A frequent question regarding holidays with children is how their normal routine will be affected. We take a look at one aspect of that, sleeping on holiday, and how you can help your child adjust.
Should you Adjust your Child’s Routine on Holiday?
The question of adjusting your baby or child’s normal eating and sleeping timetable depends on where you are going, what your aims are for your holiday and your own knowledge of how adaptable your children are.
If you go to remote parts of Spain, for example, and wish to eat out you may find some restaurants don’t open until 8.30/9.00 and although you’ll see many Spanish children eating out late, if yours get very cranky when tired, then doing this every evening isn’t an option for you.
You could try giving your child lunchtime naps (and we all love a little lunchtime nap on holiday don’t we?) to keeping them going beyond their normal bedtime or perhaps make lunchtime your main meal. Or, consider booking in a more touristy area where the restaurants often adapt to their visitors from other climes and open earlier.
Coping with Jet Lag With Children On Holiday
The NHS in the UK suggest starting to amend your routine before you go by, for example, going to bed a little earlier or later depending on which way you are travelling. They also suggest getting plenty of fluid on the flight and starting to adjust to the new time scales when you arrive. You may have to slowly bring your child around to the new timetable an hour a day, and of course, how much adjustment they’ll need largely depends on how much sleep they manage to get on the aeroplane.
Sleeping in Unfamiliar Surroundings
Sleeping in unfamiliar surrounds can disturb children’s sleep patterns. You can create some familiarity by taking a bedtime companion, perhaps a favourite teddy to cuddle. A BabyAbroad reader made a fantastic suggestion; when travelling with her two year old, she took his favourite ‘hulk’ duvet cover which absolutely delighted him.
Creating a Dark Sleeping Environment
If your child is used to sleeping in the dark, you’ll need to try and recreate that on holiday; you don’t want them waking as soon as they first ray of glorious sunshine peeps through the window. Try and find out if your villa or hotel room has shutters as these are great. I have tried tin foil at the windows, but it wasn’t a good option. Any sun that found a gap was magnified across the room and from the outside we did look like we were trying to deflect alien messages. Try instead the Gro anywhere blackout blind. It adjusts to fit different window types (to max 135 x 200cms) to block out the sun. You can purchase the Gro anywhere blackout blind here with free delivery (opens in new window).
Sleeping in Pushchairs on Holiday
Generally you’ll probably find yourself out and about more on holiday and if you’re little one still naps, they’ll be getting cranky by tea time if they miss out. If you want them to be able to sleep in a pushchair, consider this black out pushchair cover from Snoozeshade. It has sun protection factor UPF50+ and is suitable for most prams, pushchairs, buggies and rear-facing car seats with hoods. It also has a zip at the front so you can peep in at your child which is very important for checking they aren’t over heating. You can buy the Snoozeshade here (opens in new window) and read the fabulous reviews it has from other parents.
Sleeping in the Car on Holiday
If you are going to be on long car journey or in and out of the car regularly consider a Travel Gro Bag to try and keep disturbance for your child to a minimum. The travel grobag can be used as per usual in a cot or cot bed but it is also suitable for use in a buggy or car seat as it can be closed around a 5 point harness or at the base of the grobag under the zip click as per normal. Go to the Gro Store for more information.
What are your thoughts?
We’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on getting children to sleep on holiday. Do you some tips to share, or was your experience a bleary eyed sleepless one? Share your comments below.
Photo courtesy of Treehouse1977 via flickr.com