Guest post by Sarah Cummings of SleepAdvisor
8 Ways to Get Restful Sleep When Traveling With Kids
Life can be complicated. It’s already difficult enough getting enough sleep on a day to day basis before we bring children into this world.
The average American needs between 7-8 hours each night to function correctly the next day. This is a number that drastically changes when we have children, because their sleep needs are so much greater than ours.
As if it’s not complicated enough to wrangle our entire family and get everyone on the same daily schedule, we will at some point end up going on a family vacation or a business trip that the kids tag along on.
Here are 8 ways to get restful sleep when traveling with kids:
1. Invest in Noise Cancelling Headphones or a White Noise Machine.
Your kids are going to be excited to be in a new place, a new bed, and a new city. They may be scared to be away from the familiar comforts of home. But they may also be super excited as well.
Don’t be surprised if they want to stay up all night, jump on the bed, giggle, cry, tell ghost stories, or do a ton of other things that will disrupt your sleep.
Invest in noise-cancelling headphones so that at least you can sleep peacefully. Or a white noise machine that will drown out the children for all of the adults present.
You can also try a spa or sleep soothing noises machine that should put everyone in a more relaxed mood and have the entire family dozing off in no time at all.
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2. Buy a Cooling Pillow
When traveling, you’re often in cities that are hotter than yours. Many times these cities don’t have central air-conditioning in their homes or hotels.
Bring along a cooling pillow so that you can be sure to have a restful place to put your head that will keep you the right temperature to have a peaceful sleep all night long.
If you’re unsure about which cooling pillow to buy, here’s a helpful list of options from SleepAdvisor.
3. Keep a Strict Bedtime Schedule, even on Vacation
If your kids are used to going to bed at 8 each night, vacation is not the time to let them stay up until midnight. Even if it’s more convenient for you.
There are already enough factors that are different about the location. These include hotel, beds, pillows, and even things like temperature and altitude.
The best thing that you can do for your family when traveling with kids is to make sure you keep the things consistent that you have control over.
4. Keep Busy during the Day so You can Sleep at Night
A lot of times people coddle their children on vacation and make sure to get in daily naps or not overwhelm them.
Although naps may be a good idea for the younger children, don’t let your child sleep all day.
Besides, it’s a waste of a perfectly good sightseeing and educational opportunity.
Try to keep your children busy during the day so they have no trouble sleeping at night.
If you’re looking for suggestions of kid friendly ideas, see this sample itinerary for a Paris trip with a toddler, from Marcie in Mommyland.
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5. Buy, Rent, or Reserve Extra Beds
If you know your kids are going to need their own beds and you are one bed short, fix it. Rather than combining people into one bed and having everyone be uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to get the proper sleeping arrangements.
Bring an air mattress, buy a spare crib, or reserve extra beds from your hotel depending on the scenario and the ages of the children. You’ll definitely appreciate having the correct accommodations and it will be worth every penny in the long run.
6. Bring Comfort Items for the Kids
Make sure to pack whichever items they can’t do without at night. This could be a favorite bedtime story, teddy bear, baby blanket, or doll.
Your kids will feel much more comfortable having that little piece of home with them wherever they go.
7. Think Ahead and Be Prepared for Anything
As a mom, you probably always carry a huge bag filled with everything. Moms carry things from hand sanitizer and band-aids to bug spray and extra socks.
Keep this trend up when traveling with kids and add in some other items that might be necessary for the hotel room.
Huffington Post suggests to bring some black garbage bags in case you need to cover the windows to keep light out.
8. Prepare your Child for Time Differences, Gradually.
If you know that you’re going somewhere that’s 8 hours ahead, start a few weeks early.
You can start moving bedtime up an hour each night until it’s really close to what it’s going to be a day or two before the trip.
It will make an easier adjustment all around, for your children, and for you. Here’s a few more tips from WhattoExpect.com on how to prepare your baby for jet lag when traveling with kids.
Life’s about the journey and not the destination. With these sleeping tricks for the whole family, you’ll make sure to enjoy these precious vacations and the memories that come with them, instead of being tired and cranky on your entire trip.
More Tips for Traveling with Kids
Oahu Travel Hacks + Budget Tips for Families
Summer Family Travel Tips from The National Children’s Cancer Society
How I (Mostly) Survive Family Travel with Little Kids
Top Baby Gear for Summer Travel
My Top Tips for Flying with a Baby