As a mother, you understand the importance of napping for babies and toddlers. Should you sacrifice your vacation because of it? Here is how to get your kids to nap on vacation:
Babies and toddlers can nap on the go, or…
We can learn to get them napping on the go.
Little by little we are going to tackle some traveling and vacation issues that arise with small babes and tots.
Some families will find vacation with babies and small toddlers easy breezy. This is if they are accustomed to impromptu naps in the car or stroller, and if their children are on a “go with the flow” daily routine as opposed to a more structured schedule.
If you’re like me and have a pretty good and tight (though with flexibility, of course, when called for) then napping is often a big struggle when the scenery and routine changes.
Therefore, this post will be geared to those of us who have small babes and toddlers who fall asleep easily in the crib at home, but are a little less – hmm…shall we say cooperative? – when out and about.
Here are 5 vacation and napping tips:
#1. Sacrifice an adult
My husband and I – and other family members if they are with us – usually decide that for the afternoon nap, WHO (since it’s around 3 hours) will stay with the children to nap.
This may be difficult if you are on the go or in a big city and have limited time. Nobody wants to spend their entire lavation in the hotel room.
However, the job has to be done. It’s only fair that we take turns…
Around 1pm, one of us put the kids to sleep and stay with until they wake up. Afterwards the others come back for us, if they ever left, and then we all continue on.
It almost ensures that the kids are in far better spirits than if they missed their naps and it means that one adult doesn’t always have to do it.
#2. Plan drive times and “boring” events appropriately
If there are car rides, museum trips or long walks in the stroller… that’s when nap time needs to happen.
This endeavor helps if your kids are already sleepy…. If they are already tired and find it easier to sleep with motion then this could potentially be a way to squeeze a nap in without having to return to stay in your hotel.
I usually fill their bellies, make sure they are comfortable, and stroll until they are asleep.
Get my cheat sheets (newborn up to elementary aged kids) and find your family’s groove.
Use them for:
- nap times
- meal times
- chore times
- play times
- AND more!
#3. Do an every-other-day activity plan
Let me explain…
If you are going far enough away and it’s big enough of a deal that you can’t sacrifice 3 hours each afternoon, why not try an every-other-day nap in the crib plan?
You can still sacrifice the adult and let the older kids go have their fun, but this way at least every other day the kids will get a good nap that’ll help them stay with the fun.
Towards the middle of a week-long trip too many missed naps will make smaller babies pretty
insufferable miserable, so there really must be some avenue for them to rest properly.
This still leaves plenty of room for fun as well as some room for a siesta. Win, win!
#4. Break a few rules
When I really need my kids to sleep I forget about the normal “rules”.
Let’s face in, you’re on vacation after all! All of the plans you set for preventing dependent sleepers can go out the window for that week of vacation.
I will rock, sing, shush, and give a paci long past operation-paci-removal. I’ll bribe or cojole or push the stroller back and forth. Look… I’ll do what it takes to keep a tired baby from getting overtired and ruining everyone’s fun.
It’s only vacation. It isn’t real life. It will end. Real life will come back and you won’t have done permanent damage.
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#5. Count the costs
Be sure your holiday choice is “worth” having overtired tots.
A friend was recently contemplating making the trip from Sydney to New York for 10 days with their two under 2. They decided against it for various reasons, but after we recently made our 24-hour voyage I have to say that is a good move.
It takes a week to get over jetlag of that sort and the kids are out of whack, out of sorts and so are you.
To have a good time on vacation everyone needs to be in a relatively good mood. This will require some consistency on our part and we need to know what we’re risking.
If we think it’s worth it, who cares, we’ll sleep when we’re dead then go for it, mama!
If you are a tad more cautious and think the trip to Maldives could wait a few years or be an adult only trip, then jump on that train. Whatever you decide, count the costs beforehand so you aren’t in for a shock either way.
I am a firm believer in traveling with kids and not letting them miss out on the good fun.
However, we do need to be considerate of their needs. If you have significantly older children and a baby or toddler this’ll be more difficult because a 5 or a 10-year-old can cope easily with late nights and lots of fun.
Kids (toddlers through elementary school) will learn everything from life management, social, survival, and hygiene skills PLUS MORE!