We all love a good routine to keep our babies, toddlers and children sleeping well, but sometimes you also need to get out the house, see the world and create some memories! But how do you do this without causing a setback in good sleep habits?
It can feel overwhelming, the thought of leaving the house, planning a fun-filled day and making sure your child isn’t over tired and then grumpy. Especially when you know if you stay at home your child will sleep better and you’ll be able to fit in a hot drink (or during the heatwaves, an iced coffee maybe!). Here are some hints and tips to make sure you can enjoy your days out and get some good naps on the go.
Timed Travelling: The most helpful thing you can do is time your travelling around naps so they get a decent sleep on the way or way back. If they have one big afternoon nap, then set off early so you get the morning time to adventure,, then you can either do a pushchair nap while out, or travel back during the nap time. If you don’t want a car nap, you need to avoid travelling at these times as the last thing you need is a “danger nap” which will then make your bedtime more stressful.
Be Prepared: There is always so much to pack for a trip out, but the best advice we have is to pack the bag the night before to make the morning much less stressful. Lay everything out so you can see what you are packing and mentally run through the day in your head to make sure you have everything. For good naps, make sure you have your snoozeshade, a comforter (if using), sleep bag (if using) and white noise (if using). If your little one is eating solids then remember those snacks!
Safe Sleep Always: Whatever you do, do NOT create darkness with a blanket over the pushchair or car seat. This effectively makes that space into a very hot oven. Instead, create darkness using something like a snoozeshade (and make sure it has been proven safe). This should be breathable and air permeable. Napping in the shade is always a good idea too, so find a shady spot under a tree (next to a cafe if possible!). Use code STSLEEP to get a discount on a snoozeshade.
Routine: If you know your child thrives from a routine, then keep some aspect of this during your day out. This could be snacks at the same time, naps at the same time or even just the pre-nap routine of reading a book before going down to sleep. On the other hand, it can sometimes be great to have a day out of routine as long as it is a one-off and you get back on it once the trip is over. This depends on your baby and how you think they cope with changes.
Longer Trips: If you are staying overnight somewhere, then take a travel cot and blackout blinds. This is going to be essential to ensure your child has the best chance of success with sleeping well on a holiday. Remember their comforter (if using) and white noise (if using) and keep your bedtime routine the same or very similar. If your baby is above 6 months, it’s worth booking somewhere with an extra room (think Airbnb/villa style) so that the baby isn’t disturbed and once they are asleep, you can have the evening in the living area. Places like this tend to have self-catering facilities so you save money on eating out!