18 answers

Naps and Sleeping During Travel for a Toddler

We are going on vacation next week with our 15-month-old daughter. She is a very routine-oriented baby and still needs her two naps a day. I haven't had her take a nap in her Pack n Play she was like 6 months. But she will be sleeping in it on the trip. I have a terrible feeling our first family vacation is going to be a nightmare.
Anyone have any advice on what to do? My only idea is try to force her to take naps in the pack and play this week and maybe by Saturday she will be used to it and not throw a fit when we are on vacation. A friend also suggested that I give her a little dose of Children's benadryl so she will be really tired when I put her down the first time or two.
Anyone been through this??
Thanks for the help!

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Hi, my daughter had a hard time sleeping in her pnp until I bought a mattress for it (I think it was about $20.00) and put the pnp sheets on top. When we didn't take the xtra mattress we used a pnp mattress pad and 2 sets of pnp sheets which made a big difference because they were softer and she slept much better.

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Vacations are times for a change in routine, relaxing and having fun. I'd just go with the flow and drop the routine. She'll probably do fine. On vacations, I often ended up lying down with the kids for quiet time, reading books together and then resting/sometimes sleeping with them. They usually got back into whatever they were used to doing when we got home. She's very old for 2 naps a day. Some kids her age don't even take a nap at all. I'd say you've been very lucky and it may change after this, but she's growing up. No getting around that! Have fun!

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Hi, my daughter had a hard time sleeping in her pnp until I bought a mattress for it (I think it was about $20.00) and put the pnp sheets on top. When we didn't take the xtra mattress we used a pnp mattress pad and 2 sets of pnp sheets which made a big difference because they were softer and she slept much better.

1 mom found this helpful

Some of the things that helped us during travel was to bring along familiar sights, sounds and smells. So we brought several stuffed animals or blankies that our girls slept with (even though they took up room), we brought the sound machine that we ALWAYS used at home, we brought a travel mobile that we used several days prior to the trip, and once at our destination we had our children help us set up the space (so they would see the pack-n-play and help put all of their bedtime things inside). We also brought a travel swing that folded up, and often had them fall asleep in the swing and then transferred them to their bed. Since our daughters didn't fall asleep well with us in the room, we would bring am monitor and then watch a movie on our laptop in the hotel hallway until we knew they were asleep.

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We did the same rthing when my son was 18 months. He had no issue with the pack-n-play, just more the new environment. It only took, say 10 minutes longer to get him to go to sleep on his own. Also, the biggest reason for my response, I have know people to try the Benadryl thing for a plane ride...only to have it completely backfire! It make their son very hyper! So I would risk it and don't use anything. Just bring everything for the normal routine, books, blankets etc. And pretend nothing is different! Good luck, it will be fine!

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Like some other posters have said, your child could have a little adjustment to the new environment but should be OK. I think it's a great idea to try having her sleep in the pack n play right now to get her used to it. But the thing I've found that is most important is that you need to act like it's no big deal. It's amazing how babies can read our anxieties and they feed off of them. If your daughter can sense that you're super anxious about putting her to bed in the pack n play, she may give you a harder time. Other than that, you can establish a nice, new routine while on vacation and your daughter shoudl be OK. We did our first week-long vacation when my daughter was also 15 months. She did great in the pack n play. We stuck to her 2 a day naps and tried to keep bed time close to the same as at home (following routine, including putting her down at a good time - not too late).

Enjoy your trip!

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I've travelled a lot with my children & the biggest mistake I made one time with my youngest was putting her down in a new surrounding for the first time at BEDTIME. It was a disaster. But I am confident that if I put her down for her nap, when it was bright & she could get familiar with her new surroundings, we would have been much better off.
But stay firm - the first couple of times going down may be tough, but don't give in (i.e. don't take her into your bed), unless you're willing to do that for the duration of your trip.
And a final note on the benadryl - my children are ones to get hyper, not sleepy - so I'm living proof of the suggestions some other moms made! Steer clear!
Good luck & have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

Vacations are times for a change in routine, relaxing and having fun. I'd just go with the flow and drop the routine. She'll probably do fine. On vacations, I often ended up lying down with the kids for quiet time, reading books together and then resting/sometimes sleeping with them. They usually got back into whatever they were used to doing when we got home. She's very old for 2 naps a day. Some kids her age don't even take a nap at all. I'd say you've been very lucky and it may change after this, but she's growing up. No getting around that! Have fun!

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start putting her down in the pack and play...
when you get to where you are staying try to find a corner to put the pack and play in. In hotels I try to put the pack and play in a corner wehre the tv and bathroom light will not be so bothersome.
Use the same blankets in the pack and play as you use in her crib...
She will tire out because of the change of pace... Or just let her stay up a bit later than normal.

All of my kids were self routine oriented... So much so that at about 1 yr old I didn't need to put them in a pack and play but just had to lay them down and tell them " go to sleep". AND THEY WOULD... lol
If the pack and play doesn't work, you could always take a few minutes, get a good book and lay down with her. Keep her laying down (or if she's in the pack and play tell her to lay back down)Turn away from her and read your book quietly then sneak out once she falls asleep...
Maybe you and hubby could take turns.
My hubby always got the munchkins to conk out faster than I could... I always teased him about knowing where the off switches were.

Good luck and I can tell you from experience... We always THINK things are going to be alot worse than they actually turn out to be...

Have FUN!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.
I would drive to MN from MI about twice a year to visit with family. I used a sling to carry my daughter when we were out and about. And to comfort her when she would get over tired. It worked great for us, helped me hold her without my arms breaking off, and she relax and fall asleep nicely. I try to just go with the flow and watch her for ques for what she needed. I liked the advice before mine about how she might surprise you, my daughter just turned 6 and it's true. Oh the big thing is if your stressed about how her naps will go, she's going to pick up on that and they won't go as smoothly. And my big tip is rescue remedy and remedy sleep www.rescueremedy.com/products/ There all natural, I use them on our whole family even the cat.
Good luck & have fun. A. H

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I've heard the childrens benadryl....but my ped said not to give it to my child....at all. You might want to check on that....plus giving meds for that reason?

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Your daughter might surprise you. I find that my daughter surprises me constantly. She never liked to nap away from home, but after a while, she did it. Also, we took a few vacations last summer, and i was afraid of the same thing. She did GREAT! not a problem at all. skip the medicine. chances are, your daughter might be so worn out from all the new experiences and fresh air, she'll poop out easily! but, you could try putting her for a nap in the p & p just to try, but don't worry too much if it doesn't go well at home. kids are different away from home. if you're relaxed about it, she probably will be too!

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We flew to Seattle when my daughter was 12 months old. I gave her some Benadryl to "make her sleep" on the flight out there. She did sleep...but only for the taxi and takeoff. Once we were in the air she woke up and was HYPER. I never give my kids Benadryl to make them sleep anymore.
Try out the pack n play beforehand to get her used to sleeping in it. When your daughter's older and you go out of town, you might want to get a kid's tent for her to sleep in. My daughter REFUSED to sleep in a pack and play after age two (maybe b/c she had a toddler bed by then). We got her a tent set at Target that came with a sleeping bag, tent, chair, etc. It was one of the best purchases I have ever made. Now 3.5, she likes to sleep in the tent and is able to look at books or play inside her tent while we are on a trip and we don't have to worry about her waking up and peeking at us from over the side of the pack and play.
GOOD LUCK!

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We spent a week at campmeeting with my 3 month old and I was in fear and trembling, we were in a tent for 10 days. However, she did great, only one night did she cry and fuss about going to sleep.

It will be different sleeping in a new place, but the pack and play should do the trick, just like a crib. I'd pack several extra blankets to pad the bottom with, and her favorite toys that she sleeps with, and just go for it. If she gives you a hard time the first night, the second will be easier and so on. They get used to it. Just follow the same routine and rules that you have at home about bed time.

Best wishes!

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Be careful with the Benadryl!! It can have to opposite affect on children, it could make her hyper. If you are staying in a hotel, most have cribs available all you have to do is call the front deck. We did this with my daughter at around 19 months and she would not sleep in her pack n play. I would lay with her in the bed for a few minutes then move her to the crib and she slept great! I would suggest asking for a crib at the hotel, btw I brought my own crib sheet since the crib sheets get washed with the hotel laundry and my daughter has sensitive skin.

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I would give nap time a try in the pack n play in her room at home for a couple of days before your trip. Maybe that will get her used to it. I would be careful though about the benadryl, some kids get really hyper from it, instead of drowsy.

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I would avoid the Benadryl - there are a good chunk of kids who actually get over the top, crazy hyper as a reaction to the medication.

In terms of being very routine-oriented, I would think two things. First, you will be way out of routine on vacation and your daughter might be okay with a total change. Kids are surprisingly adaptive if we let be (and not freak out about it). Second, there are parts that might be rough (really when is any kid an angle for days in a row) just know that there will be rougher times, maybe nap time for you, but there will also be great times to make up for it.

Our first trip with my son, who is a terrible sleeper but great out in public, he was a nightmare at every restaurant we went to for the first two days but slept with no issues. Best wishes for a fun, relaxing trip!

1 mom found this helpful

oh, you reserrected my nightmare trip to Chicago when she was 15 mos too!! My daugther who was/is a great sleeper...but not out of town... we also brought the pack n'play...brought her same blankets, lovey, pacifier, etc. the first night she slept in the pnp (due to tiredness of travel i believe) but REFUSED to take naps in it and wouldn't go to bed in it the next two nights. in addition, the room we were in just did't get "dark enough" especially during the day. i had to rock her...in the closet...to get her to sleep, then i just laid her on the floor. so, in the end, i made a makeshift bed on the floor for her. each time it took 45-60min to get her to go down since this wasn't the usual method/ environment. it ruined the trip for me to say the least because i knew what was instore with each nap and night.
I didn't try out the pack n play beforehand...but I think that's great advice.

I can't offer advice about this since my daughter did freak out on our vacation when she had to sleep in the pack-n-play and hadn't before that time (except when very little like your daughter). I just wanted to wish you good luck and hope it DOES go well for you. If not, know you're not alone. And, it does get better as my daughter is almost 2 now and our most recent vacation just weeks ago was a breeze compared to last fall. Good luck!

i was very worried when we went camping(in a tent) last summer for the first time with our then 5 year old and 14 month old. she napped in the car on trips into town and slept fine at night. she was one to always need her 2 naps too but there was somthing going on all the time she was fine and slept great at night.

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