One of the things we’ve had to learn to manage as we’ve traveled around with Cullen is how to adjust to help him get his best sleep in new spaces. Any parent knows that protecting your toddler’s naps and overnight sleep is critical in order to have a happy, healthy traveling family. But we work hard for long, peaceful naps and consistent overnight sleep in the peace and comfort of our own homes, and it doesn’t always come naturally. There are often long routines involved, special bedding and bedtime friends, and familiar surroundings needed so that everyone gets a good night sleep.
Traveling with toddlers can be great fun, but can also bring a bit of stress. If your toddler is anything like mine, he doesn’t just plop down in a new space and close his eyes. Any travel we do usually take a short adjustment period, but with a number of trips under our belt, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks.
First off, we always travel with the essentials: stuffed animals, pacifiers, favorite bedtime books, and blankies. While the actual sleeping space might be new, we do our best to make it feel as familiar as possible. We also make sure to bring our iPad and charger so that we can play some white noise, depending on the new environment we’ll be sleeping in.
Our biggest challenge when traveling is usually figuring out where to put Cullen’s pack and play or crib. He’s at an age where he cannot sleep in a space where he is able to see us, or he’ll flip out. He was never a co-sleeper, so sleeping with us isn’t an option now. If we try to bring him into bed with us, he becomes a wild gymnast and bounces all over the place. On the few occasions where we’ve done hotel travel, we’ve always made sure to book a suite or other type of room that has two separate spaces — that way we can have him in one room and us in another. Everyone sleeps much better that way!
Having a separate space also allows my husband and I to have a quiet space in the evenings where we can relax, read, watch TV, or work – and not be tip-toeing around in silence in the dark afraid to wake him.
This week we are in South Carolina visiting with family. We are sharing a bedroom with Cullen, but it’s fairly large and has a separate sitting area across from the bed. While it’s not totally out of sight, we were able to line up a few arm chairs in front of the pack and play in order to obstruct the view of the bed. So far he’s been napping and sleeping well!
Here’s hoping for a peaceful rest of the week!