Preparing for a family trip is exciting—just think of all the fun you’re about to have! But a vacation with the kids can easily go awry if their sleep schedules are out of whack. As a dad of two, I know from experience that new, unfamiliar places can make it tough for your little ones to fall and stay asleep. After nearly a decade of extensive trial and error, I’ve learned a trick or two to getting my 2-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter to sleep peacefully while on the go. Here are my top five go-to tips for helping kids get some ZZZs while traveling.
1. Time Your Road Trips Around Naptime
I learned (the hard way) that the best sleep environment for kids is one that’s flat and motionless—pretty much the opposite of a moving car. But while napping while on the road isn’t as restorative as in their beds, it’s definitely better than no nap at all. So how did I get my kids to fall asleep during car rides? My son passes out pretty quickly in the car, so I don’t typically have problems with him. My daughter, on the other hand, was another story. It took her a long time to unwind enough for her to fall asleep in the vehicle. When she was young, I made sure to hit the road at least 30 minutes before her naptime to give her an opportunity to relax and settle in. Once her normal naptime rolled around, she was good and ready to get some shut-eye while I drove.
2. Build Downtime Into Your Itinerary
Babies and toddlers have sensitive temperaments. My 2-year old senses all the stress and excitement that vacations can bring and gets easily overwhelmed by the numerous activities in store for him, making it difficult for him to…