Travel Tips for Toddlers (and babies!)

This may be the most magical time of the year but it can also often bring challenges with it in terms of your little one’s sleep!  I’m planning a series of blogs throughout December to give you some tips on how to get through it as unscathed and rested as possible. 

If you’re planning to travel to see friends and family this festive season, I understand if just the thought of it is making you feel anxious. It can be a stressful situation for those who have little children who don’t respond well to sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings.  So, I thought this week I would concentrate on giving some tips and advice on ways to minimise sleep disruption for those of you travelling with children over Christmas.

It’s a good idea to try and take as many things as possible with you that will make your little one feel secure and comfortable, even in an unfamiliar place.  So, take with you any sleeping bags/bedding that you would use at home and of course, any toy or comfort item that will help to relax your wee one.  If your little one will be sleeping in a travel cot, set it up in the room that they will be sleeping in well before it is time for them to go to bed.  Spend a bit of time with your child in the room that they’ll be sleeping in before bed time or nap time – read to them and let them have a play in the room. Let them play in their cot or bed for a while as well. Anything that makes them laugh and have fun will all help to make their surroundings more familiar and will make it easier to get them to settle when it is time for sleep. 

Routines can go out of the window very easily when you’re travelling and staying in other people’s houses. If at all possible, I would advise trying to stick with your little one’s sleep routines as much as you can

Keep an eye on their wake windows (the length of time your wee one can stay up before getting overtired) and try and get them down to sleep before they become too overtired and cranky.  This time of year can be over-stimulating for little ones at the best of times – lots of lights and excitement, loads of attention from family members, bucket loads of sugar! So, make sure you keep an eye out for any tired signs and try and catch them before they get overtired. If they stay up too long, they will find it much more difficult to fall asleep, so it’s good to try and stay on the ball with not keeping them up too long. I think many of us have had experience of trying to get a frazzled, overtired baby to sleep in someone else’s house, and failing miserably!

I think what is most important is to give yourself a break and don’t be too hard on yourself if things go wrong and routines come a bit unstuck. One late bedtime or missed nap can be rectified in the days following so don’t be too harsh on yourself if things go a bit wrong sleep-wise over the holidays.  January is just around the corner and can be a great month for getting things back on track.  

Happy Travels!


Caro Graham is a Certified Sleepy Lambs Sleep Consultant based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Caro can support families locally or around the world. Book a FREE 15-minute call. Just click HERE to book!