might also end up with a child who is groggy and unhappy, which is a bad combination, so still to only using meds when they are truly necessary. Never, ever give you child a medication for the first time on a flight in case they have an adverse reaction.
  6. Bring a white noise machine. Remember, you won’t have as much control over the sleeping environment as when you are at home, even if you are staying with family and friends. Avoid meltdowns when your in laws unload the dishwasher or your nephew cranks his favorite songs by using a white noise machine. By choosing an option like the HoMedics SoundSpa Portable Sound Machine that plugs in and has batteries, it can do double duty at home and on the road. Other parents swear by the Cloud B On-The-Go Sleep Sheep Travel Size Plush Sound Machine for soothing sounds in a cuddly package, and it kept my three month old snoozing all the way through security and customs on our way to an international flight!

  7. Consider a portable crib: Better yet, bring along your own crib for your tot. Options like the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib will last from newborn to age 3. Ease the transition by having your child get used to sleeping in the travel crib at home.

  8. Relax. Children are affected by anxiety around them, and if your blood pressure is rising because you are fretting that your little one won’t sleep, it will be that much more difficult to get them to unwind and drift off to dreamland. Accept that as hard as you try, there may be a missed nap or an earlier/later bedtime than usual here and there while you are traveling. Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for!

So parents, tell us what you would add to this list in the comments below!

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