With Christmas only five days away, you may be thinking about packing up and heading on your travels to see family and friends or planning on chasing some winter sun, but it can be a daunting task heading off on your travels this time of year – even more so if you plan on travelling with little ones.
Whether you’re travelling a short distance for the holidays or further afield, your sleep should be on your list of priorities in terms of keeping your usual routine and getting the best shut-eye possible, just like you would do at home, and the same goes for your child’s sleep routine.
Sleep is the first thing we let go of when we are feeling stressed or overworked, meaning that during the busiest time of the year, it has never been more important to stay on track with a healthy sleep routine for both yourself and your child, particularly where travelling is concerned.
Time zones, travel distance and different environments can all potentially have a negative effect on your family’s sleep, however, in the spirit of planning ahead, there are some things you can prepare for before you set off to help you all hold on to your sleep and make travel stresses a thing of the past.
Keep to the same sleep routine
When travelling further afield, it’s important to try and keep your sleep schedule as normal as possible, avoiding taking nap stops whilst on the road, unless you usually nap around the time you plan on stopping. It’s a good idea to plan your travel and break stops around your child’s sleep pattern as best you can. Letting them nap when they usually nap and putting them to bed at the same time they usually go to bed is key to preventing a disrupted sleep routine.
Set off well-rested
It is important to ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed and rested on the day you are due to travel, particularly if you have a long drive ahead of you – and never drive tired! Is there someone who is able to share the driving with you?
If you really are too tired to drive, prepare for alternative modes of transport. Spend as much time as possible the night before planning your sleep routine, avoiding activities that may keep you awake when you should be getting valuable sleep. The same applies for your kids stick to their usual bath and pyjama time, and this should prevent them from waking up in the night.
Plan and prepare
If you are driving, pack up the car in advance, keeping a checklist along the way. This will ensure that you don’t leave without anything valuable. If you’re taking another form of transport, prepare your luggage ahead of time and leave it within easy reach for when you need it. Avoiding last-minute panics will prevent the onset of stress and loss of sleep. Try to pack plenty of home comforts for your child, particularly if you are planning on staying somewhere unfamiliar, as things like their favourite blanket or cuddly toys will help them feel at home.
Take the essentials
If you’re travelling long distances and you’re not driving, keep in mind that you may want the travel essentials such as a travel pillow, sleep mask or even flight socks. These can be beneficial to keeping comfortable and sleeping well whilst on flights, and they could be the difference between waking up feeling refreshed and wide awake instead of groggy and irritable, which is the last thing you need if you are travelling with young ones.
Ultimately, it’s the season of good tidings and to have fun, so it’s important to remember that if you decide to stay up later than normal with your child then don’t worry, your regular routine will soon be back on track.
Will you be travelling anywhere for Christmas? Have you got a plan in place to keep your sleep routine at its best?