Updated: Jul 26
Summer is finally here…you feel like you’ve been waiting forever, and all of a sudden, it’s almost August. You and your family have been busy playing outside, enjoying the warm weather, the long days…and not really following a schedule.
“Where did the summer go?” I ask myself that question EVERY summer!
Now that the summer is half over, you might be getting ready for a family vacation.
You might even be starting to think about Fall, and new schedules, maybe school, and even going back to work. That’s a lot to think about, when all you want to do is go to the beach or pool.
Are you finding that your child is acting out more, or acting more cranky than usual? Is he not falling asleep as easily as he used to? Are you wondering how that will affect an upcoming family vacation, the start of school, daycare, or a new Fall schedule?
Let’s work on getting everyone back on track while the weather is warm, schedules are loose, and everyone is (seemingly) happy…especially, if you are planning to go on vacation soon.
1. If your schedule is off, try to get back to a consistent schedule before you leave for vacation. Keeping to a regular schedule is key to a happy baby, toddler, and parent.
2. Plan ahead for your trip. If you have toddlers or older children, pack lots of toys and games that will keep them occupied while traveling. Books, iPads, markers and paper, stickers, anything that your child loves at home that is easily transportable. For babies, pack their comfort items, some board books, and any teething toys.
Tip: I always had travel boxes filled with their favorite items ready to go at a moment's notice. I would use it when we would go to restaurants, on long car rides, airplane trips, or anywhere we were going where I needed to keep my kids busy and happy.
3. When you are packing, don’t forget to include your kids’ favorite loveys, books, and anything else that helps them sleep at night or you use during your bedtime routine. Keeping everything as familiar as possible will help with a new sleep environment and will help your child settle more easily.
4. Watch for sleepy cues and overtiredness. Your child’s schedule may be off due to so many new distractions and so much fun. So, when he acts tired or cranky, it’s time to stop what you’re doing, and head somewhere for a nap or bedtime.
Tip: Before stopping any activity, it helps to give a time notification, so the transition is a little smoother. “In 5 minutes, (set a timer) we are going to pack up our beach toys and go back to the hotel for a nap.” Then, a few minutes later, when the timer goes off, remind him it’s been 5 minutes and help your child pack up his toys. Remind him that after his nap, you can go back to the beach or go on another adventure.
5. Don’t be surprised if you need to spend extra time helping your child settle down and fall asleep while you’re away. It’s only natural that they will be more excited and nervous to go to sleep in a new bed or room. It’s ok if you stay longer than usual with your child while they are falling asleep. Just be mindful of creating new sleep habits that will need to be stopped once you get home.
Tip: *Be consistent with your naptime and bedtime routine, even while away. Try to stay in the same place (hotel, bedroom, etc.) for your entire vacation, if possible.
*Try to keep to the same (or close to the same) nap schedule, even if that means sleeping under a beach tent, or in a car seat or stroller while on the go.
*Be mindful of creating a new sleep habit (such as rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, etc.) that you will have to stop once you are back home. If your child needs some extra TLC, that is ok, just don’t fall into the sleep crutch trap!
6. Vacation is over and you’re back home! Now that you’re home, go right back to your normal schedule and routine. Be mindful that it might take a couple of days for your child to resume his schedule. That’s ok, you’re not starting from scratch, rather, you are re-establishing healthy sleep habits and routines that he already knows.
Tip: Try to keep your activities light on the first few days back home. Don’t be concerned if you need to do some gentle sleep training again for the first few nights at home. That is completely normal, and your child will bounce right back to his normal schedule and routine in no time!
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. If you have questions or concerns about any of your child’s sleep or toddler behavior challenges, please reach out at any time!
Sweet Dreams! 😴👶