Travel, Routines, and Your Child

Planning your next adventure can be SO much fun and EEK! a bit stressful, especially if it’s your first trip with a new child! Vacations might look a little different than what you’re used to, but you can still enjoy your time away from home!

As someone who has now traveled via Campervan with a 9 month old, AirBnB with and without a full kitchen, and recently to across the country with a then-very-active-18 month old, staying in a different place almost every night – I think I can speak a little bit to how to make this trip as easy as possible for everyone.

Tip #1) Plan for your baby to sleep in the car. Try to time it so you drive for a nap. This will make it the most peaceful if you have a child who doesn’t sit long in the car (it me).

Tip #2) Have an idea of stops you might need to take. Print out an old-fashioned map and mark a few spots that you could stop to play, stretch your legs, eat, etc. The goal of the stop is ideally to get some wiggles out- not to sit somewhere the whole time (a restaurant). The best spots are parks! Hang out in the grass, soak up a new sensory experience, eat a meal with a new view (in a safe travel high chair!). You might need to spend a few hours here so make sure you’re prepared! Once your child seems tired enough, hop back in the car and get on your way!

Tip #3) Pack a cooler and pre-made food so when you arrive at your destination, you have a meal prepared and don’t have to stress about another thing as you adjust to your new home away from home. Or of course if you want to order out – that works too!

Tip #4) Pack early!! Try packing at least 24 hours in advance and ALWAYS bring more diapers than you think you will need. I have a free checklist to help you get started with your packing and make it even less stressful for you!

Tip #5) Don’t plan TOO much. It can be so tempting to want to do all the things you did before parenthood, but running around all day during your trip can make everyone feel frazzled AND can impact nighttime sleep. Ideally pick one main thing to do each day and try to work around naps (whether that means in the car, baby carrier, or waiting until they finish waking up at your temporary residence). Having a rest day in between can also help keep everyone consistent with their routines.

Tip #6) Practice with the baby carrier beforehand. You don’t want to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out what hook goes where- test it out before you pack it!

Tip #7) Relax – if you miss a nap or have an off day, it is what it is. Just do your best to get back on track tomorrow!

Tip #8) Bring things from home to help acclimate your baby to their new temporary sleep environment. Using the pack ‘n play? You can try practicing for a few nights before to help ease the transition. Planning on bedsharing? Make sure your surface is firm and Safe Sleep 7 approved. Winging it? Make sure you at least KNOW the safe sleep 7 if your child doesn’t want to sleep in the pack n play – don’t worry, you can adjust back to the crib when you’re home. 🙂 Make sure to bring any white noise if you use it, a sleep sack (again, if you use it) – whatever you can to make sleep as similar to home!

Did I miss anything?? Let me know if you have any other travel tips by commenting below, sending a DM, or sending me an email! Good luck traveling and don’t forget to snag my free Travel With A Baby Checklist and take a peep at my list of a few travel items you might need for your journey!

Good luck! You got this!!

– Jen

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Published by Jennifer Palmer PT, DPT

Instagram: @thesleepdpt Twitter: @thesleepdpt Facebook: The Sleep DPT Facebook Group: The Sleep DPT & Friends

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