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  • Writer's pictureAdela

Don't Let Your Child's Sleep Unravel Over Summer Holidays

Updated: Jan 25

There​ ​are​ ​two​ ​major​ ​impediments​ ​to​ ​your​ ​little​ ​one’s​ ​sleep​ ​over​ ​summer​ ​holidays: travel and family​-​friends.
Sleep Consultant Vancouver
Sleep Consultant Vancouver

Summer Holidays Throw a Big Wrench In Your Child's Sleep

With​ ​summer approaching,​ ​many​ ​new​ ​parents​ ​who​ ​have​ ​recently​ ​gotten​ ​their​ ​babies sleeping​ ​on​ ​a​ ​schedule​ ​are​ ​worried​ ​that​ ​they​ ​might​ ​regress​ ​a​ ​little​ ​over​ ​summer holidays. And​ ​I​ ​can​ ​assure​ ​you,​ ​those​ ​fears​ ​could​ ​not​ ​be​ ​more​ ​well-founded.

Between​ ​the​ ​travel,​ ​the​ ​excitement,​ ​the​ ​constant​ ​attention​ ​is the​ ​single​ ​easiest​ ​way​ ​to​ ​throw​ ​all​ ​of​ ​your​ ​hard​ ​work​ ​out. I'm here to tell you, it​ ​doesn’t​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​that​ ​way!​ ​With​ ​some​ ​strategic​ ​planning​ ​and an​ ​iron​ ​will,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​keep​ ​that​ ​carefully​ ​orchestrated​ ​routine​ ​running​ ​just​ ​the​ ​way​ ​you​ ​did​ ​at home.

There​ ​are​ ​two​ ​major​ ​impediments​ ​to​ ​your​ ​little​ ​one’s​ ​sleep​ ​over​ ​summer​ ​holidays: travel and family​-​friends.

How to Maintain Your Child's Sleep While Travelling

Sleep Consultant Vancouver

1. Postpone Sleep Training Until You Return Home

If​ ​you’re​ ​thinking​ ​about​ ​starting​ ​sleep​ ​training​ ​your​ ​little​ ​one,​ ​but​ ​you’ve​ ​got​ ​to​ ​take​ ​a​ ​trip​ ​in​ ​a​ ​few weeks,​ ​my​ ​suggestion​ ​is​ ​to​ ​put​ ​off​ ​the​ ​training​ ​until​ ​you​ ​get​ ​back.​ ​If​ ​you’ve​ ​already​ ​started,​ ​not​ ​to​ ​worry.​ ​Taking​ ​a​ ​trip​ ​typically​ ​won’t​ ​help​ ​your​ ​little​ ​one​ ​sleep better,​ ​but​ ​if​ ​you​ ​can​ ​maintain​ ​some​ ​semblance​ ​of​ ​normalcy​ ​until​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​your​ ​trip,​ ​you​ ​and baby​ ​should​ ​be​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​get​ ​back​ ​to​ ​business​ ​as​ ​soon​ ​as​ ​you​ ​get​ ​home.

2. Timing Your Road Trips with Baby's Naps

If​ ​you’re​ ​driving​ ​to​ ​your​ ​destination,​ ​a​ ​clever​ ​trick​ ​is​ ​to​ ​schedule​ ​your​ ​driving​ ​time​ ​over​ ​baby’s naps.​ ​Car​ ​naps​ ​aren’t​ ​ideal,​ ​but​ ​compared​ ​to​ ​no​ ​naps​ ​at​ ​all,​ ​they’re​ ​the​ ​lesser​ ​of​ ​two​ ​evils​ ​by​ ​a mile.​ ​So​ ​if​ ​at​ ​all​ ​possible,​ ​get​ ​on​ ​the​ ​road​ ​right​ ​around​ ​the​ ​time​ ​that​ ​baby​ ​would​ ​normally​ ​be taking​ ​their​ ​first​ ​nap.

If​ ​you’re​ ​really​ ​committed,​ ​you​ ​might​ ​even​ ​look​ ​for​ ​some​ ​parks,​ ​tourist​ ​attractions,​ ​or​ ​other outdoor​ ​activities​ ​that​ ​are​ ​on​ ​your​ ​route​ ​where​ ​you​ ​can​ ​stop​ ​when​ ​baby​ ​gets​ ​up.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​great chance​ ​to​ ​get​ ​out​ ​into​ ​the​ ​sunshine​ ​and​ ​fresh​ ​air,​ ​which​ ​will​ ​make​ ​that​ ​next​ ​nap​ ​that​ ​much easier.

3. Timing your Flights with Baby's Naps

It’s​ ​no​ ​secret​ ​that​ ​planes​ ​and​ ​babies​ ​just​ ​don’t​ ​seem​ ​to​ ​like​ ​each​ ​other,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​suggest​ ​(and​ ​this​ ​is the​ ​only​ ​time​ ​you’ll​ ​hear​ ​me​ ​say​ ​this)​ ​that​ ​you​ ​do​ ​whatever​ ​gets​ ​you​ ​through​ ​the​ ​flight​ ​with​ ​a minimum​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​fuss.​ ​Hand​ ​out​ ​snacks,​ ​let​ ​them​ ​play​ ​with​ ​your​ ​phone,​ ​and​ ​otherwise​ ​let them​ ​do​ ​anything​ ​they​ ​want​ ​to​ ​do.

The​ ​truth​ ​is,​ ​if​ ​they​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​sleep​ ​on​ ​the​ ​plane,​ ​they’re​ ​just​ ​not​ ​going​ ​to,​ ​so​ ​don’t​ ​try​ ​to force​ ​it.​ ​It​ ​will​ ​just​ ​result​ ​in​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​frustration​ ​for​ ​both​ ​of​ ​you.​ ​(And,​ ​most​ ​likely,​ ​the​ ​passengers around​ ​you.)

How to Maintain Your Child's Sleep While Visiting Family

Sleep Consultant Vancouver
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Adela

​Keeping​ ​baby​ ​quiet​ ​and relaxed,​ ​and​ ​hopefully​ ​asleep,​ ​is​ ​just​ ​what​ ​everyone​ ​is​ ​rooting​ ​for when you've finally arrived at your destination. But when family and friends are around, surely the opposite will happen. Everyone​ ​wants baby​ ​awake​ ​so​ ​they​ ​can​ ​see​ ​them,​ ​play​ ​with​ ​them,​ ​take​ ​a​ ​thousand​ ​pictures,​ ​and​ ​get​ ​them ridiculously​ ​overstimulated.​ ​And​ ​it’s​ ​exceptionally​ ​difficult​ ​to​ ​tell​ ​all​ ​of​ ​these​ ​friends​ ​and​ ​family members​ ​that​ ​you’re​ ​putting​ ​an​ ​end​ ​to​ ​the​ ​fun​ ​because​ ​baby​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​sleep.

1. Manage People's Expectations About Baby's Nap Schedule

By tell​ing them ​in​ ​advance​ ​when​ ​to​ ​expect​ ​baby​​based​ ​on​ ​their​ ​schedule, it'll help put people's expectations at ease​. Let​ ​them​ ​know​ ​when​ ​baby​ ​will​ ​be getting​ ​up and ready to play. I​ ​know​ ​it​ ​sounds​ ​a bit firm for a vacation,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​alternative​ ​is​ ​to​ ​almost​ ​immediate​ ​backslide​ ​right​ ​back​ ​into​ to square one.​

2. Prevent Overtiredness

Keep an eye on baby's wake windows. When baby​ ​misses​ ​a​ ​nap,​ ​they get​ ​all​ ​fired​ ​up​ ​because​ ​of​ ​all​ ​the​ ​new​ ​faces​ ​and​ ​activity. Then overtiredness​ ​kicks​ ​in,​ ​cortisol​ ​production​ ​goes​ ​up,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​next​ ​nap​ ​is​ ​ruined. This leads to yet more​ ​overtiredness​ ​which​ ​derails​ ​nighttime​ ​sleep. Before​ ​you​ ​know​ ​it,​ ​you’re​ ​headed​ ​home and​ ​it​ ​seems​ ​like​ ​baby​ ​did​ ​nothing​ ​but​ ​cry​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​trip. And this is not even an ​exaggeration. It happens that quickly.

3. Prepare Your Room When Room Sharing with Baby

Sleep Consultant Vancouver
Transform Your Baby's Sleep

If you think bed​ ​sharing​ ​for​ ​a​ ​few​ ​nights​ ​isn’t​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world,​ ​you may want to think twice. Making​ ​as​ ​little​ ​of​ ​a​ ​deviation from​ ​the​ ​normal​ ​routine​ ​as​ ​possible,​ including two separate sleeping surfaces. Babies​ ​can​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​real​ ​affinity​ ​for​ ​co-sleeping​ ​in​ ​as little​ ​as​ ​one​ ​night.

If​ ​you’re​ ​sharing​ ​a​ ​room,​ attempt to make it into​ ​two​ ​rooms. You may need to get a little creative, but hang a blanket across the room, set up a ​dressing​ ​screen,​ bring along a Slumberpod, or take advantage of a ​decent sized​ ​walk-in closet. The idea is to create an environment so baby can nap in a ​dark,​ ​quiet environment that are lsat distracting for both baby and family-friends who might walk in during napttime.

4. Avoid Sleep Props

​You might​ ​be​ ​tempted​ ​to​ ​slip​ ​baby​ ​a​ ​pacifier​ ​or​ ​rock​ ​her​ ​to​ ​sleep​ ​if​ ​she’s​ ​disturbing​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the house,​ ​but​ ​baby​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​latch​ ​on​ ​to​ ​that​ ​really,​ ​really​ ​quickly. Chances​ ​are​ ​you’ll​ ​be waking​ ​up​ ​every​ ​hour​ ​or​ ​two,​ ​rocking​ ​baby​ ​back​ ​to​ ​sleep​ ​or​ ​putting​ ​her​ ​pacifier​ ​back​ ​in. This is going​ ​to​ ​end​ ​up​ ​disturbing​ ​everyone​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​worse​ ​than​ ​a​ ​half​ ​hour​ ​of​ ​crying​ ​at​ ​7:00​pm during bedtime. Remember, if baby knows how to fall asleep, we too have to be confident in their skills.

5. Mentally Prepare Yourself for Overwhelming Advice

The​ ​biggest​ ​reason​ ​that​ ​a child's sleep backslides completely during summer vacation often stems from parents feeling ​embarrassed.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​house​ ​full​ ​of​ ​eyes​ ​and​ ​they’re​ ​all​ ​focused​ ​on the​ ​new​ ​baby,​ ​and​ ​by​ ​association,​ ​the​ ​new​ ​parent.

In moments when we feel ​that​ ​everyone​ ​is​ ​making​ ​judgments​ ​about​ ​how​ ​we're​ ​parenting​ ​is​ ​overwhelming​, ​remember​ ​what’s​ ​really important​ ​here: your​ ​baby,​ ​their​ ​health​ ​and​ ​well-being. That is a noble cause worth standing up for. Remember​ ​that​ ​you’re​ ​a​ ​superhero,​ ​defending​ ​sleep​ ​for​ ​your little one, and ​like​ ​any​ ​superhero,​ ​you​ ​may​ ​be​ ​misunderstood​ ​by​ ​the​ ​masses. Ignore​ ​them.​ ​You’re​ ​on​ ​a​ ​mission.

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