Just how do you organise your sleeping arrangements when you book holiday accommodation with the kids? We’ve found it can be a tricky thing to get right and share our top 10 tips with you now:
1. Check what’s provided.
Most hotels can provide you with a travel cot. However it is worthwhile ringing ahead to make sure and check exactly what is provided. If sleep is precious to you and you have the space it may be worthwhile packing your own travel cot, ready bed or lilo if your child is familiar with it and sleeps well in it.
2. What time is bedtime?
If you’re staying in a hotel it’s worthwhile thinking about what you will do when it’s time for the kids to go to sleep. Will you all eat together earlier and retire at the same time? Or, will you and your partner have a picnic in the room once the kids are asleep? This will obviously vary according to the ages of your children and how tired you all are after your day’s activities.
We sometimes look for rooms with a separate lounge area with pull out sofa bed and small kitchen. Once we have got the children to sleep we can then enjoy a relatively civilised evening with a proper meal (ok, microwavable but nonetheless!), wine and a film! Personally we prefer this option to using the hotel babysitting service.
3. Getting to sleep
If you’re all sharing a room trying to get the kids to sleep in the first place can be a major achievement. We often find we have to literally lay low on the bed for a while, reading and waiting for the kids to dose off, but once they have, we can put some low lighting, TV on and enjoy a glass of wine. If you have a child in a travel cot who is easily distracted it may even be worthwhile finding a position in the room where they can’t see you!
4. Children of different ages
If your children are totally different ages with different bedtimes and you are all sharing a room it may be that you have to accept you have a shared ‘lights out’ time, and the older ones can perhaps listen to headphones or read with a small book lamp
5. Blackout blinds
Think about taking portable black out blinds if your baby or child sleeps best without any outside light. These can also help with any time zone adjustment.
6. Keep the routine
Don’t forget that even on holidays kids love routines. Even if you’ve had a busy day you may find they settle better at night if you stick with your usual routine of bath, story, milk and bed. The surroundings may be different but if the routine is familiar it may encourage a settled night.
7. Bedtime comforter
Don’t forget their favourite toy to cuddle at night!
8. Be flexible
Sometimes you might just have to accept that you must go with the flow when you’re away from home. I remember camping with the kids and having to abandon any kind of routine (I know, I know – undermines what I said in point 6 but I did try this and it didn’t work! Sometimes, as a parent, it’s about having different strategies to try and finding one that works for you). Late nights were compensated with extra naps in the pushchair or car during the day. Eventually after the first few days things settled down and bedtime reverted more towards their usual times.
9. Early morning rules
Encourage older children to read or entertain themselves quietly if they wake early instead of disturbing other members of the family. It’s important to respect that other people may still be resting!
10. Travelling across time zones
If you are travelling to different time zones for a short family holiday it’s worthwhile considering whether you’re even going to bother adjusting to the new time zones. It may even suit you better to keep things on home time, or only adjust them slightly. If this is not feasible you will just have to expect that children will adjust themselves gradually and naturally over a period of time to their new environment. If you can, factor in this adjustment on your return home and be prepared for a few dozey days at the end of your holiday!
What are your tips for surviving sleeping on holiday with the kids?
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