Take a vacation, they said. Bring your kids, they said. It will be fun, they said. Family trips always sound like a good idea, until you're exhausted in a strange hotel room with kiddos whose sleep schedules are thrown off and an equally exhaustive list of activities to do. Despite the obvious potential for creating memories of a lifetime with your kids, if your vacation is filled with stress, the memories will be less than fond. Luckily there is one tip that will make your family vacation easier on both you and your kids, and it's not as complicated as you'd think.
Sure, planning ahead is great — it's a good idea to book things ahead of time and schedule out where you're going. Picking a memorable location, making sure to pack the essentials, scouting out good places to eat, expecting the unexpected (because what part of traveling with kids is expected?), those are all great tips that will certainly make your trip easier to manage. But one thing many parents overlook is the importance of carefully planning your sleeping arrangements, because, even though they're not the most active part of your trip, they're one of the most important.
According to the Sleep Foundation, children spend about 40 percent of their childhood asleep. And although that number is a little shocking, its great evidence of just how important a good night's sleep is for children's mental and physical development. The Sleep Foundation recommends infants get nine to 12 hours of sleep per night (excluding daytime naps), toddlers should get 11 to 14 hours per day, and children ages 6 to 13 should average nine to 11 hours.
Certainly, there is a certain amount of flexibility required for a family vacation. You're away from home, from your routine, and any sense of normalcy, so a little bit of sleep loss is to be expected. But doing everything you can to give your kids a good night of sleep will help them be able to enjoy your jam packed schedule as they should.
Here are a few tips to ensure that sleep isn't a lost art on your trip this year.
1. Book A Larger Room
If possible, book a room with separate beds (or even a joined room, if your kids are old enough), so that you're not all crammed into one bed and an uncomfortable couch.
2. Stick To Your Nighttime Routine
Parents noted the importance of a good sleep routine — an importance that doesn't diminish when you're away from home. While it may not be possible to keep things exactly as they are at home, try and stick to the same routine. If you give your kids a bath after dinner, do that on vacation. Remember to pack their favorite books, or stuffed animal, to keep things consistent.
3. Schedule In Sleep
Be it naptime or a full night of sleep, don't forget to include them in your overall schedule. It can be easy to book your schedule full with fun activities, but not including sleep will make it hard for anyone to enjoy the parts of your vacation you worked so hard to plan.