At home, nap time is a fixed part of the daily routine—you must
be home at 1 PM or it won't be pretty. But what to do on family vacation when 1 PM finds you in line for Splash Mountain or finally sitting down to eat after a morning of intense touring? "Napping on vacation can be a challenge because of the new location and lack of a normal routine," says sleep expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of the "No Cry Solution"
series of sleep books. "But unless you want your vacation punctuated by a grumpy, whiny, tired child, do whatever you can to stick to your usual nap schedule."
Keeping the Routine
Sticking to the schedule can mean different things to different people—you have to decide what works best for your family. On the one hand, Pantley says, where your child sleeps doesn't really matter—as long as he's safe and actually sleeping! On the other hand, she cautions, you don't want to totally obliterate those routines that you spent months mastering at home, so if possible, try to duplicate the home environment as closely as you can. If that means planning activities around nap, so be it (who knows, you may even get to squeeze in your own little nap).
No matter where your child is catching those ZZZ's, it's helpful to bring along his or her usual napping must-haves, says Pantley—be it the blankey, stuffed animal or even a favorite lullaby CD. Making the parts and pieces as much like home as possible will help kids stick to the routine. "And bringing along a tape player or white-noise clock are brilliant ideas for travel. They can mask unfamiliar outside noises that can easily wake your sleeping angel," she says.
Keep in mind that vacation time is different, and your little one may not be able to make it to the usual nap time. This is where flexibility come in, says Pantley. "Try to find a balance between keeping to the schedule as set by the clock and your child's signs of tiredness. Keeping a tired kid awake can create a snowball of sleep deprivation that will prevent her from falling asleep easily when bedtime or nap time arrives." Yeah, not pretty.report abuse