Summer is finally here and we are jumping for joy! Every summer, we try to take a family vacation whether it be a few hours away to a cottage, go on a road trip or somewhere really adventurous with kids that involves a plane!! Wherever we may go, it’s not home, which mean my kids sleep is likely to be affected. While we are trying to enjoy every minute of our vacation, our kids end up off schedule with no naps or late bedtime. Thanks to the #PampersBabyPanel and Olympian Mark Oldershaw, who knows all about what it’s like to be a parent and how important sleep is, I had the opportunity to speak with Alanna McGinn, owner and founder of goodnight sleepsite, who gave me some great tips on sleep when travelling with kids. Here is what she shared with me:

Conducive Sleep Environments

Consistency is so important – Try and remain consistent while you are away. To do so, keep the following in mind:

  • Bring along items to familiarize an unfamiliar environment

  • Make sure that you are creating a conducive sleep environment (read the rest of the interview on Savvy Sassy Moms to see what a conducive sleep environment looks like) – Bring items that mimic their own sleep environment such as a white noise machine, travel blackout blinds and a pillow case or blankets with familiar smell from home

  • Try to stick to your child’s sleep routine as best as possible. While you want to enjoy every minute of your trip, you will benefit most from putting a few hours aside to keep their naps the same

  • Keep the 80/20 rule in mind – 80% of the time, try and protect their sleep routine as best you can and 20% of the time whatever happens happens, but try not to do it consistently

  • Remember, when you get home, bad habits may be picked up along the way. The key is to make sure that when you get home you get right back on track!

Keep these tips in mind when travelling to set yourself up for successful sleep on your relaxing vacation!

Sleeping on the go

Our last vacation was such a nightmare when it came to my 2-year olds sleep. As we are beginning to think about summer travel, I am a bit scarred from our last trip! When I looked back on the whole experience, I was able to determine that she was going through the 18 month sleep regression. I spoke with Alanna to debunk the myths about sleep regressions.

  • Sleep regressions can be due to teething, milestones or illness

  • If you’re baby is sick, the rules go out the window!

  • Teething does not affect sleep as much as we think it does. You don’t need to feed your baby to sleep or rock them to sleep when they are teething – we use this as an excuse, but they don’t need us to soothe them

  • Transitions are very difficult – for example, learning how to roll and learning to stand in their crib. While we are so excited that they have met these milestone, we have to take everything that comes along with them! Alanna says that you just have to power through the phase as they are learning what to do and the sleep will come back!

When do sleep regressions occur?

4 month sleep regression

  • The 4 month sleep regression – We all have different phases of sleep in a sleep cycle, but when babies are born, they are in a deeper state of sleep for a longer period of time within one cycle of sleep. This is why they are able to fall asleep anywhere at the beginning. At 4 months, their sleep phases begin to change and they have longer stretches of lighter sleep before they fall into a deep sleep. At this point, they need to learn how to put themselves to sleep. This is when your child is ready to be sleep trained.

  • The 8/9 months & 10 month – These sleep regressions are due to milestones

  • The 18 months – This sleep regression is behavioural. At this age, they are pushing their limits and they begin testing you to see what they can get away with! (This was what was happening in my house for almost 2 months, which coincided with our last vacation)

  • Your child many go through some, all or none of these sleep regressions. You must “trust your mama gut” as Alanna McGinn says – if you know they are healthy and not in pain, then they can continue to sleep, they don’t need to re-learn it, so leave them alone they will be ok!

I asked Alanna about how long children should sleep. She shared the new guidelines from the American academy of paediatrics:

Newborn – 4 month olds should sleep 14 to 18 hours a day

4 – 12 month olds should sleep 12 to 15 hours a day

1 – 2 year olds should sleep 11 to 14 hours a day

3 – 5 year olds should sleep 10 to 12 hours a day

Alanna always recommends to aim for the higher end of the spectrum. At goodnight sleepsite, Alanna and her team of Global Sleep Consultants help babies, children and adults get a better night sleep! Get in touch with her though her site!