If you are planning an exciting family trip but worried about managing sleep schedules, you are not alone. Traveling with kids and babies can often seem like a challenge, especially when it comes to ensuring everyone gets a good night's rest. A change in time zones, unfamiliar surroundings, or the excitement of a new destination can disrupt anyone's sleep, let alone the fragile sleep cycles of children. Understandably, traveling with little ones requires a little extra planning, but by incorporating these travel sleep essentials into your routine, you can significantly ease these disruptions.
Travel Sleep Essentials for Families
Whether you're taking a road trip or flying across the country, it's important to have the right travel sleep gear to help your family rest easy.
Choose the Right Travel Bed
One of the most important travel sleep essentials for families is a comfortable and safe travel bed for your child. Depending on your child's age and size, you may need to choose between a portable crib, a toddler travel bed, or an inflatable mattress. Look for options that are lightweight, easy to set up, and come with a carrying case for convenience. Many hotels or rental properties may have a travel bed for your child to use, but it is best to ask in advance, particularly if you have a picky sleeper. Baby gear rental companies can also be an easy and affordable solution if you’re looking to pack as light as possible.
Bring Comfortable Bedding
In addition to a comfortable and safe travel bed, it's important to bring along bedding that will help you and your child sleep soundly. This can include a treasured blankey, a favorite stuffed animal, or a premium pillow. By creating a cozy, comfortable, and familiar sleeping environment, you and your child will be more likely to get the rest needed while traveling.
Pack Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs
Traveling can be noisy, especially if you're staying in a busy city or near a major transportation hub. To help your family get a good night's sleep, consider packing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. These can help block out any unwanted sounds and create a more peaceful sleeping environment. Plus, they can be used during long car rides or flights to help your child relax and rest. Just be sure to choose headphones or earplugs that are comfortable and safe for your child's age and size.
Use a White Noise Machine
Another great way to help your family sleep better while traveling is by using a white noise machine. Sound machines create a consistent, soothing sound that can help mask any outside noises and create a calming environment for sleep. Many white noise machines are portable and can easily fit in your luggage, making them a convenient travel sleep essential. Just be sure to choose a machine with adjustable volume and sound options to find the perfect setting for your family's needs.
Bring a Night Light
When traveling with kids, it's important to remember that they may not be used to sleeping in unfamiliar environments. Bringing a night light can help ease their fears and make them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. A small, portable night light and sound machine combo such as the Hushh+ can easily fit in your luggage and can be placed in the room to provide a soft, comforting glow. This can also be helpful for parents who need to check on their children during the night without disturbing their sleep.
Family Sleep Tips: How to Make Traveling with Kids and Babies More Restful
- Maintain Sleep Schedules: Try to stick as closely as possible to your children's regular sleep schedule. This can help reduce the disruption to their sleep cycles and make them feel more comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings.
- Take Frequent Breaks: If you're on a long road trip, stop every few hours to let your children stretch, run around, and expend some energy. This will make it easier for them to fall asleep when it's bedtime.
- Prepare for Jet Lag: If you're crossing time zones, gradually adjust your children's sleep schedule a few days before departure to lessen the impact of jet lag, similar to adjusting for Daylight Savings time changes.
- Stay Calm and Patient: It's normal for children to take some time to adjust to new sleeping conditions. Stay calm, patient, and maintain a positive attitude, as your kids will often mirror your reactions.
Traveling as a family can be a wonderful, bonding experience when planned right. Ensuring everyone gets proper sleep can make the journey more enjoyable and less stressful. Next time you embark on a family travel adventure, keep these sleep tips in mind to help your entire family sleep like a baby.