Updated: Oct 13, 2020
So your summer plans have changed and you're quickly realizing that you need to find fun things to do in your area.
You may have also realized that your chances of a faraway getaway are probably not (okay, more than probably not) happening.
I understand. We had plans too, this summer.
My sister's wedding was downsized, we had to cancel 3 family get-togethers and several other plans. Thankfully, my sister is easy going and is happy to have a small wedding (I, on the other hand, cried for her when this all happened).
Okay, back to the point.
You're more likely to stay close to home or, do a road trip somewhere nearby. Whether you're going to stay in a hotel, holiday trailer, or with family, chances are you'll have to do some prep ahead of time.
I'm talking about looking at pictures of the rooms (if it's an Air BnB type situation) and seeing what kind of blinds are on the windows...
I certainly did this last summer as the views out of the windows were beautiful, and incredibly...bright.
I'm sure the owner thought I was a little bit obsessive as I sent more messages about the type of blinds that were currently on the windows in all the rooms and to see if he was okay if I brought items to block out the light, more than anything else.
If you've traveled with your child at all, you've come to the realization that either: they travel really well and can sleep anywhere, or that they don't travel well and hate the room you are currently trying to get them to sleep in.
If you're in the first category, I envy you!
If you're in the second category, keep reading.
1) Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead
Remember the story I just told you about our Air BnB last summer?
Imagine if I didn't look into the window coverings ahead of time and we ended up sleeping in an incredibly bright room for the entire 10 days we were there...cringe...
You want to know ahead of time what the sleeping arrangements are and plan what to bring so you can make it the best situation possible.
Do you need to bring heavy-duty garbage bags and masking tape to cover the windows? Probably. Thankfully, those items are easy to find and are lightweight. You'll be glad you brought them when you see that the blinds are purely decorative and do nothing for blocking out the 5 am or 11 pm sunlight.
2) Bring items from home
What are the things you use at home during your baby's routine? A sleep sack? Sound machine? Their favorite books?
By bringing those familiar items along, you can replicate the bedtime routine that is done at home that your baby is very familiar with. These elements will help your baby recognize that it is in fact time for sleep as you do their routine and read them their favorite story.
3) Stick to your routine
It can be very tempting when you're away from home to stay out later or keep the kids up late to enjoy the company or activity.
I totally understand!
It's fun to spend time with aunties and uncles or to enjoy the park a bit longer. I usually say to my clients that to do this once or twice isn't a problem, it's if it happens every night for several nights where it then becomes an issue.
The trouble happens when you try to put your baby to bed later than their usual time, combined with lots of stimulation from the new scenery and people, it makes for a very tired baby.
Then multiply that by several days and the sleep debt accumulates and it makes for cranky children!
4) Honor the nap!
It's so easy to skip a nap here or there, or only do on-the-go naps.
It seems fine in your mind to have your baby nap in their stroller for your whole trip, but when it comes down to it, the stroller nap may not be as restful as a nap in a quiet, dark room.
If you're going to be out during nap time, do plan for it!
Have the stroller or carrier ready! Or plan the driving portion of your day around when your child needs to sleep and you'd welcome a car nap.
If you have a poor nap day, due to travel and activities, try to make up for it at bedtime. Be at your accommodations early enough to allow for some quiet time before bed, an enjoyable routine, and a bit of snuggle time before settling down for the night.
Your baby will thank you for it!
I hope you can enjoy your summer even though it may look different than you had originally planned and that it brings about some unexpected moments of joy.
We have been living the park life these days as my kids love our neighborhood parks and I'm glad for it!