These tips for better sleep when traveling are a necessity if you have kids. Have you ever tried to get your kids to sleep while on vacation? A different bed, voices in the hallway or a nearby campfire. Of course they said they're not tired! They're jumping up and down on the bed or want to watch the big TV in the room.
The excitement of the day is still coursing through their minds and bodies. Settling down for sleep is the last thing on their minds. And us parents...we just want them to go to sleep!
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Tips for better sleep for kids
If you travel with your kids, then I'm willing to bet you've been through this nightmarish bedtime routine! Seriously, who has the patience for this craziness?
I mean, getting kids to go to sleep on any given day can be difficult. Now, throw in being at a hotel room or a tent when camping, and you have a whole new set of challenges on your hands.
Frustrating and exhausting, but keep it together as here are the best tips for better sleep when traveling with children.
Keeping to their routine as close as possible is essential for kids. Dark room at home? Pull the curtains, close the tent, even hang towels. Do what you must to make the room dark. Do they sleep with a favorite friend or blanket? Be sure to bring those with you as well.
Rub lotion on kid's feet
This may sound a bit silly, but if you're child is bouncing off the walls and you need them to calm down - give this a try! Squeezing a small amount of lotion into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and then rub your hands up and down the length of their feet. Don't forget to rub gently and between their toes. It may feel cold to them at first or they may give you a few giggles. But it's definitely worth it for the smiles and to help getting them into a relaxing state for sleep.
Listen to a meditation
There are many apps that offer meditations for kids available on your smart phone. One of our favorites is Relax Melodies App. This soothing app will help everyone get to sleep! I have used it with my 9 year old, as well as myself, when trying to get to sleep. It works A-mazing!
In their app, choose from one of their many soothing sounds or our favorite is the 15-Minute Body Scan which is a soothing fifteen mediation which helps my son (age 8) fall asleep no matter where he is!
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Since writing this post, I have come across a couple of other great mediation apps. The Calm app has a ton of great stories as well as mediations to choose from. I especially like their Thomas the Train mediations for kids. But, seriously, they work for any age.
And finally, Shine is another recent favorite. I enjoy listening to Shine each morning when I wake to get refreshed and ready for the day. I also enjoy their positive affirmation.
Deep slow breaths
I'll warn you, that if you do this with your child, you may also fall asleep! So, if you were looking forward to some quiet time AFTER the kids go to sleep, don't say I didn't forewarn you.
Walk them through taking a deep breathe in and then slowly exhale. You may even want to tell them to put a hand on their belly so they can feel their belly fill up with air when breathing in and then go down when exhaling.
Another idea is to have them clench their toes tightly and then release them. Then tighten their legs and release them. Continue with their hands, close them into tight fists and then open them.
Again, this one works for me so be ready for sleep when you try it!
Create a made up story
Shut the lights off, snuggle up and start the story. Our stories always have our boys as the knights or heroes of the story and they are saving a parent or a friend. This type of story may not get them sleeping, but it will get the thoughts of the day a little further from the front of their minds so they can get ready for sleep.
The story can be as long or as short as you want it to be and you can even start talking in a much lower and an even s-l-o-w-e-r voice so they start to fall asleep.
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Unique night light
The night light we love to use is the Twilight Ladybug by Cloud b. When the lights off and the night light on, the room fills up with a starry night sky projected up onto the walls and ceiling of the room.
The instructions contain real star locations to find, however, we usually would stare at it and/or make up a quick game of 'what can you see?' in the lit up constellation. And it has a automatic shut off so when kids fall asleep with it on.
Make brownies or pancakes
Not real brownies or pancakes! I will pretend I'm making brownies on their back by first having a child lay on their belly. Both my boys love this so much, they ask for it often when we are away from home and can't sleep. The feel of mom's hands on their back and smoothing voice helps to get them relaxed for sleep.
Pretend you're dropping eggs on their back, by plopping your hand down on them gently. 'Mix the batter' by stirring your fingers around on their back. Next it's time to 'cook' by rubbing their backs or flipping your hand back and forth for pancakes flipping. Use your imagination while walking through the steps of making brownies or pancakes. Your kids will ask for this often!
Let them be kids
Remember that you are after all on vacation and maybe going to bed an hour later or letting them jump on the bed to get some energy out, just might be the thing they need to do. If you're at a hotel, a dip in the pool is not only refreshing but gets out lots of energy, making them tired for bedtimes. If camping, having a campfire with friends is a good way to end a fabulous day outdoors. Be creative and remember to have fun with your kids!
Expert tips for better sleep
- Keep the room dark
- Bring any sleep buddies or blankets kids sleep with at home
- Rub lotion on their hands or feet in a slow rhythmic pattern
- Listen to a meditation or white noise
- Take deep slow breaths together
- Create & share a made up story
- Bring a unique night light
- Message or rub their back while making 'brownies'
- Set expectations ahead of time with your child
- Participate in fun 'get the energy out' activities before bed
Don't let over exhausted kids ruin your daily travel plans. Try one or a couple of these tips for better sleep when you are away from home. With a little patience and creativity, your children will be asleep and you can all get ready for the next day of adventures!
Wow thanks for the helpful tips. It has always been my struggle to put my toddler to sleep whenever we travel. I'm glad I found this post
Thanks Akyn - I hope these ideas help! Sometimes for us its just a matter of getting our boys to calm down so they can sleep.
Getting my daughter to sleep while travelling has not been that difficult since she dozes off quickly. Touchwood to that 🙂 Lovely read.
Lucky you!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
This was such an informative post. I never thought of rubbing lotion on my children's feet when on vacation to relax them and get them to sleep. That's a great tip I'll have to try on our next trip.
Thanks Megan! My younger boy loves it and giggles often. My older guy is getting too big for it but is open to the other suggestions.
Lovely tips, I always had a issue while travelling kids get exausted and then they become cranky . I will try these tips for sure. thanks for sharing
Thanks Jiya! I hope they help! My boys are the same, they get so overtired and then have a hard time calming down before sleep comes.
Nice looking very nice your boy & your family
Thank you Dharma! I appreciate the comment.
I've been facing this kinds of problem with my kids while travelling. I always love to travel but for this one reason it is getting more difficult. Hope I've got my solution & it will help me a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.
What a magnificent post! Thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful experience with us. I always love to travel but not sure about travelling with my baby your post has given me motivation. Now I'm pretty much relaxed. Once again thanks a lot.
Great idea! i am sure no kid will escape sleep with this tips especially the Bedtime Routine, the made up story and the unique night light.
i will try it out.
Very nice article for the kids to sleep better while traveling. I have two little kids. I will travel on the last of December in my vacation period. Getting enough sleep is very very important for the baby to become healthy and fit. All the tips you shared in this article are great. I appreciate your ideas. Thank you.
Tonya | the Writer Mom
Awesome ideas! I'll have to try the lotion trick next time my daughter won't sleep.
Thanks Tonya! Hope it helps!
I actually found this article quite helpful. I particularly like the making pancakes or brownies on their back. How creative! Thanks!
My kids both love this too! They will often ask for it even when it's not time to sleep! Thank you!
So similar to the pancake thing, we "say goodnight to our kid's body." We say goodnight to each part of their body with a little massage. I thought it sounded dumb at first, but it really relaxes them, so I can understand that the pancake thing would work as well. Thanks for sharing!
That's a great idea about saying goodnight to each body part, I think my younger guy would like that and we'll give that a try. Thanks for the tip!
Great Tips! My kids wake us up at all hours while on vacay! I need a vacay from our family vacay hahah! I love the imagination game of the baking on their backs! I bet they fall asleep thinking of pancakes!! Thanks!
haha they may fall asleep dreaming of pancakes or brownie - I probably would! They often ask for that even when they are awake - haha Thank you.
These tips are amazing, i can't thank you enough. I actually love the lotion idea, thinl I'll give it a try.
Great ideas and tips. In near future, I need these tips. Thanks for sharing here with us.
Something very creative and great list you have shared with us. This is really helpful list to all.
Thank you, I really appreciate the comment and I hope it helps.
It is indeed a very written article. My wife has another technique that she uses. She massages the kids feet and then apply menthol vicks on the kids feet and let them wear socks to sleep which always works like a charm.
I will surely share this information to my wife and friends.
Hi Francis, Thanks for stopping by. I have heard of that working when the kids have a cold but I’ve never tried it myself on the kids. I will give it a try the next time we need something. Thank you.
Great tips! But as I've noticed, my cousins were all so hyper all through out the day that they would automatically be asleep when bed time comes HAHAHAHHAHAHAHA Anyways, I like the idea of putting up unique night lights. I remember having stars and moons stickers on my ceiling that I would just stare at them until I feel asleep.
Haha exactly! That’s how my oldest son can be, play all day and as soon as his head hits the pillow - he’s out! My youngest needs a mediation or nightlight - something calming. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Wow great tips. What works best for me is to ensure that the kids have lots of activities that way they are really exhausted and they sleep really quickly.
Yes - I love that tip and do agree but sometimes it backfires on me because they are so tired, they meltdowns. But definitely being active and thus exhausted is good thing to try! Thank you.
It is really a great blog post to read and I found some interesting tips for kids to sleep while traveling. So thanks for sharing it with us.
Yes, Here something is very creative and great list you have shared with us. This is a really helpful list to all.❤❤