We just back from vacation. I thought that I would reshare some tips that have been helpful to me.
There have been a lot of great recent articles on summer related for children and families; many have been thoughtfully gathered by Dr. Heidi Roman in her Summer Safety article . I also really like this article from the New York Times on how not to ruin your own vacation. (In a nutshell, cut the virtual umbilical as much as you can– something I have struggled to do as you can see from my recent volleys of tweets).
We are having a great time here but are dealing with a bit of sleep disruption from the wee ones. Witness the usual view from the foot of my bed at approximately sunrise all week-long. Thus, clearly, I don’t have the secrets of perfect child sleep on vacation. However, I’ve gleaned a few lessons:
- Respect the routine: When we go on vacation we try really hard to maintain our kids’ bedtimes and nap times. Of course, we bend the rules for special occasions like fireworks. (I wish we had seen the display in San Diego where all the fireworks went off at once; all the excitement and home early for bedtime.) Also, some “sneaky sleep” may be unavoidable as the kids will be pretty tuckered out.
- Go to bed early: We were vacationing with cousins, and all the kids got up earlier than normal. If you want to catch up on your sleep, your best chance is by going to bed earlier than normal.
- Make the room dark: Don’t hesitate to hang towels over the windows if you need to– that can make a huge difference in when your child gets up.
- Get creative with the sleeping arrangements: We were staying with several cousins at a vacation home. Our older son shared a “room” (which was a walk in closet) with his 6 year cousin. That way they did not have to get up with their younger siblings (and tired parents) the next day. Of course, this is not perfect; my niece got up at 5:15 AM on the first day and awoken our son as well. Sharing rooms can be a bit tricky for children used to having their own room; older children should be instructed to let others sleep if they wake up early. They may also be a bit chatty at bedtime, but that is part of the fun.
- Jet lag can be tricky: Jet lag occurs when travelling across time zones east or west. You can prepare a bit by putting your kids to bed later for a few days before travelling west or getting them up a bit earlier before travelling east. Children tend to adapt quickly if they have natural light exposure. For more on this topic there are some good articles here and here.
- Be realistic: Remember long relaxing reading sessions by the pool and sleeping on the beach? Yeah, me neither.
- Have fun: Although vacation with little ones may not exactly be restful, we had a ton of fun digging holes in the sand, looking at snails, riding bikes, and having lots of family meals.
Any crazy vacation sleeping stories out there? Please share.