Planning a vacation with your little ones? Skipping naps can lead to crying and cranky kids, and stressed-out parents. Joleen Dilk Salyn, certified child sleep consultant and founder of Baby Sleep 101, shares these tips on how to have fun while sticking to a schedule. "Yes, there will always be some unwelcomed surprises on family vacations, but if you implement some of these guidelines, you will increase your chances of a having a well-rested (and happy!) tot along for the ride," says Salyn.
1. When booking your hotel, plan ahead. If you're going to be staying in a hotel on your vacation, call them ahead of time to see if you can book a room located in a quiet section of the building. Generally, rooms close to the pool, restaurant, stairs or elevator have more foot traffic and are nosier. This can be quite frustrating when you're trying to get your child to go to sleep.
2. Having a consistent schedule is important before you leave on your trip. Se- up an established nap routine, a consistent and familiar wind down and an age appropriate bedtime. Children who are well rested are more likely to fall asleep quicker in a new environment, regardless if they're a toddler or teen.
3. Get them used to sleeping in a new environment. Portable cribs can take a child time to get used to, so do a few trial runs with it at home. Sometimes children have a hard time settling down in a new bed, so it's best to let them get used to it, in the comfort and security of their room.
4. Bring the comforts of home with you. This may include white noise, loveys or special blankets. You may even want to take the same sheets from their bed without washing them, since familiar scents can help to relax your child when they are trying to fall asleep in a new location.
5. Keep to a routine as much as possible. It's important to still enjoy your trip, so allow for some flexibility, but overall, children will be better travel companions with a consistent routine because they won't be overtired and cranky. It's also better for your child to take a nap in the car, than to miss the nap entirely while on vacation. Try to time it around when your child regularly takes his or her nap and remember to leave a little earlier to compensate for falling asleep time.