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  • Makenzie Miller

Surviving Sleep During Vacation

Updated: Jun 26, 2022

Well, 2020 is finally over. Yay! As I sit here wondering what I'm going to blame all of my misfortunes on now, I can't help but get really excited about the fact that I may actually get to travel this year.

I love to travel but, let's get serious, now that I have two kids to worry about it's not as glorious as it once was. I remember leaving for France for our honeymoon with my brand new luggage, cute new clothes, and my Fluenz program in hand, with full intentions of learning a whole language on the flight over.

Now, traveling is nothing short of bananas. My luggage is no longer cute, yoga pants and a tank top are the outfit of choice, and the only language I'm speaking is toddler. Not to mention the mountain of stuff you can not forget. For a list of must haves - check out my travel checklist here.

Even though traveling is one of my favorite things to do, it has always wreaked havoc on my sleep. I'm one of those I need a vacation from my vacation people. What can I say? In true Miller fashion, the four of us hit it pretty hard on vacation.

Inevitably my whole family is going to end up on the sleep struggle bus by the end of vacation. However, there are a few things I consistently do to make it better. Check them out below.

1. Take Your Sleep Environment With You

We all know by now kids thrive on consistency. Trust me on this: it is worth taking everything but the kitchen sink to mimic the sleep environment that your kids have at home. Unless your child needs the kitchen sink to sleep, then take that too.

A general rule of thumb is if they need it at home, they need it away. This includes but is not limited to lovies, binkies, sound machines, pillows, blankets, sheets, books, sleep sacks, favorite pajamas, black out curtains, sleep rules, lotions, and potions.

Now I know you're thinking, "No Mak, I'm not taking my blackout curtains on vacation with me." Well no, you're not, but you are going to take some kind of old sheet or blanket (preferably dark) and some clothes pins or thumbtacks to hang it over the window. Get creative if you must. Tin foil does a wonderful job blocking sunlight.

Even better, get yourself a slumberpod. This product is an absolute game changer. If you've ever set up a pack n' play in the bathroom of a hotel or nearly suffocated under the sheets of a hotel room in fears that your child will make eye contact with you then you need this. It's the perfect blackout solution that fits over bassinets, cots, and play yards. And, yep, it's totally safe. Check it out here and use code MAKTOSLEEP20 to get $20 off.

2. Keep Your Same Routine

Keeping a routine while you're on vacation can be extremely hard. With all the activities and goings-on and the strange environment, getting your child down (especially if they are older) is going to be a task you probably won't want to deal with on vacation. But, it's worth trying.

Keeping the 80/20 rule and scheduling activities around your child's normal schedule can help.

What's the 80/20 rule? It's simply striving to keep your child on their sleep schedule 80 percent of the time. If you miss a day or two of naps, it's okay. This works especially well in kids who are well-rested, they tend to roll with the changes more so than a kid who is chronically overtired or not on a good sleep schedule to begin with. However, if you do miss a nap, may I suggest an early bedtime?

If naps just aren't happening, try for an hour of quiet play or downtime. Turn the lights down and the screens off and allow your child to read some books or work on a puzzle.

3. Or, Don't Keep Your Same Routine

You may have to step up the nap game for two reasons.

  1. If your child is in the middle of nap transition you may have to bring that second or third nap back for a couple days of your vacation especially if it is a longer vacation.

  2. If you have a lot going on during your vacation a nap in the car or on the couch is probably inevitable. While that isn't optimal, it's okay. Protecting whatever sleep they may be getting is better than not sleeping at all.

4. Get Acquainted

As adults, it's easy to go on vacation and hop into a strange bed and drift off to sleep with no problems. This isn't such an easy task for kids because, again, consistency. When you finally get where you're going, allow your child to be involved in setting up the area where they are going to sleep. Let them place their nightlight where they want it (as long as it's safe). They can also help by placing their toys, pillows, and blankets on their bed.

Then practice! Let them practice finding you and the bathroom should they need it. Go to the room where you'll be sleeping and have them find you a couple times and do the same with the bathroom. The more comfortable they are with finding what they may need in the middle of the night, the easier it will be for them to sleep.

5. Prepare Ahead Of Time

In the weeks leading up to your vacation stay consistent with your sleep schedule at home. Maybe turn that 80/20 rule into the 100 rule for a few weeks. Taking an already overtired child on vacation is not good for anyone.

And nix any sleep training plans you may have until after you return. If you have plans to do sleep training, that's great! But, be mindful of what method you're using and how long it can take. Some sleep training can take weeks. The last thing you want to do is make progress for a week and a half and then go on vacation just to find out you have to start all over again once you get back home.

6. Don't Forget The Tylenol

For you and the kids.

Wishing you the peace, love, and sleep on your vacation.

Talk soon!

- Mak

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