Your baby isn't immune to jet-lag. Even a 3 hour time change can dramatically disrupt their precious sleeping pattern, possibly causing struggle during your family vacation. Below are some tips to help alleviate the change, and make a smoother transition for everyone.
1. Get a head start on the change:
- You don't have to wait until you've reached your final destination to start the sleeping transition. Begin a week or so ahead of time, by putting your child to bed a bit later every night, and getting him up later if you're heading west, or vice-versa if you're going east. Changing bed time by 15-30 minutes each night will not make a noticeable difference to your little one, but will go a long way in preparation.
2. Let them adjust slowly:
- Once you reach your vacation spot, don't try to keep her awake to shock her little system in one night. Let her adjust herself. Her activity level may be higher or lower, depending on your vacation, thus changing her individual need for sleep even more. Utilize the daylight, and let it serve as a cue for her internal clock. Keep her active during the daylight hours, and use calm tones in the evening when you want her to settle down for the night.
3. Bring along some comforts from home:
- If your child needs a certain stuffed animal to sleep with, or a favorite pacifier or noise machine, bring it along with you! Consistently good nights of sleep will probably be worth the cost of an extra checked bag on the plane.
4. Plan travel time wisely:
- If you are aware that your child is not one to sleep in public places, try not to plan travel times around nap times, or red eye flights. Likewise, if your child can fall asleep easily, planning airplane or car travel during naps or night time may be ideal for you. You know your baby and his temperament, though sometimes, he may surprise even a veteran parent!
5. Over-stimulation may bite you later:
- Let's face it, it's your vacation! That may include a trip to visit cross country grandparents, or a family trip to Hawaii. Either way, this experience is all new for your child, and she may become overstimulated easily and quickly. Plan a consistent bedtime routine, which may include out of the ordinary things such as extra quiet time, or rocking time, or lullabies. It may take her a bit to calm down, and relax after an action-packed day.