Kids Getting the Shut-Eye They Need on the Road

Kids Getting the Shut-Eye They Need on the Road

Jackie Boucher
Jul 16, 2010

Good sleep is a critical element for happy family travel. Without good sleep, memorable family fun can quickly turn into a cranky-ridden, nightmare. Here are some simple tips that may help your little ones get the rest they need.

ROUTINE
Bath-hugs-book? Or book-music-cuddle? What's your bedtime routine? Their days will be full of all sorts of new and exciting things already so bedtime on the road should be both familiar and comfortable. Is napping part of the routine too? Skipping naps can lead to over-tired little ones that are too difficult to settle. Establish a routine that is as close to the one at home as possible. If you don't normally play music at sleepy time but think it might come in handy on holidays, then how about starting now, before you go.

COMFORT
Bring a bit of home with you: a favorite stuffy, a blanket, or pillow. When bringing our own pillow isn't practical, we bring a familiar blankie, hosting the familiar scents of home, to put on the hotel pillow. Also, playing a favorite night-time CD helps to tone down any unfamiliar sounds which may be distracting.

EXERCISE AND NUTRITION
Swimming, biking, running and general outdoor play during the day are all important ways to get a good night's sleep, for anyone. Check here to see how much exercise your kid needs on an average day.

On those heavy travel days, schedule periodic pit stops where everyone can burn off some steam. Consider packing a jump rope for any airport lay overs. Or bust out a game of Simon Says that really gets the kids moving.

Try offering high-sugar foods during the day, especially on those days they are burning it up anyway. And keep foods simple, as familiar as possible, and nutritious, before bedtime.

PATIENCE
Travel can be pretty overstimulating, especially for the young ones, so you may find that some extended quiet time [e.g. reading, journal writing] before the actual bedtime routine will help in the long run.

FLEXIBILITY
Assume you will encounter at least one sleepless disaster. Keeping that itinerary flexible will reduce the impact when it happens.

Oh, and a dash of LUCK.

(Image: Jackie Boucher)

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