How to adapt your usual routine
Hands up who’s missed dinner, pacing around a restaurant on holiday trying to get the baby off to sleep? Or laid next to their wide-awake child in a guest bedroom while your friends are already a bottle of wine in downstairs?
With different sleeping environments, being constantly on the move and perhaps a hotter climate, nights away from home can turn a well-oiled bedtime regime into a nightmare. The question is do you aim to keep to a routine or go with the flow?
General advice is to maintain the basics of the routine you do at home, so your child knows it is time for sleep. A good routine could include having a bath or shower, a bedtime story, cuddles and lights off to help make them feel they are at home, which will comfort them and help them on their way to a good night’s sleep.
Take a few familiar things from home to help settle your child in the unfamiliar sleeping environment such as teddies, blankets, a small pillow (don’t use a pillow for babies under one year) – you will also want these if you are flying further afield as the flight can sometimes be the hardest part of travel, and if you are without toys to entertain it could cause them to become restless.
For those travelling to a destination with a time difference, set mealtimes to work with the new time zone rather than having irregular eating patterns. This will help with your child’s digestive system as having unbalanced eating patterns can cause them to feel sluggish or slightly unwell, so it’s best to adjust as soon as possible.
Remember, it is normal for your child’s sleep to be unsettled with changes of environment wherever you are, so allow them time to adjust. Lower your expectations and plan to spend the first few days establishing a new regime.
For little ones, if all else fails when it comes to getting them to sleep, fall back on the buggy. Due to a mix of familiarity and motion, overtired babies will always tend to fall asleep the minute they are put in their stroller and walked around. Top tip – pop them in their PJs before you walk them, so it’s easier to transfer a sleeping babe from stroller to bed.