Are you gearing up for summer holidays? Warm summer weather is just around the corner and it’s time to buckle up for a trip to the great outdoors! But how will you keep your little camper’s sleep on track as you hit the road for a rustic adventure?

Whether you’re hitting back country trails or prefer glamping to camping, a holiday with an overtired child is really no holiday at all.  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Here are some tips to help your little one sleep like a baby and be a happy camper at the same time.
sleep and camping

    • Rest up

      Ensure your children are well rested prior to your holiday. Kids who are getting enough sleep prior to travel will adapt better to changes in their sleep schedule. Following a consistent bedtime and naptime routine at home makes travel easier because your little ones will understand what’s expected when you conduct these routines in the great outdoors. If you feel your children are overtired prior to your holiday, try an earlier bedtime for 5 nights before you leave to pay back any sleep debt they may have built up before beginning your vacation.

    • Gear up

      Having the right sleep gear can help your happy camper sleep like a baby. Crib tents are a great option if your tent or trailer doesn’t have space for a playpen or travel crib.

      If your trailer is tight on space, measure the area where the dining table stands. Often times this space is large enough for a playpen. If yours fits, consider removing the table for the evening and placing the playpen in that space.

Green Kidco Peapod Plus Travel Bed

Kidco Peapod Plus Travel Bed

  • Load up

    Don’t be afraid to bring along any necessities that will make sleep a little easier on everyone. Pack along toddler bed rails, safety gates and familiar comfort items from home. Consider taking fitted sheets right off your children’s beds and using them for your trip. Don’t forget the loveys that your little ones are attached to. White noise is especially useful when a family is all sleeping in one space together.

  • Cover up

    Don’t let the cold evening air ruin a good night’s sleep for your little campers.

    If your baby is using a sleep sack at home, consider packing a couple of options in both heavy and light togs for your trip. Bring pyjamas in various weights and extra bedding for older children.
    Aden+Anais Cozy Sleep Sack

  • Darken up

    Healthy, restorative sleep requires the absence of light. Do your best to darken sleeping spaces. If you’re camping in a trailer, visit your local hardware store and pick up a roll of double reflective insulation. Cut it to fit and pop it into your windows to block heat and light. Consider a do-it-yourself sewing project for any curtains that are not effective at keeping out light. Pick up an inexpensive blackout curtain, cut it to fit your existing curtains and sew or adhere the new shade to the back of the existing one. To ensure total black out, pick up some Velcro and sew or attach with adhesive to your improved curtains to eliminate any sleep disrupting light.
    Blackout curtains for campingIf you’re tenting, be sure to use the tent’s fly and hang tarps for extra shade.

  • Switch up

    If you have little ones who require a daytime nap, consider having them sleep in the space with the most privacy. Napping your baby in the kitchen of a trailer while you try to make lunch will probably result in a nap fail. Having daytime naps in a bedroom area that can be closed off with a curtain or a door will lead to longer, more restful naps. Take a look at your child’s schedule and either stick with it or make changes as needed. Taking an occasional nap on the go or one on the beach isn’t going to be a disaster for a well-rested child. If naps aren’t as long as they would be at home, compensate for a busy camping day with an earlier bedtime.

  • Freshen up

    When you return home, follow our steps to sleep well after a holiday and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at alysa@sleepwellbaby.ca
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