Sleep Blog

How to survive a mini break with the kids

I’m just back from a fantastic holibob with my other half, some great mates and our little ones to a well known family-focused, forested resort in the UK. I dipped my toe into this new, alien world with some trepidation for a long weekend recently and was totally converted. They pretty much think of everything and then some. Just what you need to give you the best chance of having a relaxing family break…well, as relaxing as a family break can be.

You can lock your locker and pay for a beer by one of the many pools with your plastic wristband, genius! There’s tonnes to do (adults and children) come rain or shine and there’s free baby food in all of the restaurants.

But there was one thing where I felt that they’d missed a trick. Back in our contemporary lodge, the curtains in the bedroom were as thin as a wafer with no blackout lining. For parents with children who love nothing more than waking up at the crack of dawn when a mere centimetre of light enters their room, this is a massive pain in the proverbial and an oversight for a company whose mission is clearly to make your families holiday with them as easy as possible.

My little girl is SUPER sensitive to light so I had a Plan B to fall back on and it got me thinking about how stressful holidays and nights away can be for parents of children who have trouble sleeping and those that are sensitive to change and routine busters.

So I put together a few suggestion that can make a night away from home less stressful for you and your family. Some conventional and some not so:

Strange, new environment – Get the bedroom/sleeping room as dark as possible.
A travel or temporary blackout blind are AMAZING. I personally use the Gro Anywhere Blind. If you don’t have one or forget, aluminium foil or black bin liners stuck up with masking tape make an quick and inexpensive fix.

Recreate their space – As far as possible, make the sleeping environment as similar as their bedroom.
Pack their favourite toys as well as their favourite books to read at bedtime. Take your own cot sheets or bedding if possible so there is a recognisable scent.

Routine and familiarity makes your child feel safe and secure and a secure child will sleep adapt to his new environment quicker and easier.

White noise – whether you use white noise at home or not, introducing it for a holiday can be really beneficial in masking noises from a strange new environment, or where siblings/family members are now sharing a room. The sound of a fan or the whirr of the Air Con are great. Make sure the fan isn’t too near the sleeping area and there isn’t a direct breeze on to the cot. If these aren’t available and you can spare a smartphone or iPad then download a white noise app to play. I can recommend Sound Sleeper using the fan noise option.

Take a little more time on the bedtime routine – Help ease any ‘strange place’ anxiety your child might have by not rushing the bedtime routine. Take a little more time with the bedtime stories and a few extra cuddles will help to relax them.

Make the bedtime routine exactly the same as at home – Same time in bed & same routine. Bath…books…bed etc.

Lower your expectations – Letting your child stay up late on holiday whilst you hit the Prosecco might seem like a treat but remember that it’s lost sleep that your child won’t make up. I’m not saying that you can’t do it, just expect an early morning wake up or a grumpy kid the next day.

Plan ahead and make sure it’s your other halves turn to get up with them in the morning 🙂 Cheers

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