Ah this brings back memories – some good and some bad! I have to say that even the thought of a hotel stay with our two boys were terrifying. The thing is that they were good sleepers but sleeping in a different bed and a different room with all the unusual smells and sounds often brings with it a sense of concern and stress. This often means that even those children who are great sleepers often have trouble sleeping.
When we booked our trip to Disneyland Paris I was so looking forward to the hotel, it looked like something dreams were made off. However, the niggling thought of how we were going to sleep and how well was always playing on my mind.
I don’t want you to fear because I am here to share with you what I found worked for me all those times we ventured to overnight hotel stays. I can tell you that you and your children will be having sweet dreams sleeping in hotel rooms if you follow these simple steps.
Planning is key to sleeping in hotel rooms with a toddler or baby. When you are researching your accommodation check to see what services they offer for families. Some hotels are great as they cater so well for families with small children. This is great if you want a connecting room for your little ones or if you need a cot. This is particularly handy as it means you don’t have to bring a travel cot with you.
Having connecting rooms is a great idea of your little ones usual sleep in their own rooms at home. If you can’t get a connecting room then try to divide the room up so there is some kind of barrier between you and them. This has the effect of eliminating any stimulation otherwise they will think it’s playtime having you in the same room.
What is also very useful is to take the pillow case from your child’s bed and put it on the hotel pillow case. My son never went anywhere without his blanket. We took it on holiday too as it was a comfort for him.
- Request a connecting room if possible
- Request a cot
- Bring your own pillow case
- Pack well in advance
- Bring your child’s favourite toy
- Download an app that allows you to play soothing music for your child.
Start your trip well rested
No matter where you are travelling get yourself well rested beforehand. Travel coupled with being tired and not able to sleep is a recipe for disaster and can really impact on how your baby or toddler is feeling. Make sure your child is well rested before any travel or journey and get them in the habit of taking naps too. Being well rested and not sleep deprived will mean your baby or toddler will be able to adjust to any new sleep schedule during the holiday.
Assess your surroundings
Getting to know the room, the hotel and outside the hotel is important. It’s important from a health and safety angle to make sure your child doesn’t come to any harm but also to let your child see the surroundings too so they get familiar with them.
If your child is old enough, let them decide where they want to sleep and talk to them about the room and where things are. There is nothing worse than wakening up in a strange place and not knowing where you are or what is going on.
Timing is everything
Although you are on holiday, try your best to stick to a sleep schedule, although this may be changed slightly. Children love routine and if it’s similar to what happens at home they will relax more. If your child has a bath at night time do the same, if you read to them, again do the same.
If you are out and about during the day and won’t be back until late, consider bringing PJs with you for your child along with their toy. That way they are ready for bed when they get back and won’t lose any sleep.
Set the scene for a great night’s sleep
Try your best to provide the exact environment your child usually goes asleep in at the hotel. For example if you use blackout blinds, ask the hotel to make sure they have blackout curtains – although most hotels do now. Also remember to bring a story for your child to read or another option is if your child has a sleeping bag, get them to use it before going on holiday so they are used to it when they are at the hotel. Music can also help – especially relaxing music so set the scene and remember that you may not be ready to sleep but keeping the sound low when your child is will help them sleep.
Keep Kids Up Later
Another option if the above fail is to keep the children up later. What may also help is for you the parents to go to bed earlier. This will close the gap between the children going to bed and yourself so you aren’t sitting thinking about not making a noise. This will help you all get a good night’s sleep and waken up well rested, rather than grumpy parents and cranky kids!
Alone Time & Take Turns
If you want to stay up later, consider getting a room with a balcony so you can take some time out and sit with a glass of wine. Another alternative is for your and your partner to take turns and have some alone time in the hotel for a coffee or just sitting watching the world go by. As parents we often neglect ourselves and getting that much needed alone time. So why not use some of that time after your child has gone to bed to do just that?
Explore Other Accommodation
It’s not just about hotels. There are so many other options for accommodation that you could consider and that may be better for you. For example what about AirBnB or a cottage rental? There are so many options these days and good deals that you shouldn’t dismiss anything out of hand at all. I am sure you will find one that will suit your needs and budget.
Remember you are on holiday!
As parents we often try to achieve perfection. Please don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you follow the tips above you will have done a great job. Don’t be super strict, go with the flow to some extent and allow yourself and your family to have fun. Just do the best you can.
Even if your child ends up in the same bed as you, while it’s not an ideal situation sometimes it’s best that you get some sleep rather than none. When you return from holiday you are all back in your own bed and your home routine can start again. If your child’s normal sleep routine didn’t go as planned, remind them on the way home about the routine and they will be expected to follow it.
I hope that you have a great time on holiday and have some wonderful dreaming too!