How To Keep Your Child’s Nap Routine While Traveling, Because Nobody Wants A Cranky Kid

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Summer is almost always accompanied by the stark reminder that traveling with little kids, though tons of fun, is no easy gig. In fact, that reminder can often feel like a slap in the face when you're knee-deep in missing loveys, travel-related tummy troubles, and rental houses that are anything but childproof. The most jarring travel-related issue, for both children and parents, is often daily routines that get majorly thrown for a loop due to time zone changes, jet lag, and general FOMO in new and exciting places. But knowing how to keep your child's nap routine when traveling can be huge for the entire family. (For what it's worth, it's a great thing to mull over as you try to tackle your toddler into staying seated on an airplane or as you scoop buckets of sand out of their mouths and diapers on the beach.)

The truth is that sleep deprivation can only make a tough situation worse — for everyone. If your babies aren't sleeping well, neither are you, and then no one is enjoying the trip. So trying to preserve their daytime and nighttime sleep as best as you can isn't a bad idea. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), when you're in your own home, the environment is controlled, the routines are consistent, and the sleep times set (well, for the most part). When you're traveling, being prepared is key in making sure all goes well.

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Regardless of where you are and what time it is, your little one's internal clock stays the same, noted the NSF. Keeping track of their "home" time will help you plan naps and bedtime at appropriate moments throughout the day, and that, hopefully, will help you avoid having to deal with inopportune meltdowns (at least, the ones due to exhaustion).

As Parenting mentioned, bringing along your babe's favorite books, blankets, and loveys can also help to keep her nap and bed routines familiar and secure-feeling. With her own comfortable things around her, she's more likely to feel safe, and that will help her to rest easy.

Of course, it is vacation, after all, and things can't always be planned. Parents noted that it's important to have "road rules," or a separate set of routines or guidelines that only fly while you're traveling. This might include staying with your baby until they fall asleep, safe co-sleeping, or reading that second (or eighth) bedtime story. At this point, the sleep itself overrides how they're getting to sleep, and you can go back to "home rules" when you're back in your home environment (albeit, it may take an extra day or seven to re-adjust).

The bottom line is that traveling often leads to exhaustion in both babies and adults, and if you can help to preserve their sleep, it'll preserve your own sanity. Plus, when they're sleeping soundly in bed, you'll have some time for that extra glass of wine.