Even if your children are now fairly good sleepers at home, the thought of a hotel stay probably brings an element of fear. Will their usual sleeping habits go out the window? Will we all end up like sleep deprived zombies during our holiday bliss?
An overnight stay in a gorgeous hotel is something that dreams are made of. Literally. I used to take things like this for granted before I had a baby. But now in my new #mumlife, the opportunities are few and far between and and I would do anything just to choose from a pillow menu, order room service and watch a good movie surrounded by a big lush blanket. So how can you still indulge in a luxury staycation or travel around the world sleeping in hotels with kids without fear of sleepless nights in new surroundings?
Never fear. Out & About Baby is here. Turns out sweet dreams can be achieved, and these top six tips will help you on your way to a night of solid slumber.
How to get your kids to sleep in a hotel room
1. Plan ahead
When choosing your accommodation, look into whether it will cater for your family’s specific needs (A quick accomodation search on Out & About Baby can help you with that part). Does the hotel have connecting room options? Can your little kids sleep in the bed with you? Will the hotel provide a travel cot to save you taking yours? Is linen for it provided too?
If you’re sharing a room and the children usually sleep in their own rooms at home, consider creating a visual barrier between yourself and the kids to discourage visual stimulation and extra overnight waking. If possible, a larger double room that you can seperate off into a living area and bedroom or interconnecting rooms can really help with this.
Another good tip is to take the linen off the cot or your toddlers’ pillow case from home with you, so the bedding smells familiar and is comforting.
2. Start your trip well-rested
Travel, whether by car, plane, or train, can rob anyone of shut eye, but it especially takes its toll on young children and babies who accumulate sleep debts quickly. Aim to have your child well-rested before leaving for your trip, taking restorative naps, and sleeping well at night in the days leading up to when you leave. Babies and children whose sleep tanks are full can adapt much easier to schedule changes and a little lost sleep here or there.
3. Assess your surroundings
Before you settle in, check around the hotel room to see that it’s baby-proofed to your kid’s needs. Put sharp objects or breakables in drawers or on shelves up high. You’ll sleep better knowing this is all sorted!
Then decide where your kids will sleep and let them know early on so that they can get used to their new surroundings. Clear a space for the cot or pull-out bed and have that ready so at bedtime, there aren’t delays or distractions.
4. Timing is everything
If you can, try and stick to the sleeping schedule you have at home but this will naturally relax a little when you’re away. If bath, books, and song are parts of your normal routine, try to stick to them. If you are with extended family and Nanna or Uncle Sam want to participate, let them join in or take over! It’s not so much about who does it, but that the routines are as consistent and predictable as they are at home.
If you’re out sightseeing for the day, think about taking your little kids’ PJ’s with you. That way you can change them on the way back to the hotel and if they fall asleep on the way back, you can (hopefully) transfer them into their bed without waking them.
You might also consider using a ‘Sleep Cover’ for the pram at sleep time to help create the sleeping environment when out of the accommodation such as a CoziGo.
5. Set the scene
Is your child used to a completely blacked out room at home? Most hotels have blackout blinds fitted so it’s a good idea to put these to use.
Also, do they have a favourite book to read before bed? Or a favourite stuffed toy next to them? Sleeping bag? Take those with you too.
Music can help too. If the little ones are having trouble settling down to sleep easily, play some relaxation music to calm them to sleep.
6. Remember, you’re on holiday
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Unless you’re super strict, some days you are going to be staying up much later than usual. Just go with it and do the best you can.
And if your toddler ends up in your bed with you, even though that is not your ideal sleeping arrangement, then so be it. The key to a successful transition back home is communication ahead of time: tell them this is a special sleeping arrangement just for the trip but when you return, you will be back in your own bed, and he will be in his. Frequent reminders about sleep rules, even on the trip home, are important to avoid the temptations to join you in bed upon return.
Hopefully the memories you create on holiday far outweigh the sleepless nights that might follow.